Medical marijuana seizure letters: 22 shops shut, five enforcement actions

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John Walsh.
Update below: The U.S. Attorney's Office under John Walsh has now confirmed that dispensaries near schools that received a seizure-threat letter have stopped doing business at previous locations. But this confirmation comes with new info. Although 23 letters were sent, one was subsequently withdrawn. And while spokesman Jeff Dorschner told us on Monday morning that no enforcement actions had taken place, five later did.

According to a U.S. Attorney's Office release, one of the dispensaries that received a letter was within 1,000 feet of a school that is no longer being used to educate children. As such, the letter was withdrawn. In regard to the other 22 centers, enforcement action was necessary at five of them. Drug Enforcement Administration representatives entered these locations and determined that sales had ended, and the facilities were closed.

Walsh released the following statement:

"Thanks to the excellent work of the DEA, working hand in glove with prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney's Office, we were able to close marijuana stores that sold a Scheduled I Controlled Substance within 1,000 feet of a school. These stores were closed without incident. This effort is about protecting children from illegal drugs, and maintaining drug free zones around our schools in compliance with federal law."

Added DEA Special Agent in Charge Barbra M. Roach:

"The purpose of today's action by the DEA and the U.S. Attorney's Office was to enforce federal law with regard to marijuana stores operating within 1,000 feet of schools in Colorado. Marijuana, a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law, is a dangerous drug -- especially when used by children. The closure of the targeted dispensaries today will make those affected schools more secure for our children and teachers throughout the State of Colorado."

The release also reemphasized something Dorschner told us on Monday: "A second list of marijuana stores within 1,000 feet of schools will soon receive similar letters advising them to close or face civil or criminal penalties."

Update, 10:04 a.m.: I just reached U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Jeff Dorschner, who adds details about the basic facts outlined above.

From what Dorschner's been told, one dispensary on the original list of 23 was within 1,000 feet of an education-oriented space, "but it's my understanding that it's some kind of administrative building," he says. "It's not a building where children go on a daily basis."

When speaking about the five dispensaries where enforcement actions took place, Dorschner first defines the term. "An enforcement action means we have to enter a property using a legal instrumentality. In four of the five cases, the instrumentality was a search warrant. In the fifth case, it was a consent to search by the owner of the property.... She was having the locks changed, so she agreed to just let us in once the locksmith arrived at the location."

The bottom line: "Yesterday, the DEA went to each of the 22 facilities, and they touched every door and confirmed that there were no sales being done and, in fact, that the store was not in a position to operate." Moreover, he notes that "all of the product was gone" at all the shops, including the five where legal instrumentality was employed.

These results more than satisfied the folks at the U.S. Attorney's Office. "Our preference was for these facilities to close without the government having to seize property or seize product," Dorschner says. "From that point of view, the operation was a success."

What about the second wave of letters? Dorschner doesn't specify how soon they'll be sent, but he does confirm that "the list is being finalized. There's still work to be done."

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More from our Marijuana archive: "Dispensary owner whose shop closed at feds' order: 'Screw this f*cking city.'"

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kodak
kodak

In all honesty, this truly seems quite useless. They may have been successful in shutting down a few operations, but most will just move right out of that 1,000 foot barrier. Save your money on persecuting people providing MEDICINE to those people who chose not to intoxicate their bodies with the chemically altered government issued drugs that offer side affects that are 9 out of 10 times WORSE than the ailment they're intended to improve.

Denver MMJ Patient
Denver MMJ Patient

A big pain in the butt? Yes. But there are far better markets for medical marijuana dispensaries away from schools. Look at the number of kids under 18 with parental consent, and medical marijuana prescriptions. I forget the exact figure, but I believe it was either 16 or 60. Either way, that's not a great market. I would think areas of big businesses would yield at least a handful of after work visits, or possibly even industrial areas, because hard labor equates to a considerable amount of problems with pain, etc.

Most of these medical marijuana facilities, I'm sure weren't raking in money fist over fist, and the ones that were close will, I'm sure, re-open in a better location, bringing with them all of their social networking followers, and old patients; who knows, this may actually make a couple of them more money than before.Fact: Don't endanger people's children, whether it's endangerment in your eyes, their's, or both,. Human beings are highly protective of their offspring.

Grateful MedsinNed
Grateful MedsinNed

They are going after folks while they still can. I feel they are acting out because they know it will be changed from a Schedule 1 to a schedule 2 after the elections this year. There have already been announcements that there will be Cannabis products on US shelves by 2013. In order for this to happen Cannabis must be changed to a schedule 2 where it is recognized as having medical value.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

*If* it is changed to Schedule 2, then ONLY licensed PHARMACIES will be allowed to dispense it -- no more retail hippie shacks -- and it will ONLY be available with a PRESCRIPTION from a licensed Physician -- who must then put his medical license on the line, and must prescribe specific dosage limits.

As Schedule 2, the DEA and FDA will exercise maximum control over it, same as they do now for Oxycotin, etc

It will be the END of the current, AMATEUR Medical Marijuana industry.

And no Schedule 2 drug is currently approved for RECREATIONAL use, so kiss Amendment 64 goodbye !!

Stupid stoners can't see past their own bong fog.

