Medical marijuana: CBS4 hints fed crackdown on MMCs near schools is coming -- but is it?

sugarloaf mountain marijuana seizure july 2009 cropped.jpg
According to this report, CBS4 has information that points to a potential federal crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries and grow operations within 1,000 feet of schools.

But it's unclear when any federal action would happen, or what it might look like if it does.

In the report on view below, correspondent Rick Sallinger says "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 report says the dispensaries are targeted because the 1,000 feet rule is a big factor in federal drug case sentencing, greatly increasing the charges.

Investigative reporter Sallinger doesn't disclose the source his information. But no letters have been sent to any dispensaries as of noon today, and the spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Colorado said he did not have any information on the matter. Moreover, there's nothing on the office's website about the memos or possible federal action.

State law forbids dispensaries from operating within 1,000 feet of schools, treatment centers, universities, seminaries and daycare facilities. But there are several shops that were grandfathered in.

In addition, Colorado law does not prohibit grow facilities from being within 1,000 feet of these facilities. Since they are often hidden in plain sight, it's hard to tell just how many are in this range.

Similar federal tactics have been used in California over the past few months, with letters being sent to centers in the Los Angeles area. But we haven't seen these tactics here to date. If they happened, the move would be unprecedented.

Earlier this year, Highland's Ranch caregiver Chris Bartkowicz was sentenced to five years in prison and eight years of probation on cultivation charges for being within 1,000 feet of a school. But no dispensaries in Colorado have faced such charges yet.

Though our heads may sometimes be in the clouds at Mile Highs and Lows, we'll keep our ears to the ground to see if this story turns out to be a real harbinger or a California problem that stays out of Colorado. In the meantime, check out the original CBS4 story:

More form our Marijuana archive: "Medical marijuana edible review: Phat Daddyz has some potent balls" and "Med. marijuana patients must wait 6 months to reapply if applications found to be 'fraudulent.'"


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47 comments
Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

CBS4 scooped everyone by a month on this.

Where are Matt "the savior" Cook and the other self-promoting shills who have speciously claimed that Colorado's idiotic "seed to sale" regulatory nonsense will protect the industry from Federal prosecution ??

Riiiiiiiight ... as if the Federal Government plays favorites with individual states over enforcement of criminal drug laws ...LOL!

bluecollarbytes
bluecollarbytes

I expect the feds to do the same in Colorado as is California. They will target all dispensaries and growers, forcing them out. 'Classier' establishments offering additional 'health services' will be shut down as well.

The only question is whether Colorado politicians will decide to contest anything, because it's the local levels of govt that will make or break legal MM. Forget the imprecise memos flowing out of DOJ. The federal position is clear- federal law prohibits the manufacture, sale and use of marijuana, and there's no doubt this particular train can only be stopped through state/federal conflict. That's where the politicians come in, or not.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith

Be careful not to get a 'holier than thou' attitude with your medical pot. If it were not for the tens of millions of recreational users in this country that want to see it fully legalized, there would be no legal medical marijuana.

Colorado Mmj Patient
Colorado Mmj Patient

Now is the time for these MMCs to quit the infighting and band together. The ones away from the schools think they are safe, but they will be next. They need to call on the State to get the Feds off our backs. 

The State is just as guilty for taking in fees and setting up the whole regulatory scheme. They should be called up as co-defendants in the trials. The Colorado "Weed Wars" has just begun.

Norman Gooding
Norman Gooding

Regardless of how many hoops you jump through trying to keep up with the whims of prohibitionists,it is as unattainable as stopping the demand for drugs.

Full legalization and removal of cannabis from control of the DEA is the only way sanity about marijuana will return.

Donkey Hotay's Dog
Donkey Hotay's Dog

What are the MMCs going to do now? Do you think this one will make them grow a spine and fight back yet? Or is it time for more head in the sand, it won't happen to me, mentality?

Funny thing is, the MMCs will say, well, I'm nowhere near a school, so I'm OK. In reality, the feds have NO LAW AGAINST selling mmj near a school -- the federal law says YOU CAN'T SELL MARIJUANA ANYWHERE.

So they might start with the MMCs near schools, cuz that will have broad support. But be assured that they are coming for you soon, too. With all your federal confession forms and video evidence of you (and all  your unsuspecting employees who make only $10/hr) violating federal law over and over again.

I'll bet these greedy MMCs won't even foot the legal bill fro their employees if something goes down. They haven't shown any compassion for the patients, I doubt they would for their bud trimmers.

The DOR has always said repeatedly that they are working with the DEA and that they will be of NO ASSISTANCE if the feds come to bust an MMC. In fact, Matt Cook always said that they help the DEA whenever they ask.

Time to fight back, fools, they are coming to get you (as they always said they would).

Stop bending over and FUNDING the law enforcement powers that are putting your out of business.

Guest
Guest

CBS4 uses http://www.outbrain.com/ to collect data from you when browsing their site. Tell them you don't like it or don't use their website.

