The Next State In The Federal Government's Crosshairs Is Colorado

In recent months, the federal Justice Department has engaged in concerted efforts to crack down on the proliferation of medical cannabis related activities in states that allow for its therapeutic use under state law, including California, Montana, and Washington.
Now, according to a CBS News report, the next state on the federal government’s ‘hit list’ is Colorado — arguably the state with the most comprehensive and stringent statewide regulations governing medical cannabis activities. These regulations explicitly license state-authorized cannabis dispensaries, of which there are now some 700 operating statewide.
Nonetheless, the imprimatur of the state apparently carries little if any weight with the Obama administration at this time — despite promises (reiterated before Congress just last week by US Attorney General Eric Holder) that such prosecutions are “not a (federal) priority” and that the Justice Department only intends to target those entities who “use marijuana in a way that’s not consistent with the state statute.”
Predictably, today’s CBS special report tells a different story.

Crackdown On Colorado’s Medical Pot Business On The Horizon
via CBS News Denver
Federal authorities are planning to crack down on the medical marijuana business in Colorado on a large scale for the first time.
Warning letters will be going out to dispensaries and grow facilities near schools, CBS4 investigator Rick Sallinger has learned. So far it’s not clear how soon that will happen.
Dispensaries that receive the letters will be given 45 days to shut down or move operations. If they don’t comply, they will be shut down by the U.S. attorney in Colorado.
The dispensaries who are set to be targeted are the ones that are located within 1,000 feet of schools. That measurement is being used because that distance already appears in federal law as a factor in drug crime sentencing.
The move comes after the Justice Department sent out a memo clarifying that marijuana has been and remains illegal under federal law despite what has taken place with state regulations. Colorado is one of 16 states where medical marijuana laws have been approved.
Many of the state’s dispensaries that are closer than 1,000 feet to a school have already been approved to be there under local laws. They usually have been grandfathered in.
… Robert Corry, an attorney who represents dispensaries, said medical marijuana operations are now strictly regulated under Colorado state laws.
“The federal apparatus here has better things to do,” said Corry. “My reaction would be the federal government is essentially declaring war on the voters of our state (who) passed a Constitutional amendment.”
U.S. attorneys in California recently announced in a separate medical marijuana crackdown that they would be targeting landlords who rent retail space to dispensaries, as well as dispensary owners themselves.

Does anyone really believe that this is an appropriate use of scarce federal resources? Or that these actions are in any way consistent with Obama’s public pledge to cease utilizing “Justice Department resources to try and circumvent state laws on this issue?” I didn’t think so.

If the federal government is truly concerned about the diversion of
medical marijuana or its potential abuse in states that have authorized it then it would be better served to encourage — rather than to discourage — statewide and local efforts to regulate these actions accordingly. The Obama administration’s enforcement actions in California, Colorado, and elsewhere will only result in limiting adults’ regulated, safe access to cannabis therapy. It will also cost local jobs and needed tax revenue, and likely result in hundreds — if not thousands — of unnecessary criminal prosecutions.
Legislating medical marijuana operations and prosecuting those who act in a manner that is inconsistent with state law and voters’ sentiment should be a responsibility left to the state and local officials, not the federal government. It is time for this administration to fulfill the assurances it gave to the medical cannabis community and to respect the decisions of voters and lawmakers in states that recognize its therapeutic efficacy.

125 thoughts

  1. Obama and The Dea all you have done is LIE to our People whom chose to have Medical Marijuana.. You lied to make it Illegal and the lie continues.. you said you wouldnt’ go after People whom have a LEGAL Reason to use it… I will NOT VOTE for you.. Ron Paul 2012.

  2. @29 Fran – Please let us know if you get a follow up response. You did a great job with your questions. I hope the Senator shows your concerns the respect they deserve!

  3. Where else in society does the federal government enforce non-existing zoning laws in local municipalities? Colorado needs to sue the Department of Justice immediately!

  4. So , what’s it going to be – a govt.shutdown or abolish prohibition? can’t support both. Made in USA , cannabis legalization now. Revenue. Human rights etc.

