Medical marijuana seizure letters intrusion on state law, senator says

Thumbnail image for marijuana budtender.jpg
National Cannabis Industry Association exec Aaron Smith predicted that officials would speak out against seizure letters sent to 23 medical marijuana dispensaries within 1,000 of schools by U.S. Attorney John Walsh -- and now, one is doing so.

Senator Pat Steadman, who's behind an MMJ financial co-op proposal, strongly criticizes the approach.

"I absolutely consider this an intrusion," Steadman says. "I also think it's interesting that they have chosen to target businesses that are complying with state law. Originally, we had been told that unambiguous compliance with state law would help avoid federal prosecution. But now, they have been very selective in terms of which particular provision of state law they're going to ignore and not give people credit for complying with."

senator pat steadman.jpg
Pat Steadman.
Nonetheless, Steadman isn't ready to assume that a federal crackdown on all dispensaries is imminent.

"Given that the letter they just sent gives business owners a certain window of time with which to take corrective action, it's premature to say how much of a problem this really is. Everyone may figure out a way to come into compliance and solve the problem without people kicking down the door and seizing their business. But I hope this isn't a signal that there will be future prosecutions of other businesses that are in compliance with state law. I would hope the federal government would leave this matter to the states, because I think in Colorado, we've done a fair job of creating a regulatory system to control this industry and insure that it complies with our constitution."

In Denver, MMCs that receive such letters will be able to change locations. But new addresses may be in short supply, especially if centers want to stay at least 1,000 feet from both schools and parks. While the latter weren't mentioned in Walsh's letter, they have been cited in similar orders sent by feds in California, and marijuana attorney Warren Edson is advising clients forced to move to keep parks at that distance, too.

As Steadman notes, doing so won't be easy, "particularly in a city like Denver, where we have a wonderful park system. But proximity to playgrounds is an issue that's come up in the legislature before, and there's always the question of how you define a playground. Is every swing set in a backyard a playground? How many teeter-totters do you have to have before it's considered a playground?

"You can start to quibble, but my personal view is that these 1,000 foot radiuses really aren't effective at preventing whatever problems they're designed to prevent. There's nothing magical to distinguish what happens at a distance of 990 from 1,010 feet. These boundaries are creating a false sense of security and pandering to unbased fears."

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69 comments
Scott Marlowe
Scott Marlowe

Only when the Federal government has actual constitutional authority to enact said laws.  All laws governing marijuana are empowered by the commerce section of the US Constitution.  As long as a MMJ dispensary takes no part in interstate commerce the federal government has no authority over it.

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

WARNING TO DEA:  You have 45 days to surrender your threats.  If you are seen within 1000 feet of a dispensary you will be shot on site!  This is NOT A BLUFF!  Colorado has more guns than any other state.  It is the belief of the Colorado Medical Marijuana Militia that you are violating our life, liberty, and pursuit to grow / cultivate / distribute cannabis.  Militias are forming, training, and arming with the most powerful weapons and ammo available.  Expect sniper fire, booby trapped grows, and those who will to fight to the death for freedom. Again this is not a warning, retreat with your threats now or die!  The Colorado Militia has spoken, any further threats will be met accordingly!

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

This story is getting more viral by the hour:

http://www.9news.com/news/arti...|topnews|bc|large

Here stoners who think moving is ok, it's not loud and clear!

"action will be taken to seize and forfeit the property if they do not discontinue the sale and/or distribution of marijuana within 45 days." 

Guest
Guest

States rights! The fedal government is absolutely overstepping their boundaries. MMJ is in our state constitution and should be recognized. The laws of the state should reflect what the people of that state want, not what a bunch of people in Washington think they need. The federal government doesn't understand how differently people live from state to state and social issues such as this should be left for the states to decide what works for them. Leave us alone! The federal government has bigger fish to fry like working to better our economy.

Elainegoss
Elainegoss

why does the u.s. gov. have a problem with medical marijuanna but they dont have a problem with kids drinking red bull energy drinks  what is wrong with the u.s. dont they see that there no difference what there doing

Patrick
Patrick

its not illegal ... know your facts.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Hack is the Governor of Colorado, and he took an oath to uphold Colorado's Constitution.  Medical Cannabis is legal under the supreme law of our State (Colorado Constitution, Article XVIII, Section 14).  Speeding is illegal under the laws of our State.  Your comments betray an ignorance of the subject matter and a puerile, reactionary motivation.  You may continue to deny yourself the benefits of cannabis, but mind your own business and do not dare to obtrude your ignorant prejudices into our homes, our bodies, our livelihoods, and our pocketbooks.

