Medical marijuana update: U.S. Attorney John Walsh rejects safe harbor for MMCs

Thumbnail image for john walsh.JPG
John Walsh.
Additional update below: Yesterday, attorney Rob Corry shared correspondence with U.S. Attorney John Walsh about seizure-threat letters sent to 23 dispensaries within 1,000 feet of schools; get details and see the documents below. Corry interprets Walsh's letter as establishing what he calls "safe harbor" for MMCs more than 1,000 feet from school. But Walsh and spokesman Jeff Dorschner say he couldn't be more wrong.

"That is absolutely, unequivocally false," Dorschner allows. "There is no safe harbor."

He adds, "We will continue to use the Ogden and Cole memos" -- separate directives from the Justice Department regarding federal policy toward medical marijuana operations in states that have legalized them -- "as guidance. But we do not want anyone to think Corry's interpretation of this initiative equates to safe harbor."

His conclusion: "The U.S. Attorney has discretion, and when appropriate, he will use it."

Update 2:59 p.m. March 2: Moments ago, the U.S. Attorney's Office released a letter by John Walsh responding to attorney Rob Corry's assertion that previous correspondence had established a "safe harbor" for dispensaries more than 1,000 feet from schools. In it, Walsh echoes the quotes spokesman Jeff Dorschner shared with us earlier today. As for the tone, it can be described as exasperated.

According to Walsh, "Your letter yesterday described mine in a way that bears little or no resemblance to my letter's actual contents." Here's a key passage:

The letter does not discuss in any way a "safe harbor" from federal enforcement, let alone create one. Let me be very clear: The purported safe harbor described in your March 1, 2012 letter does not exist. To advise your (still unidentified) clients that such a safe harbor from federal enforcement exists would be incorrect and untruthful, and would mislead them, factually and legally, as to the position of the Department of Justice and of this office.

The entire letter can be found on page two of this post, following the previous three we published earlier. In the meantime, continue reading for the rest of the story to date.

Original item, 7:04 a.m. March 2: Attorney Rob Corry is sharing correspondence with U.S. Attorney John Walsh over the issue of seizure-threat letters sent to 23 dispensaries within 1,000 feet of schools.

Corry sees Walsh's response to him as evidence that dispensaries more than 1,000 feet from schools are safe from federal action. Is he right? Or is that wishful thinking?

Corry's first missive to Walsh is dated February 6, three weeks before the closure deadline for shops targeted by the feds. (One of the letters sent by the U.S. Attorney's Office was subsequently withdrawn because the building in question was administrative rather than a school attended by children. The other 22 centers closed by this week, as directed.) In it, he lays out a series of legal arguments detailing why he feels the office's actions should be immediately curtailed and requests a meeting with Walsh to discussion the situation.

Thumbnail image for rob corry.JPG
Rob Corry.
In his reply to Corry, dated February 22, Walsh declines such a meeting because none of the center owners who received letters had listed him as their legal representative. However, he noted that his office had gone to the trouble of considering his arguments, and had rejected all of them. "During this office's criminal prosecution in United States v. Chrisopher Bartkowicz," he wrote, "we litigated the vast majority of the legal claims you now raise.... The United States prevailed on every one of those legal issues."

Bartkowciz, as you'll recall, was a Highlands Ranch marijuana grower who was arrested in February 2010 shortly after showing off his operation, located not far from a school, to a 9News reporter. In January 2011, he was sentenced to five years in prison, despite his argument that he was following state law -- a supposition the judge in the case rejected.

Walsh concluded his letter by asserting that "this office will continue to enforce federal law in this complex arena in a measured and just manner, so as to protect the people of Colorado."

Thumbnail image for Chris Bartkowicz marijuana grower on 9news.jpg
Chris Bartkowicz.
Corry's response? In a March 1 letter also signed by Corry associate Travis B. Simpson, he states that none of his clients have given him permission to identify them. The implication: He represents other dispensaries within 1,000 feet of schools, and their owners worry they'll be swept under via a second wave of seizure-threat letters U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Jeff Dorschner says is currently being assembled.

He then plays off Walsh's last quote in this section: "Your letter discusses your office's 'measured' approach to this 'complex arena,' and confirms a safe harbor from any Federal civil or criminal enforcement action for any operation measured over 1,000 feet from a school. This safe harbor is further confirmed by your office's withdrawal of one letter after it was shown there was no school within 1,000 feet."

Based on Walsh's statements, Corry goes on, "we will advise our clients and others that they have nothing to fear from the federal government so long as any operation can be measured at over 1,000 feet from a school. Thank you for providing concrete federal guidance after over a decade of uncertainty in this area. Even though we may disagree with the answer, at least it is an answer, and now all can move forward."