  5. In my town, there is a bar literally right next door to a grade school. No worries though, no pot can be found there. There are also 2 pharmacies next to the high school. I don’t get it. Seriously people, the feds are trying to take the few rights that we do have away and turn us into an enslaved country to them! Freedom? Where? With what? If you want to really drive them crazy though, Johny Appleseed the shit out of marijuana. Throw handfulls of seeds everywhere and make it even more difficult for them to control. Every time they push us, push back harder! Make them realize we are not as dumb and blind as they treat us. Join hands and help take our country back! I voted for Obama last time and can’t believe how disappointing he has been as a “leader”. Everyone seems to keep hope that all of the sudden he will wake up and say, “oh yeah, we need to get something done with marijuana patient protection”. What a joke! It is not an interest to him unless it’s election time! Fool me once, shame on you. It won’t happen again!

  6. Fuck the Feds! Legalize in 2012! California medical growers, don’t get greedy and small, do the right thing and vote for legalization…not protectionism!

  7. You know, I hate to be one of these people– but of all the candidates right now, Ron Paul is the ONLY one who you can guarantee will call the drug war a FAILURE face to face with Obama. (okay, Gary Johnson too but he has even less chance)

  8. I still believe this goes right back to the election 2010 when those damn greedy California growers voted against prop.19. Now look where they are at. Being forced to close down. Well Colorado, what are you going to do in 2012?

  9. Three very basic problems with this:
    1) 45 days isn’t nearly enough time to move a business. It takes longer than that just to scope out a new location with the right zoning, size, layout, facilities, accessibility, rent, and lease terms.
    2) I don’t see the government offering to compensate the dispensaries they’re uprooting for their trouble. At the very least, they should pay off the rest of each affected dispensary’s lease on their current location. Doesn’t the government have to pay you fair value if they want to boot you off part of your land? How is a building you rent any different in this respect?
    3) I see a few people saying that only going after dispensaries within 1000 feet of a school is reasonable. Why exactly is it a problem for one to be close to a school? There are two different pharmacies just down the street from my old high school. It’s not like the dispensaries are providing cannabis to the schoolkids. I assume if someone who looks way too young to be in there accidentally wanders in they’ll be shooed out immediately, much as is the case with tobacco shops.

  10. If the states decide it’s legal then it’s legal in those states. From a federal standpoint, SOMEONE had to authorize a pharmacuetical company to study and develop a synthetic version of THC-(Marinol) they had to have possesion of real MJ to test-where did they get it? The fact that Marinol exists proves that MJ DOES HAVE MEDICINAL USES!! Feds- give it up, we know you are lying!!

  11. A ham sandwich could beat Obama now in the election just like a ham sandwich couldve beaten Bush so we shouldve picked Kucinich…he would be President today. Flood the Republican primaries (if that state allows crossover voting) and vote for RON PAUL!!!!!!

  12. I;m 62 in 1212 was at Woodstock Heck how about some good old civil disobedience A Smoke in our Nation’s Capitol NO FORGET THAT!!!! BAD IDEA RENBER WHAT HAPPEND YEA THAT’S THE TICKET ….. CHICHAGO SEVN

  13. The CIA has been using the drug trade as a cover and connection to criminal underworld in order to further UD interest both real and imagined since Lucky Luciano. WW2 Back then it was the OSS .. DEA comes in and busts the smaller operators
    See The Politics of Heroin & Cocaine Politics
    What I can’t figure just who the heck is smoking all that Mexican brick ?

  14. Ron Paul is our only hope. We have seen what Obama and his thug Holder have done to the state sanctioned cannibus dispensaries, Forget Gingrich and Romney they are worse. Hope Paul wins the nomination or hope he runs as an Independent candidate. I am a live long Democrat.