Guest
Guest

This is absolutely what is occurring, recently large pharma companies and several other companies with deep pockets have made moves towards taking over the medical marijuana industry. The first step is to close all current dispensaries, then re-schedule, then grant exclusive patents and licenses to select companies who have very large lobbying accounts.....boom.....pharma takes over medical marijuana, recreational marijuana remains illegal fueling the prison complex, everyone rich gets richer and no damn stoners in Colorado or California are going to take the pharma companies money......

the weird part is i am not a conspiracy theorist, it just seems like such a logical progression in this country.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

You are correct !

And once again the ignorant stoners are clamoring for their own demise, as they did with HB1284, are doing now with A64, and their myopic support to move pot to Schedule 2.

Politically Ignorant Stoners are their own worst enemy.

Stay the Course !!

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Note to ALL Dispensaries: the Feds had no problem obtaining Search Warrants ... none whatsoever.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

There is some completely illegal mechanism in place permitting the DEA to write its own.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

You mean "illegal" in some alternate reality -- Planet Robert perhaps ?

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Of course you shed no light on the subject -- search warrants are supposed to be issued by a court, not by the law enforcement agency seeking them.

Thinking Clearly
Thinking Clearly

Why are we following the policies of a man that said "I am not a crook", and then proceeded to criminalize more than half of all America by underhandedly creating a new era of Prohibition?

PartisansBlow
PartisansBlow

Does anyone know if there is a list of the closed shops anywhere?

Also, I have a much better idea of how to protect the children...STOP PUTTING THEIR PARENTS IN JAIL FOR WEED.

LarryQ5
LarryQ5

A prudent business owner would get out their tape measures, take the appropriate action, and insure there isn't a second list. Just sayin....

Anom
Anom

The ignorance of our State and Country leaders is staggering. I am shocked and amazed at the lack of common sense utilized by John Walsh in his comment's and action's. You would hope the leaders we appoint would utilize scientific processes to accurately distinguish threats to our society and specifically children in this instance; not fight petty battles with legitimate business owners that employ people and pay taxes, ultimately paying his salary. I'm not a scientist, but common sense tells me that I should be more worried about my kids finding my prescription pills (something that will actually hurt them). Lets all pray that John finds his common sense before a real threat like meth kills our children, or he destroys voters right's to safe access of MMJ. Find a fight worth fighting John, legitimately protect my children, and stop wasting my taxpayer dollars on your personal pathetic conquests.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Barbra M. Roach is a dangerous, armed traitor in our midst.

knowa1
knowa1

John Walsh should be tared and feathered and run out of state

Locdasmoke
Locdasmoke

More federal BS! marijuana shouldn't even be a schedule 1 drug, nor should it be rescheduled to schedule 2 or 3, it needs to go way down on the list because it's safer than most foods we eat! Shut down the DEA, the NIDA and all the other corrupt government agencies! Free the herb!

Johnny1
Johnny1

"Marijuana, a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law, is a dangerous drug -- especially when used by children. "AND this is what they teach children ,when the children learn that cannabis is safer than aspirin then the truth is exposedCANNABIS  AKA MARIJUANA  CURES CANCERGOOGLE "run from the cure  rick simpson"

THIS is how our tax dollars are spent.NEWSFLASH   50 - 100 jobs just ended ,20 plus stores empty

Now "children" can go to the local dealers who dont check ID  'S  and pick up some weed and whatever else is being dealt.

"This effort is about protecting children from illegal drugs, and maintaining drug free zones around our schools in compliance with federal law"

The state of Co has medical marijuana laws  the public is aware of this .they voted for it.

what a waste of time .

?!!!
?!!!

Meanwhile, this morning I picked up my prescription for Vicodin, an addictive and potentially deadly narcotic, at a pharmacy that sells candy for kids at the same counter, walked outside past the liquor store, and to my car that was parked in the lot that is shared by a daycare center. (true event)

Way to protect the kids, you ignorant mother fuckers.

knowa1
knowa1

This is about perpetuation the most racist destructive policy since Slavery with its private prison labor camp and the reason were not paying a Dollar a gallon instead of $4  Cancel the self serving war on citizens 

Mike Smith
Mike Smith

These places that were forced to close should re-open under 1st Amendment protection as Cannabis Education Centers where there is no product but instead free information in the form of pamphlets, handouts, books, classes and lectures on Cannabis. Run by volunteers and investors, they should have big neon signs with huge Cannabis leaves and the words 'Cannabis' and 'Marijuana' in huge letters. Opening next to or across the street from every school possible would ensure that the young people in this country know that their rights, or at least one of them, the right to free speech, is still intact.

Guesto
Guesto

you are the fucking man for that paragraph lol 

Matthew Meyer
Matthew Meyer

It's ironic that they're so concerned about protecting kids, but they didn't even realize that one of the schools didn't have children in it.

Anom
Anom

" This effort is about protecting children from illegal drugs, and maintaining drug free zones around our schools in compliance with federal law."

The purpose Mr Walsh was to show Colorado your authority, and try to show that the Federal Government has more authority than the state! If you gave a damn about children, you would close your miserably failed DEA down, and utilize the saved billions to feed the hungry children in out country!

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