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March 16, 2012

Colorado DA tells federal prosecutor to stop being a buzz kill in Boulder

As reported in this interesting local article, "Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett has sent a letter to the top federal prosecutor in Colorado, asking the feds to drop their crack-down on medical-marijuana dispensaries that are abiding by state law." Here is more:

In the letter, dated Tuesday, Garnett writes that Colorado has created a system for regulating medical-marijuana businesses that is working and argues it is not worth the federal government's time to target dispensaries abiding by state law.

"I can see no legitimate basis in this judicial district to focus the resources of the United States government on the medical marijuana dispensaries that are otherwise compliant with Colorado law or local regulation," Garnett wrote in the letter to Colorado U.S. Attorney John Walsh. "The people of Boulder County do not need Washington D.C. or the federal government dictating how far dispensaries should be from schools, or other fine points of local land-use law."

Garnett's letter comes following the most direct crack-down yet in Colorado on dispensaries by federal law enforcement officials. Earlier this year, Walsh sent letters to 23 medical-marijuana dispensaries that were within 1,000 feet of a school, ordering them to close or face civil or criminal punishment. All those ordered to do so shut their doors.

Colorado law establishes a 1,000-foot buffer between dispensaries and schools but also allows communities to vary the distance or grandfather in pre-existing businesses. All the dispensaries that received letters were apparently complying with state and local laws.

But federal law makes all marijuana possession and sales illegal. Drug sales within 1,000 feet of a school bring enhanced penalties. Walsh said he sent the letters because he's concerned that the presence of medical-marijuana businesses near schools may be encouraging the increase the state is seeing in youth use of marijuana....

In his letter, Garnett said federal law enforcement officials should instead focus elsewhere: on terrorism, organized crime or major trafficking of hard drugs like cocaine or methamphetamine. Continuing to target dispensaries, Garnett wrote, "would be very disruptive to communities who have spent significant time and resources exercising their right of local control to balance the competing issues around medical marijuana."

The full letter reference here is available at this link.

March 16, 2012 at 12:06 AM | Permalink

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Comments

The DOJ's backtracking on marijuana policy has been baffling to me. Then again, the Obama administration isn't exactly way out there on a limb when it comes to criminal justice issues.

Posted by: Guy | Mar 16, 2012 2:01:57 AM

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