Page down to read the exchange of letters between Rob Corry and John Walsh.


My Voice Nation Help
236 comments
bluecollarbytes
bluecollarbytes

'Safe Harbor' probably goes as far as one's closet or basement, or a caregiver supplying 5 people as well as making their meals, giving rides to the doctors, reading bedtime stories, etc.

esotericknowledge
esotericknowledge

No rebuttal.  I'm making America a better place.  What are you doing?...trying to stop me.  Seems like you hate America and freedom.  And you don't even have any logic to back up your views.  You're going to be a push over.  Please apologize.

esotericknowledge
esotericknowledge

No rebuttal.  I don't need to run away from you...you need to run away from me.

Kevin Bjornson
Kevin Bjornson

The US Attorney made a big mistake (from his viewpoint) to bring up the issue of justice and protection of natural persons. Because prohibition (for adults) violates Jus Naturale, and the US Attorney's office is the biggest (domestic) threat to life and liberty. When he claims his actions are "measured and just", he is using Stoic language that gave rise to the natural law tradition of western civilization.

We cannot say, "might makes right" because there are objective natural laws that govern human life. We rightly judge positive law by reference to natural law. We discover natural law through common law; Jus Gentium approximates Jus Naturale. Regardless of what positive laws the legislatures pass, these have moral validity only to the extent they are in accord with natural law. We cannot change natural law, only discover it. There is a higher law by which positive law is rightly judged.

Prohibition of alcohol was ended, because juries (reflecting popular sentiment) would no longer render guilty verdicts (they would nullify by exercising their power to render "not guilty" verdicts) and because the depression disabled the Federal government from enforcing prohibition. We are again in a depression, and official statistics understate the actual unemployment levels.

We as a society are headed for a perfect storm, that will sweep away the current paradigm. In that eventually, those in power who abuse their authority will rightly be judged. There will be a day of reckoning. Prohibition subsidizes terrorists, through the Taliban in Afghanistan and downstream through Hezbollah in Latin America. Those drug warriors who realize this, are guilty of treason and could be so charged by a federal grand jury issuing a presentment.

The proper penalty for treason, is death by hanging.

billie mingo
billie mingo

The 1,000 feet rule was set for CHILD MOLESTERS not  CANNABIS PATIENTS.. BUT CHILD MOLESTERS HIDE two feet away. Children and teens can not get within 50 feet of a dispensary unless their PARENTS are not watching

Sharpshooter
Sharpshooter

Fuck it, just go back to the good old days of brick packed Mexican shit weed. Cartels get rich, smokers get shit, DEA gets guns and dominatrix outfits to dress each other up in, prisons get customers, Mexican citizens get killed......just a big win-win for EVERYBODY! Bottom line, the weed will still be there, along with the coke, smack, meth, shrooms, you fuckin' name it,  but the jackoffs in the DEA can puff out their chests and claim they're 'winning'.....just like Charlie Sheen! (Apparently deluded assholes run in packs or something!). Can't wait! 

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

" Amendment 64 would not stop unjust imprisonment for offenses related to cannabis, legalize cannabis, or regulate it like alcohol " -- Robert Chase 

" I acknowledge the fact that plenty of scope will remain for people to be imprisoned for cannabis"  -- Robert Chase 

"Clearly what I write about Amendment 64 does not gibe exactly with what the campaign for the Amendment does.  " -- Robert Chase

... Checkmate.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Excellent article on the Colorado Pot Clown Show!

===============================

Many pot-business marriages end with bad divorces

http://www.dailycamera.com/bou... 

Many of the "forced marriages" that occurred in Colorado's medical marijuana industry -- when growers and retailers were forced together by state regulations -- are ending in acrimonious divorces.

An increasing number of lawsuits have been filed in Boulder County District Court and around the state involving former medical marijuana business partners. Attorneys who specialize in the field say the lawsuits represent just a fraction of the contentious separations, with many more being resolved through arbitration or settled out of court.

"Virtually every business I know of has had at least one serious dispute, and some have had several," said Boulder attorney Eric Moutz, who has a background in corporate law and represents numerous businesses and individuals in the marijuana industry.

***

Many people involved in the industry don't have much experience running legitimate businesses, and their previous experience with marijuana was when it was illegal.