  15. The DEA starts a war in Mexico against the drug cartels, who started out as poor marijuana farmers. You can thank U.S. laws and policy turning them into cocaine, heroin and meth dealers. We sprayed their crops with paraquat poison so they joined up with the Columbian’s to smuggle coke and the grew out of that.
    The D.E.A. wants marijuana illegal because it is easy to spot when it is growing, bulky and hard to transport and has a unique smell when burned. It helps them justify their phony drug war and obscene budget, which is the first war we should end.

  16. Not to be, like, a Drag, Ma-a-a-a-a-a-an…..but we could da’ old Obamaficator a break, here; we could give Him (since you insist on blaming him personally) a bone, here – let Him act like, “Well, I do support these patients – but, Look, Look, Over Here, Michele Bachman Den Moms! – I CARE ABOUT OUR KIDS TOO! See?!? See?!? I got then dirty hippies away from YOUR KIDS SCHOOL.”
    But the, if he did do what we want, without the Law yet having been more Formally Changed, how would He be any better than Bush?

  17. Obama reneged on his “promise” to veto the bill (part of the defense authorization bill) that will allow the military to arrest and detain Americans indefinitely without it any wonder that he’d also have lied about his administration’s policy towards state’s medical cannabis as well? He’s dangerous; I’m ashamed that I was gulled into voting for him in 2008-it won’t happen again.

  18. I use medical marijuana, when I can get or afford it; for relieving my pain from Chrone’s desease until my pain medication kicks in. It lessons the pain; and enables me to wait for my medicine to kick in. Please, dont let them take my medication from me; I do not want to buy it on the street, black market. It is a true medicating plant: marijuana. It is not meth, cocaine or heroin. Millions of people like it just for its recreational use. We are the majority; lets stand up for our rights

  19. #53 Don, I will let you know when and if I get a response. Quite frankly Senator Leahy took over a month to respond and Bernie Sanders has not responded to multiple attempts by phone and e-mail to contact him on this issue. My congressman Peter Welch did respond and he is supporting every bill concerning medicinal use but has not mentioned support for re-classification to Schedule II. If you live in Vermont perhaps you should let him know how you feel!

  20. Already! Didn’t Attorney General Holder just assure congressman Pollis this wouldn’t happen?

  21. I think Buddy is right ,but i see it from a broader spectrum as most of these folks in the white house have been at the trough for so long they could’nt smell a hog. And they keep throwing more in! Remember the prodical son as he fought hogs for food and then came to his senses? Some reception tho, huh? As long as they’re in there the more they turn our White House into a trough!

  22. its time for a goverment reform,there to old and stuck on old ideas,we need new young blood running this country or to see change of all the old laws,there not working anymore,theres alot more things to worry about out there than this,how about lest hold the goverment responsible for all the bank fraud and political wrong doing,what about all the people he pardoned most were marijuana convictions,the time for change is now

  23. This is very important to note for a couple of reasons:
    1) Everyone was saying Cali was being targeted because the system was so open, and yet here is Colorado, with the tightest regulations of any state program, about to get hit with the ugly stick.
    2) Obama has no balls: he either knows what he needs to do and can’t do anything about it, or says he’s going to do something and does something else completely. Either way, he can’t be trusted.

  24. …a possible explanation for the pissing backwards of obama…the end time biblical story is that a ruler would make a pledge to allow the sacrafice[which is ritual cannabis use]to be acessable and in the middle of his term-agreement he changes his mind?? according to Chis Benets book,[sex,drugs and religion]christ and anoint mean the same “to be turned on”so if you are against this christening you would be by word definition anti christ??

  25. I have been smoking since the 50’s when you went to the basement, turned out the lights and told no one, ever.
    To some of you above: guys, lighten up, things are infinitely better now. Every year it gets better and better; we are winning, just slower than some of you would like. However slow, the outcome will be 100% victory and soon too, I can see it coming.
    So, lets hear some more good news, after all we ARE the good guys in this struggle, so it’s okay to be happy about our situation, I know I am pleased with the progress, so far.
    The old beatnik.

