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Medical marijuana letter from U.S. Attorney early attack on 2012 pot legalization campaign?

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for a cropped brian vicente photo.jpg
Brian Vicente.
Medical marijuana advocates have been debating the intent of U.S. Attorney John Walsh's letter attacking portions of HB 1043, a bill intended to tweak MMJ regs that became law last year. Among the theories: The letter is a warning shot in what will be a full-scale federal effort to undermine the drive to legalize cannabis for adult recreational use in Colorado next year. But if that's the case, says attorney Brian Vicente, it's a clumsy attempt that won't work.

"I don't know if they're trying to rev up the opposition," concedes Vicente, head of the advocacy organization Sensible Colorado. "But the vast majority of voters in our state support medical marijuana, and support for legalizing marijuana for adult use is growing. It's possible he's just wildly out of touch with what voters want. But if this is a plan to stem the call for legalization, I don't think it's well thought out."

mason tvert photograph.jpg
Mason Tvert.
At this point, at least two organizations are in the process of readying legalization bids: Legalize2012.com and a group that includes Vicente and SAFER's Mason Tvert. In a recent interview, Tvert shrugged off the suggestion that numerous community bans of medical marijuana indicated that support for broader legalization was thin, adding, "We've been working for months on the language" of a ballot proposal "with dozens of attorneys both in Colorado and around the country who specialize in this type of thing. We hope to have the best initiative possible, and we're going to do whatever it takes to do that before moving forward. But we're going to move forward."

In the meantime, Vicente feels Walsh's complaints about HB 1043 -- including language that would have allowed infused product manufacturers to operate grow facilities of up to 500 plants, with the potential for more based on need -- represent the dream of law enforcement to erase what he sees as progress in this area.

"You can't put the genie back in the bottle," he stresses. "Colorado has a well-regulated and taxed medical cannabis industry that's serving the needs of patients and also providing jobs and much-needed tax revenue for the state, and federal authorities need to respect that.

"I think the U.S. Attorney's Office really needs to focus on the issues that really matter in our state, whether it's economic crime or violent crime. Those seem to be more important priorities for the office."

At the same time, he doesn't dismiss as empty posturing either Walsh's letter or similar ones written by other U.S. Attorneys around the country of late.

"Legitimate medical marijuana producers should take pause," he advises. "This to some extent reaffirms what the federal law has always been, and now that we have John Walsh actively looking to cut off the supply of medicine to patients, those suppliers should be concerned. The federal government certainly could come after and prosecute and jail a dying AIDS patient for having a joint in Colorado. But it's our hope that they would choose to focus on the more important priorities and stop targeting patients and their providers, who are doing a service for the state."


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19 comments
HughJardon
HughJardon

uh... So let me get this straight... The feds are going after the large (and legal by state law) grow facilities, the group that is paying the most in tax money, while the corner thug (illegal by all laws) who is paying no taxes, now has a much larger market share, since the feds took out his biggest competitor. But when he eventually gets caught, where we end up paying for his prison stay. It don't take a rocket surgeon to figure out the feds are wrong on this one.

coloradomedicalmarijuana
coloradomedicalmarijuana

Attack the movement all you want, the promarijuana campaign is relentless and will never stop fighting for what is right!

yumyum121
yumyum121

I would just like to say that this is a great article and that the feds are assholes.

Legalize2012.com
Legalize2012.com

Volunteer to help in the grassroots campaign to bring cannabis freedom to Colorado:

http://www.legalize2012.com

Also, our monthly networking meeting is next week:

Legalize 2012 Monthly Networking Meeting

LEGISLATIVE WRAP-UP

Wed., May 11, 2011

Free and open to the public.

Schedule

6:30pm to 7:00pm

Legalize 2012 :Campaign Update

7:00pm to 9:00pmMedical Marijuana Legal PanelTOPIC: Legislative WrapupThe legislative session ends on May 11. Find out what the new laws mean for you. Get the opinions of Colorado's top attorneys, including Danyel Joffe, Craig Small, Ann Toney, Rob Corry an more!

Brad
Brad

--"This to some extent reaffirms what the federal law has always been..."

Really? Because the Marihuana Tax Act was the first steps to criminalize marijuana and that was the 1930's! Marijuana has been found in ancient tombs in China that were almost 3000 years old. Other countries didn't make marijuana illegal until the US made everyone sign treaties to adopt our position. But our position was based on lies, racism, corporate profits and was not based on any scientific info at all. Furthermore, we ignored scientific data and the recommendation to decriminalize marijuana (Shafer Commission) and started the "War on Drugs". And that's not the worst of it, the whole idea that the federal government can outlaw a plant based on the Commerce Clause of The Constitution is ridiculous. They had to pass an amendment to The Constitution for alcohol prohibition (and the repeal of prohibition)... but not for marijuana? Come on people, this is the most absurd law in all of history.