Jackee_Riggs
Jackee_Riggs

I work in a dispencary! Personally speaking from our store... Children and any persons under the age of 18 are not allowed on the premisis with the exception of minor patients accompanied by a legal gardian.We do every thing we can to keep things safe. We want to see Marijuana regualted and kept off of the streets and out of the hands of recreational users.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

It's clear enough what the Feds will do:  send threatening letters and arrest anyone who does not kowtow.

Those determined to shore up the General Assembly’s marijuana distribution system will shrug off this arbitrary Federal action, but the fact is that Colorado’s vaunted and onerous system of regulation is regarded as being completely illegitimate by Federal authorities, irrespective of the dim fantasies of the Post's editorial board, the General Assembly, and the so-called "industry".. The unconstitutional laws and regulations under which MMCs, MIPs, and OPGLs now do business have only made everyone involved more vulnerable to Federal criminal liability. If you support the appropriate use of medical cannabis and American freedom, set your sights on the dissolution of the DEA and the repeal of the Controlled Substance Act itself — it is fundamentally wrong policy, both constitutionally and with respect to public health.

Robert ChaseColorado Coalition for Patients and Caregivers(720) 213-6497

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

I love the smell of Napalm in the morning!  The Colorado marijuana show never ends, and now this!  Time to pull up a beach chair and grab a cold one and watch it all go down.  After all, this is perfect timing since just yesterday in Eagle, AG Suthers spoke about the dangers of marijuana and youth http://www.eaglevalleyenterpri...

Telling the public that drugs are bad for children is the number one way the drug war is propelled.  Selling the public on the upcoming Colorado busts and tying it in with children is the perfect package for the Feds to bust as many as possible and piss off as few as possible in the process.  And the rockets red glare!  The bombs bursting in air!

Papabear
Papabear

I'm not a medical marijuana user, could some one please explain to me what makes these "dispensaries" unsafe for children? Out of curiosity I tried to enter one once just to see what the fuss was about and was met politely at the front office and asked to leave. I didn't even get to see any Marijuana? There were however cameras everywhere and definitely procedures to follow in order to just see were the 'meds" were sold? I am seriously curious what dangers these places implement to children when there are so many precautions taken to avoid sales to someone who is unlicensed?

Jake Browne
Jake Browne

In the three years since dispensaries opened in Colorado, there is still not a single reported incident of a minor purchasing medical marijuana. In the liquor industry? 742 sales to minors from 2009-2010.Obviously the problem is real. Real exaggerated.

sojournerC
sojournerC

But they didn't target ALL dispensaries in California, nor will they in Colorado. 

Reading comprehension is a very beneficial life skill. 

LovelandMayor
LovelandMayor

ya man but if you are wearing a security badge issued by the US Gov. to trim a controlled substance for 10 dollars an hour you might be fucking up already. 

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

Hey Jackee, you kind of sound like a stuck up bitch ass narc!  Who you trying to kid?

sojournerC
sojournerC

Not true Robert. While I don't put too much weight in the words of Eric Holder, last week's questions from Polis did receive the response that, "medical marijuana businesses operating within state statutes will not be the focus of limited federal resources. 

That sounds to me like the feds see at least a modicum of legitimacy in state laws.

How would you like to go about dissolving the DEA? I see no other way than revealing that the emperor has no clothes, i.e. show that cannabis isn't as evil as the  'drug-war' paints it. 

Do you do that by shouting about cannabis safety until you are blue in the face? Nobody listens.

You do it by showing that cannabis businesses are responsible, legitimate, and don't sell to minors. 

Unfortunately, just like alcohol and tobacco, this involves bureaucracy and believe it or not, legislation.   

Matt in Boulder
Matt in Boulder

As expected, Suthers spewed pure bullshit at the event:"... the ranks of Colorado medical marijuana cardholders have swelled to approximately 130,000 patients, said Suthers. He noted that 70 percent of those cardholders are men between the ages of 19 and 40 and that the median age of the group is 33 years." 

It is a true testament to his arrogance that the Colorado Attorney General would lie to a group of High School kids and their community about a basic fact that is easily accessible via the web:  http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/h...

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Very interesting take, Papabear -- one we're going to make an upcoming Comment of the Day. Congrats.

Ry Prichard
Ry Prichard

Exactly, it's a non-issue... and if this is legit (I'm thinking it isn't), it's just another example of government officials who don't actually know the laws and the intricacies of our MMJ system trying to rulemake from afar.  We're at the point now where almost literally every transaction and piece of medicine in the state is tracked from several different angles (and is captured on camera from several angles as well) and no centers are stupid enough to sell to kids walking past their shop on their way home from school.  That whole thing is ludicrous on the face.

There may be some centers still selling to their friends without red cards, making meds 'disappear' and moving them out of state, etc., but they'll be found out soon enough, much like the 175 pound guys last week.  Compliant centers have nothing to worry about in my view, and I wouldn't invest much, if anything in this news story, as several individuals have researched it and come up empty of evidence.

bluecollarbytes
bluecollarbytes

is that what you're doing? try comprehending the entire arc of MM with regards to federal enforcement. In other words, use thy brain.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

-- dispensary, premises, guardian, regulated, kids

You do not help matters by effusing about cannabis being "kept off of the streets and out of the hands of recreational users" -- most readers will think you protest too much!