Matt in Boulder
Matt in Boulder

Yes, I would expect him to fight the feds if they decided to start ticketing Colorado citizens for speeding based on some federal speed limit that happens to be lower than the Colorado speed limit.  Thanks for the analogy.  The point of this issue is that the feds need to stay out of state business.

Monkey
Monkey

There is no "corrective action" you can take besides dissolving your business. I am getting sick of this misinterpretation MMCs can move down the street. No one has said you can move except for idiots in Colorado, aren't you done listening to those people? Haven't they caused you enough harm? This is a federal threat, pay attention, don't keep following the people who have steered you wrong, they are still wrong. Learn from your mistakes or keep making the same mistake, I don't care anymore, the ones that move deserve what they get.

States Rights Advocate
States Rights Advocate

You write like a plant from the DEA. If someone wanted to to make the situation worse and tip sentiment more in favor of the Attorney General, they would have a hard time appearing more reactionary than you. I believe you comments do more damage than anything else. Just sayin....

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

"... grow operations targeting children" -- what the hell is that supposed to mean?!?

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

"Boulder has 37 cultivation facilities, 32 dispensaries and six marijuana-infused product manufacturing sites licensed to do business in the city.

Boulder officials said Thursday there are at least 13 medical marijuana businesses located within 1,000 feet of a school or daycare."

http://www.dailycamera.com/bou...

Matt in Boulder
Matt in Boulder

See, we need the altruistic federal government to save our children from the evil weed.  Clearly the state cannot handle that responsibility itself. (/sarcasm)

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Guest. Much appreciated.

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

The real problem is that people give a crap what the US Gov has to say about it.  Free your mind, forget the laws and the government, free your mind and freedom will follow.  People get busted all the time for weed, it's what keeps the price high, keeps getting high fun, it's all part of the game man, the game don't you see?  It's all just a big game!  I promise if you smoke as much hash as I do you won't care what anyone says and if you get busted you'll be out sooner than you know and even when you're in it's no big deal.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

We have been left to infer a rule from the various Federal pronouncements, and that is that Federal efforts to enforce the CSA will be concentrated first against persons who would be subject to Federal sentencing enhancements were they charged.  Medical cannabis businesses may move with some reasonable expectation that they will then be able to continue to do business for a time without Federal interference.  The people who operate and work for these business are serving patients (albeit under an unconstitutional, unworkable regulatory scheme) and their businesses dispense cannabis as medicine to patients; I care about everyone being charged with crimes for using or supplying cannabis.

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

Donkey Hotay's Dog
Donkey Hotay's Dog

This misinterpretation is intentional, b/c Pat Steadman is in the pockets of the big $$$ dispensaries. The greedy dispensaries are on the warpath to put all of their other competition out of business, and Steadman has vowed to help them do that. So when Steadman sez "don't worry, be happy", that means he wants the other greedy dispensary owners to ignore the feds' letters and then get shut down. Less competition. More money for the MMIG/DEA/Steadman who want only a handful of dispensaries (those that are willing to pay off in kickbacks) left standing.

Steadman never cared a whit about patient rights, just his precious Wanda James and all her MMIG cronies. He talks tough, but actions speak louder than words. Steadman is a sellout to patients.

KaDargo
KaDargo

I'm pretty sure that Mr. Rob Corry is still in business, not sure why his WEB site displays nothing.  Maybe he can't handle any more business?  LOL

Scott Marlowe
Scott Marlowe

Yeah, just because SCOTUS says a thing is true doesn't really make it so.  We've had extraconstitutional powers extended to the federal government for a century or so now.   Doesn't make it right.

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

"We don't have any standing to come in and stop the feds," she said. "They can do what they want.""The feds don't care, and the state doesn't care," she said. "The state is not going to testify in their favor."The feds don't screw around."Camera Staff Writer Laura Snider contributed to this report.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Don't do the Crime if you can't do the Time

Stan
Stan

Yeah, and getting busted hurts your chances of getting a job, applying for financial aid for higher learning (including grants and scholarships), getting your redcard for MMJ, getting fair treatment in divorce and/or child custody proceedings, getting security clearances, buying firearms, taking professional certification exams, etc.  I might as well give up on my ambitions to become greater than what I am now and take your advice.  Who needs growing up and having responsibilities when you can get high and have fun?  It's all a game, after all.  I can't wait to tell my children that I can't send them to college, buy them Christmas presents, pay for a wedding, or set up a trust fund because I was a selfish asshole in my youth and just wanted to get high, regardless of the long-term consequences.  What am I saying, though?  It's no big deal, after all.