  26. #90 Lee I agree with you, The Feds cannot put the Gene back in the bottle
    on this one. They are afraid to admit they are wrong but they do not have the facts on their side. I would suggest to all who blog here to work on keeping the discourse above the belt. No matter how disgruntled we feel, if we remain civil in our discourse then they cannot dismiss our petitions.

    Betty B. Tong PH.D.
    Senior licensing and Patent Manager
    Office of Techonoligy Transfer
    National Institutes of Health
    6011 Executive Bvld. Suite 325
    Rockville, MD 20852-3804
    Dear Dr. Tong, December 19, 2011
    I am a registered patient in Vermont. I can legally grow and use medicinal cannabis.
    I write to object to the Federal government selling the patient for sole rights to grow and distribute Cannabis.
    This is simply not fair to the patients who can only afford to grow. The us government has not the right to sell my
    rights to grow. I have paid “Big Pharma” all my life and do not intended to do so now.
    This patient is owned by the people for the people lets keep it that way.
    Francis Janik
    Reg patient, Vermont
    [Federal Register Volume 76, Number 222 (Thursday, November 17, 2011)]
    [Page 71351]
    From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office []
    [FR Doc No: 2011-29726]
    National Institutes of Health
    Prospective Grant of Exclusive License: Development of
    Cannabinoid(s) and Cannabidiol(s) Based Therapeutics To Treat Hepatic
    Encephalopathy in Humans.
    AGENCY: National Institutes of Health, Public Health Service, HHS.
    ACTION: Notice.
    SUMMARY: This is notice, in accordance with 35 U.S.C. 209(c)(1) and 37
    CFR part 404.7(a)(1)(i), that the National Institutes of Health,
    Department of Health and Human Services, is contemplating the grant of
    an exclusive patent license to practice the invention embodied in U.S.
    Patent 6,630,507, entitled “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and
    neuroprotectants” and PCT Application Serial No. PCT/US99/08769 and
    foreign equivalents thereof, entitled “Cannabinoids as antioxidants
    and neuroprotectants” [HHS Ref. No. E-287-1997/2] to KannaLife
    Sciences Inc., which has offices in New York, U.S. This patent and its
    foreign counterparts have been assigned to the Government of the United
    States of America.
    The prospective exclusive license territory may be worldwide, and
    the field of use may be limited to:
    The development and sale of cannabinoid(s) and cannabidiol(s)
    based therapeutics as antioxidants and neuroprotectants for use and
    delivery in humans, for the treatment of hepatic encephalopathy, as
    claimed in the Licensed Patent Rights.
    DATES: Only written comments and/or applications for a license which
    are received by the NIH Office of Technology Transfer on or before
    December 19, 2011 will be considered.
    ADDRESSES: Requests for copy of the patent, inquiries, comments, and
    other materials relating to the contemplated exclusive license should
    be directed to: Betty B. Tong, Ph.D., Senior Licensing and Patenting
    Manager, Office of Technology Transfer, National Institutes of Health,
    6011 Executive Boulevard, Suite 325, Rockville, MD 20852-3804;
    Telephone: (301) 594-6565; Facsimile: (301) 402-0220; Email:
    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The technology describes pharmaceutical
    compositions of cannabinoids that are useful as tissue protectants,
    such as neuroprotectants and cardioprotectants. The cannabinoids
    compounds may be used, for example, in the treatment of acute ischemic
    neurological insults or chronic neurodegenerative diseases.
    Nonpsychoactive cannabinoids, such as Cannabidiol (CBD), are
    particularly advantageous since they avoid toxicity that is encountered
    with psychoactive cannabinoids at high doses.
    The prospective exclusive license will be royalty bearing and will
    comply with the terms and conditions of 35 U.S.C. 209 and 37 CFR part
    404.7. The prospective exclusive license may be granted unless within
    thirty (30) days from the date of this published notice, the NIH
    receives written evidence and argument that establishes that the grant
    of the license would not be consistent with the requirements of 35
    U.S.C. 209 and 37 CFR part 404.7.
    Applications for a license in the field of use filed in response to
    this notice will be treated as objections to the grant of the
    contemplated exclusive license. Comments and objections submitted to
    this notice will not be made available for public inspection and, to
    the extent permitted by law, will not be released under the Freedom of
    Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552.
    Dated: November 10, 2011.
    Richard U. Rodriguez,
    Director, Division of Technology Development and Transfer, Office of
    Technology Transfer, National Institutes of Health.
    [FR Doc. 2011-29726 Filed 11-16-11; 8:45 am]
    BILLING CODE 4140-01-P