LovelandMayor
LovelandMayor

that sounds to me like a bunch of ambiguous double speak from a lying ass cop from Honduras.

Holder, you can't sell me nothin. 

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

If you have read the Haag Memo and the Cole Memo, you cannot maintain that "the feds see at least a modicum of legitimacy in state laws".  The apologists for SB10-109, HB10-1284, and HB11-1043 will keep bleating about legitimacy until the end.

Monkey
Monkey

Watch the video again and pay attention. Holder never mentioned businesses on purpose. The only time dispensaries or centers were mentioned was in reference to banking, "if the people making deposits or the bankers are operating under state law, that would not be a priority". Holder did say that the original memo stands, which we all know says large scale manufacturing and distribution of controlled substances are still a priority. Caregivers are not centers, there is a big distinction both on a state and federal level. Polis clarified caregiver status but the original memo already did that. All federal memos refer to patients and caregivers being low priority, don't confuse that with open market dispensaries, the state and the feds certainly notice a difference.

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

Medical marijuana is a sinking ship.

Eric Holder isn't the issue, It's these small meetings around the State about 'The Children' that are a sword in the emperors' sides:

THIS JUST IN:“We’re clearly seeing an increase in teenage marijuana use that corresponds pretty clearly in time with the increase in medical marijuana use,” said Dr. Christian Thurstone, medical director of the adolescent substance abuse treatment program at Denver Health and Hospital Authorityhttp://well.blogs.nytimes.com/...

Dr Christian Thurstone is a powerful influence around the state, he's been working really hard nationally to end medical marijuana in Colorado:http://www.npr.org/templates/s...

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

The point of the meeting and the reason Suthers was there was to talk about the influence of marijuana on youth.   They had a similar meeting last month in Glenwood Springs.  The reason for these meetings is they are finding a ton of kids in the high schools, I know personally in Summit High, that bring marijuana to school in dispensary packages.  They're making a real big deal about this in the mountain communities and it's about to blow up me thinks!

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

There is word on the street though that in many of the High Schools around the state, that kids bring edibles and sodas from the Infused Produce Manufactures and raw marijuana with dispensary labels into the schools and share with other kids until busted.  At the meeting in Eagle last night the Sheriff said that in the past week 6 juveniles were busted with marijuana and all of it came from dispensaries.  Upon questioning he said it was in packages from dispensaries.  It may all seem ludicrous on the face, but there are those out there who see the dispensary shit as right in their faces and they're sick of it and doing something about it.  Personally I think smoking weed is a teenage right of passage, but that's just me.

Guest
Guest

Seriously Robert??? You are telling someone that they protest too much... Is that meant to be a joke??? Coming from you of all people. Ha

sojournerC
sojournerC

I guess we'll just have to see how the dice hit the table, eh? 

Your wishful thinking is reading a lot into grammar. 

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Don't be obtuse -- until retail dispensaries are driven out of business.

Have you seen:  http://www.therepublic.com/vie...  The bleating is represented (at the end of the article), but notice that Brian uses the present perfect tense -- "Colorado has been ...".

sojournerC
sojournerC

What end? Absolute police-state fascism or full marijuana regulation for adults over 21? 

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

Jah Bless Monkey, a ganja warrior indeed! Jah no like large dispensary with pot leaf decal in front of baby.... They'll probably get a battering ram in the morning and no 45 day warning as expected.

sojournerC
sojournerC

You mean use increased along with supply? Weird.

I am sure most knee-jerks won't see it this way, but alcohol and tobacco use are going down because they are regulated.

Take MJ out of the black market and it will become harder for minors to get.

Matt in Boulder
Matt in Boulder

Ironically, there seem to be no meetings taking place to discuss the need to close pharmacies.  You know, those places that sell (truly) deadly drugs that kids are bringing to school (in their pharmacy packages) and sharing with their friends...

William Breathes
William Breathes

It took a doctor to come up with that. Meanwhile, anyone who ever went to high school can tell you that kids under 18 get illegal stuff from kids over 18.

William Breathes
William Breathes

very interesting. I'll have to quiz our highschool interns on this phenomenon.

namijoh
namijoh

The kind of caregiver with a crappy looking blog making money off of AdSense ads?

Go away troll
Go away troll

Mister, just ignore this dude. He isnt able to participate in the industry so he's bitter and comes on Westword and hates on everything and everyone in the industry. He thinks we're all stupid and has little, if anything positive or of value to say. He is anti-mmc. The irony is, he used to be an owner!!

Mister
Mister

I don't quite understand how you advertise as a caregiver and grower, yet nothing you post makes any sense from those points of view.

What kind of caregiver has so much knowledge of minors and their illegal activities, let alone bragging about those relationships on an online forum?

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