On another note, it seems that you have a bad habit of bragging on blogs about traveling on airlines with MMJ in your possession.  http://highcountrycaregiver.co...  I realize that, as it's all just a game and all, you must be pretty proud of yourself.  On the other hand, you're a complete and total retard for writing that stuff down which can be used against you should your shit be confiscated and your online activity submitted as evidence against you.  If there ARE pot clowns among us, you are surely one of them.  But again, it's no big deal.

Monkey
Monkey

Who you care about is irrelevant. If you believe the feds are somehow allowing MMJ businesses to continue operating if they move away from schools, you too are an idiot. Informing them of sentencing enhancements in no way relieves them of the original crime, it is just additional information. It is far from reasonable to expect a move will prevent federal interference. It is however very reasonable that they will get raided by the DEA in their new location if they ignore federal law after being warned.

KaDargo
KaDargo

The WEB site was posting the status of a law suit that was filed almost a year ago that was to challenge state laws passed that violate MMJ patients rights.  I never heard the results of the suit or if it was even heard by the court, but I have recently noticed that the "account is disabled".

What ever happened to that law suit?

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

"just because SCOTUS says a thing is true doesn't really make it so."

Denial ... ain't just a river in Egypt.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

"The feds don't screw around"

No, they sure don't, to wit:http://www.canorml.org/fedcase... 

July 13, 2011 - Ten people have pleaded not guilty to various federal charges of drug-trafficking conspiracy after approximately 30 law enforcement agencies executed 26 criminal search warrants in 13 Montana cities on March 14. 

Jason D. Burns, Joshua L. Schultz and Jesse D. Leland pleaded not guilty on June 23 to manufacturing, distribution, possession, and money laundering charges in U.S. District Court in Missoula. On June 30, Richard G. Flor, Justin L. Flor and Sherry L. Flor were each charged with 11 felonies, including possession of a firearm during a drug-trafficking offense in U.S. District Court in Billings. 

On July 6, Jonathan Janetski, Michael Kassner, Tyler Roe and Evan Corum were charged with three counts each in Missoula. An eleventh person is yet to be arrested, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Fehr. All of the defendants face a mandatory minimum of five years, and up to 40 years in prison if convicted. The weapons charges against the Flors could lead to life imprisonment. Operators of the Montana Caregivers Association and MCM Caregivers, which were among the targets of the raids, have filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming their constitutional rights were violated.

UPDATE: On Sept. 7, 2011, Schultz pleaded guilty on Sept. 7 to a charge of distributing more than 100 kilograms of marijuana. He agreed to forfeit at least $600,000 in cash and a Mercedes car, according to court documents. Leland pleaded guilty on Sept. 13. Both men are scheduled to be sentenced in December. Burns has a hearing scheduled for Sept. 15 on whether he can introduce evidence of Montana's medical marijuana law and entrapment during his trial.

Four other men have pleaded guilty in federal court in Missoula in separate cases related to the March dispensary raids.Separate from the March raids, Shawn Slattery and Andrew Umhey pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manufacture marijuana, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney.

Prosecutors alleged that from October 2010 to February 2011, Slattery and Umhey operated the Four-Twenty Ranch LLC, where marijuana was produced and stored. In February, law enforcement officers seized 272 marijuana plants and 32.5 pounds of marijuana from the business. Both face a mandatory minimum of five years in prison. They are scheduled to be sentenced on December 22.

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

Stan, for your information, posting in blogs can't be used against you as evidence.  Anyone can be anyone online.  For example, see who really doesn't own my website in the whois database:

http://whois.domaintools.com/h...

it's hacking 101 dear Watson, cover your arse!

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

According to my website's analytics 'flying with marijuana' is a very popular topic, I was happy to share my experience.  I've gotten much feedback about posting my experience, both positive and negative.  Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Furthermore online activity can not be submitted as evidence. Anyone can be anyone on here. There is no 'check' in the blogging system to verify identity.

Finally hiding your online identity is fairly easy, for example, see who really doesn't own highcountrycaregiver.com here at the whois database:

http://whois.domaintools.com/h...

hacking 101 dear Watson cover your arse!