  28. All I see is Eric Holder causing a flurry over state legalized canabis to take our attention away from Fast and Furious. The Justice Departments illegal sale of firearms to Mexican Drug Cartels. This is the most telling open action the Justice Department ( and Federal Government) has accomplished to this day supporting international trafficking of deadly drugs.
    Not safe drugs such as cannabis but deadly drugs like cocaine and heroin. Not to mention protecting citizens of other countries over the citizens of America, us. Think about this. There is an 800% increase in the exporting of Heroin from Afghanistan from before the war to today. Afghanistan supplies up to 75% of the heroin on the illegal global market. Albeit cannabis is legal to grow for Afghanies so they can make money to feed their families but not legal for unemployed starving Americans to grow to make money to feed ourselves and our families. Our tax dollars support both these wars . The Drug War since 1970 started by Tricky Dick Nixon when he created the DEA. The only President to be Impeached while in office.
    Time to repeal Tricky Dick’s war on American citizens. Also to stop this War on Terror which is just a way for our military to play with it’s toys. bin Laden is dead. Stop all this confusion and war on the American people and their money. Allow us to finally get some of our Freedoms back. Freedom is not a word but an actual state of being other countries give their citizenry. FREEDOM!!!!!

  29. The government and law enforcement continues to perpetuate an outdated prohibition that kills and incarcerates hundreds of thousands people every year. This war on the American citizens is one of the biggest crimes against humanity in history. If you add up all the deaths caused by the US drug laws in all countries and the number of people incarcerated by these outdated draconian drug laws you get something akin to a holocaust, were large numbers of people are killed and imprisoned for what? smoking a plant?
    Obama, the House and Senate supporters of prohibition, the DOJ and Drug Czar should all be held accountable for the murders and suffering caused by the US drug laws.
    A trial in a world court would be appropriate for these mass murderers.
    They keep trying to put the blame on the cartels, the citizens who smoke marijuana when the real culprit is the laws and the people who support them.
    End prohibition now, save lives around the world.
    Write your representative and tell them you want them to stop this insanity or you will vote them out. Inaction by any of us means we will continue to allow people to be killed and incarcerated by the ignorance of our elected leaders and the outdated laws they support

  30. Just watched the Holder clip. He is either blatantly lying or he is genuinely ignorant of what is going on in his own department. I’m having a hard time deciding which one it is, but I’m leaning towards ignorance. I don’t know enough about him to know whether he is stupid or just really slick.

  31. Folks, if Uncle Sam is in on the “war” from all angles, what makes you think things will ever change?
    Dope keeps politicians in all fifty states filthy rich. Why would they go and lower the street value by allowing free drug trade?
    To quote sgt stedenko on why it’s so important to bust mary jane, “The buying and selling of narcotics might be the last vestage of free trade in this country.”