Flutie
Flutie

Vicente and Tvert are fighting the good fight.The attorney's office is targeting "large scale drug-trafficking organizations and substantial marijuana grows." How is this NOT targeting patients and their caregivers when there are 130,000 registered patients in CO? Mom and Pop can't supply this many people with cannabis - of course there will be large scale grows.Gallup and other reputable polls consistently show 70% of Americans support legalization of medical marijuana. The Fed is enforcing laws that the people don't support by a margin of 2 to 1. I thought that in a democracy the government responded to the will of the people, and not vice versa.

Boycott Budding Health
Boycott Budding Health

Boycott Budding Health, Josh Stanley, and other MMIG dispensaries. They are out with their lobbyists to ban caregiving and have almost succeeded. Because of 1043, ALL CAREGIVERS will have to register their grow with the STATE!!! They will also have to pass inspection from fire, electrical, etc, thus raising costs and putting most out of business.

Sandy
Sandy

This is a states right issue the states have a right to decide if they wish to consume cannabis and grow hemp as a part of their sustainability

Patient
Patient

Don't give a dime to these ppl, they said they were suing the state and nothing has happend. Bunch of frauds.

Guest
Guest

This group is tied to Timothy Tipton.

Google: "Timothy Tipton" + MMJ Scam

Robert
Robert

I spoke to Brian Monday at the DPA reception for the director of their new Denver office. I asked him why he had not been at the hearing on HB11-1043 before the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier in the day. He said that he "has not been working on medical marijuana issues". I asked him whether he remains the executive director of Sensible Colorado -- he says he is. No one there besides myself attended this hearing on the most significant bill relating to medical cannabis of the 2011 legislative session.

The new DOI policy on medical cannabis does mean that caregivers are at risk -- of course the Feds don't have the resources to go after every caregiver (but that hardly justifies not opposing a bill which would tell them who caregivers are and where they keep their plants). More to the point, anyone involved in the so-called "industry" -- clerks, trimmers, tenders, owners, and partners -- is at substantial risk. The Feds might hold off on raids here to see whether the State can shut down medical cannabis on its own, but they could happen at any time. Should the MMED actually issue licenses, they would be a virtual certainty.

If 70% of all Americans believed it to be important to legalize cannabis, we would already have won. The movement is too myopic. Consider Denver: 57% of voters voted for our lowest law enforcement priority ordinance in 2007, but the pro-legalization mayoral candidate just came in a very distant fourth and the only pro-cannabis candidate on the ballot for the at-large City Council seats came in dead last with ~6% of the vote. We have a long, long way to go to forge an effective political movement when we obtain results like these in Denver! It is critical that we develop rhetoric effective not just with our base, but making sense to those who do not use cannabis, and then manage to get people to hear it -- it takes real money to buy TV, radio, and Internet ads.

Support grassroots activism to end Prohibition.

Colorado Coalition for Patients and Caregivers!

(720) 213-6497

Contribute via paypal to: copatientsandcaregivers@gmail.com

Matt in Boulder
Matt in Boulder

Good point Sandy. The Feds' push against state sovereignty could backfire against them. The re-legalization movement could play this card to bring more traditional conservatives along with them. You'll never get the religious nut jobs to join the party but there are bound to be some tea-party loyalists who would join the fight against Federal intrusion on State's rights...

Robert
Robert

Suits cost money. Do you want the unconstitutional laws overturned or not? The frauds are those who take patients' money, but fail to defend patients and caregivers' rights -- the list is long, but it does not include CTI. Have you read the original challenge Kathleen filed with the Supreme Court? It did have one glaring deficiency and the Court did decline to hear it, but it wasn't "nothing". The ideas in that brief will serve in challenging the laws in the lower courts.

Executive Pothead
Executive Pothead

Still an idiot!! No need to bring in a personal vendetta. The haters of this guy just toss around personal hate stories. That is what I see when I google.

An unsuccessful caregivers cup, no ties to legalize2012 and a dedicated hate thread.

Commenting with a name and accusations in any article about MMJ is just like the propaganda that brought on the prohibition. Help the fight by not spewing compost.

SuperSecretFunClubExecutive
SuperSecretFunClubExecutive

Thanks for calling me an idiot. :) I like titles!!!

However the fact remains that when Googleing "Tim Tipton CO MMJ scam" returns MANY negative stories from MANY DIFFERENT people about their experiences with this person. Some of these people have gone to jail for his actions. Others have just lost a lot of money. These are not hate stories as you claim. They are stories of people who have been burned by Tim Tipton - so of course they are not going to be flowery love pieces... gesssh

CTI/Relegaliztion2012 (Not the Legailzation2012) is very much tied to Tim Tipton. Here is some proof.

http://blogs.westword.com/late... (Tim is a signatory to the CTI letter.)

http://blogs.westword.com/late... (CTI produced this video. Tim Tipton can be seen in the video starting at around 4:00 into the video.

http://www.plantmedicineexpo.c... (Tim is introduced as a member of CTI)

Guest
Guest

Right. I meant to say google

"Tim Tipton" MMJ scam

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