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

You said you don't care -- I replied that I do.  I stand by what I wrote above.  I am not offering assurances that dispensaries will not be raided or operators arrested; I am just making as explicit as possible what I take to be the import of the present DOI campaign.  The threatening letters do imply that the threats are being made because those businesses sent the letters are within 1000' of schools, parks, or libraries.  "Medical cannabis businesses may move with some reasonable expectation that they will then be able to continue to do business for a time without Federal interference."  The Feds are not allowing or disallowing; they have limited resources, and they have indicated clearly enough what they will be doing over the next few months at least.

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

It's time to form the Colorado marijuana militia.  We have the right to defend ourselves against the Feds violating our laws.  It's time to make a difference, just like the Mexicans and Colombians do, arm yourselves, hire a small army and shoot to kill.  DEA agents must die if our voices are to be heard.

There Robert, I'm a advocate now. This country was built on fighting back to the death, it's time to follow in our forefathers steps, mother nature's call to arms!

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Your sense of empathy is deficient.  Some people need cannabis to survive, and the many people who do not use cannabis but have empathy are moved to re-examine their assumptions when confronted with these patients' stories.  Medicinal cannabis has created the conditions which make it possible to imagine ending Prohibition -- maybe you should be a little less callous.

KaDargo
KaDargo

Thanks, man!  One of the many things I like about the Internet is the ease at which I can find information (accuracy can sometimes be another issue).  I was going to that site on a regular bases for a while, but haven't for a while until recently.  I was afraid that since the site was down that it meant bad news...glad to hear from Robert that it is not the case!  I am also happy to hear about this! http://www.relief4possession.w...

KaDargo
KaDargo

Thanks, man.  One of the many things I like about the Internet is the ease at which I can find information (accuracy is sometimes another issue).  Had this WEB site been active and up to date, then we would all know simply by going to it at a regular bases, which I had been doing, but had not for a while until recently.  I assumed that since the site was down, that maybe the hope was that the lawsuit had been forgotten about and/or the ruling was not in favor of it.  I am happy to learn that neither is the case! :)  I am also happy to learn about this! http://www.relief4possession.w...

KaDargo
KaDargo

So, if the WEB site were not disabled, we would know this, right?  :)

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Repeal HB1284 that unconstitutionally created the for-profit anti-caregiver patient-exploiting Big $$ Dispensary Industry !!

Support Constitutional Amendment 20 that protects Patients and Individual Private Care-givers !!

Occupy Steadman's Office !!

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

KaDargo, I've used my web experience to try and figure out what's up with this site.  I've never seen anything so weird in the whois database.  Furthermore, if you type it in singular 'cannabislawsuit.com' it forwards to the plural 'cannabislawsuits.com' both on the website and in the whois database.  Could be the work of an inexperienced developer, but something tells me even someone with experience couldn't mess it all up so bad if they tried.  Might be an idea for Westword to follow up with this story and see if some of their talented developers can figure out WTF?

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

Pardon me that you confuse me with someone who gives a shit about patients and caregivers. All that medical crap is yesterdays news.  All I want to do is get high and have fun.  No matter what happens they can't chop your head off for marijuana violations so my life has plenty of time left to enjoy cannabis.  No matter what the pot clowns say and do there will always be cannabis and those who know its use.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

That is one of the flakiest comments you have ever made here.  The Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project's suit is the only one to challenge the unconstitutional actions of the General Assembly in 2010 and 2011 directly, and it is before the Denver District Court.  The Supreme Court must soon either abdicate its responsibilities or take up the appeal of Beinor v. Industrial Claim Appeals Office, and its rulings will determine whether and how the PCRLP's suit may proceed.  Not every advocate can operate without donations, and in order to challenge three laws and a raft of regulations in court requires considerable effort on the part of legal professionals.  Forward progress is stymied by our inability to organize, and by making so vague a claim, you do a disservice to the very idea that we should organize.  Name your "crooks" (and cite some evidence), but do not do so in the context of a discussion of the only serious legal effort to turn back the counter-revolution against medical cannabis.

P.S. You and your likers can go ahead and tear down those who are the championing patients and caregivers' rights and just hope not to be caught, but that is not a legal principle or a political strategy. I am willing to attend your trial, but as the likes perhaps indicate, there are many more people out there whose political stance amounts to volunteering for victimhood.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

The Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project's lawsuit (one word) is in abeyance as the Supreme Court considers the petition of Andrew Reid AND AG John Suthers that it rule on the issues raised in the Beinor case -- we may expect an answer from the Court soon.

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

I think that lawsuit was a scam, beware of which cannabis lawsuits you donate money to.  There are a lot of crooks out there asking for money claiming to fight for patients' rights who just pocket the money.

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