  32. Hi . Merry Christmas . OK so if you smoked one
    Ron Paul bud you want Obama sternly tattled on
    and if you smoked 2+ Ron Paul buds you want Mr
    Roooun Paaauuul for President , care of a dark
    skin tone leader who keeps saying , He wants a
    Supreme Court ruling to stop evading state’s *
    rights to the Green Cross laws on medicinal um
    cannabis , cannabim or my least favorite . . ,
    cannabe with grant.ed Durban , Shiva Caps and:
    Kalim haute mezcain toscin um bud .
    OK* duh . They want not any “dispensaries” at
    the 1,000 feet school limit . It’s The Law .,.
    Yes , it’s in the {former} State by State Law.
    Obama doesn’t want ill cannabe medimana buds .
    When ‘they’ stopped his Christmas morning ahem
    announce for Happy Holidays in two seconds .,.
    he looked yellowish and ill .,. is this the uh
    medmana best choice at D.C. .|. It’s med#grant
    I suppose , though who I wonder modern wants :
    Medical “M word” to make you look sick . . . .
    it’s not naturopathic cannabis as Green Cross
    began the standard as “naturopathic cannabis”
    it’s nat.ur{al}o.path.ic like it’s pathos . .
    You want pathos bud , OK Ron Paul controlled ,
    complain though have happy holidays . . . . .,
    Obama Admin gives a Peace Order . Shadow Govn.
    ruin it and want Skull n Bones money control .
    Ron Paauuuulll ARGH . OK yer controlled by the
    reasoning each of you presumed to smoke Paul.y
    bud says within two words the same Down With a
    Obama and Enuff.a this Heck .etcetera
    Well , give thought to it’s bud . It’s uhm bad
    bud .|. It’s Ron Paul coded bud .|. It’s medi:
    cannabem.e with Durban and Shiva “Caps” .|. 🙁
    Why would you , kids at Colorado {sigh} or the
    standard cannabis connesiouer want bad bud uhm
    as I know Durban make me want to hurk from my
    chest and won’t stop spitting vanadiem element
    so . . it’s not good for kids . OK[+] Barack ,
    uhm Mr. President dark tone aum0n .,. Thanks!!
    So Much for putting up with Republic Shadow en
    Governme{n}t Control Wusses.!!. This happened
    each administration during choice days on the
    calendar of Skull n Bones {impos Bushians etc}
    so if amenable and I will guess you are with a
    case of “quieting communicate with good ideas”
    Thank You Mr. B0b President Admin !! Rite On *
    putting up with Shadow Guber CR@P and bein the
    first President in awhile to get high and be a
    relaxing promonent power of Steppin Up to the:
    Magnitude of LipServicen Hearsay nd Ignornce *
    Peace Obama Admin . Win Again while the OcoPi
    Masses Thow a Brik at Yo Fro CHristams foReal
    and I won’t at all offer you try thowin u brk
    at “White House” as aside from Federal ShutUp
    and Down and Sarkozy and all IMF’rn liuck out
    vernaculo aside!d! Rite On and Merry Chrstms.
    OK Back to Cartel quip ruen and Paaauuul ARGH.
    Said my peace . so .,. .,. Peace Christmas !!*
    HAPPY HOLIDAYS and accept this if $ possible .
    Happy Holidays to you {too} NORML Pax 0n Earth
    Thanks . Differing with ignorance . _\|/_ / Bb

  33. bryan learn english. most of that it jibberish. makes little sence, if any. Yet you speak of ignorance. you might want to look up it’s definition….

  34. Should I look up the definition for ignorance
    in the Houghton Mifflin or the Merriam Webster
    as one gives the definition of pres i dent as
    Office of Republic and one : Democratic Office
    of National Leader . So the term of GOP means
    Government of President and we are not a Govt
    of Republic so what sense does the dictionary
    make . . . if it’s biased to nonsense about a
    General Republic , and George Washington the
    founder of our nation formed our Democracy .
    And . , . if you say I speak nonsense because
    you smoked another Ron Paul bud and can’t see
    each person who smokes a tagged bud says the
    very same [within two words] of what requite
    it is to rag on Obama and boldly stick their
    head where not many have before [in their uh
    butt as it’s apparently equivalent intellect]
    you tell me like most ignorant biased negative
    that you can’t understand a word I’m saying .,
    well . . smoke some cannabis instead of the.n
    Ron Paul tag {loser} control comment bud . . .
    which is a fake cannabem anyway . {Sigh} Owell
    you yourself could use a Merriam Webster Newer
    Insight of John McCain glossary dictionary ,.
    Not to tell you off , though if you can’t see
    it as your way to accept ignorance and tell me
    I’m the one who’s uptight . . . smoke somethen
    other thn tagged swag . Ad ignoramus . G Bye .

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