=================================

Remember, the same tools and fools who brought you HB1284 are now pimping Amendment 64!

esotericknowledge
esotericknowledge

In My Opinion:  You probably shouldn't listen to or have in power manipulative, low IQ, bigoted cowards who are afraid of a plant.  These dumb-dumb attorneys nor the government are your God.  The authority they claim is tyranny, it is a lie.  They are liars trying to take away your right to life.  They are taking your freedom and liberty.  These people are driven by hysteria, not thought.  They should be respecting the law, yet they show they have no respect for the law or your God given rights.  These individuals harm people.  Marijuana does not.

Reality Check
Reality Check

I agree with Keith Stroup Rob Corry is doing his "clients" a disservice at best with his grand standing. I think Walsh should enforce a 100 foot radius between Rob Corry and schools seeing that he is a sex offender. Better yet perhaps Mr Corry should be quite all together since he is a MMJ patient and could lose his license to practice law under the Beinor ruling.

Guest
Guest

an update on the daily jackass statements:

Another child left behind on the short bus.Stupid is as Stupid does.You really are delusional.You ain't the sharpest tool in the shed, are you boy?Have another bong hit, stoner.MMJ in Colorado IS a SHAM !!

it's all you @Donkey_Hotay:disqus

joeyrockx
joeyrockx

Walsh just needs to stop talking before he drowns the entire state with all the crap flying out of his mouth.

Muzzy Lu
Muzzy Lu

Seems like state and local governments are trying to force medical marijuana patients back into the arms of big pharmaceuticals and the liquor industry! How is marijuana worse than opiates or booze? But the government has to protect us from the evil cannabis.

Great e-book on medical marijuana: MARIJUANA - Guide to Buying, Growing, Harvesting, and Making Medical Marijuana Oil and Delicious Candies to Treat Pain and Ailments by Mary Bendis, Second Edition. This book has great recipes for easy marijuana oil, delicious Cannabis Chocolates, and tasty Dragon Teeth Mints!  

Tristate80013
Tristate80013

Told you. I wish rob Corry would just shut up!

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

So in summation, the Paid Pimps of Pot -- Corry, Vincente, Tvert, Edson, McMaster, Cook, Gard et. al. -- who've reaped and raped millions of $$ in legal fees from the MMJ industry and private MMJ supporters have once again modified their self-promoting propaganda programs thus:

circa 2008 -- Retail Dispensaries and Large Scale Commercial grows are "perfectly legal" under Amendment 20, look how many there are, and no one has busted them yet. We can help you get rich in this new marijuana "gold rush".

c. 2009 -- Dispensaries are "implied" under Amendment 20, and the State can't touch that, and Obama told the Feds to lay off MMJ anyway.

c. 2010 -- Perhaps Amendment 20 didn't cover Dispensaries, but this new HB1284 will be a blessing to the entire industry, and provide magical protection from the feds.

c.  2011.25 -- well, this new HB1043 "clean-up" legislation will fix the myriad problems with HB1284, and being a shining beacon of perfection, it will now provide an invisible magic shield around Colorado insulating it from Federal DEA / DOJ policy.

c.  2011.5 -- we're still reading and trying to comprehend the 100s of pages of conflicted crap and nattering nonsense promulgated by the DOR MMED ... and no, we don't really have any time to even begin reading whatever it is that CDPHE is spewing ... but fear not,  our magical mystery mmj morass is the only reason why the DEA / DOJ are not prosecuting national drug laws like they do in the other 49 states! Colorado is the DEA's favorite red-headed step child because of our great MMJ legislation! Carry on with your Continuing Criminal Enterprise.

c. 2011.9 --- sorry about all those local government bans on dispensaries and commercial grows, but we simply had to include that restriction and regulation in order to get the magical HB1284 passed in the legislature. 

c . 2012 -- well ... perhaps none of the unworkable nonsense we created in the last 4 years will actually protect your Continuing Criminal Enterprise from local, state or federal prosecution, but if you move 1001 feet from a school you might only get probation and a modest fine and not have to do any prison time. BTW: the costs andexpenses with operating, closing or moving your dispensary and commercial grow will not be deductible on your IRS tax form ... surely we mentioned that before we cashed your first check for legal fees.

c. 2012.5 -- Hey! ... we got this fantastic new piece of legislation, Initiative 30 / Amendment 64 ! -- it's great, it will legalize marijuana for everyone and fix all those impossible problems with the earlier MMJ system ... well, now that you mention it, maybe it isn't actually legalization, but it will regulate, restrict and control marijuana just like deadly, destructive alcohol !! ... it'll be great! ... huh, what ? ... ok, so it won't actually regulate marijuana like alcohol -- that's just the lie we feed the public -- it'll really regulate, control, restrict and tax all marijuana just like medical marijuana !!And, to save $$ and time, it'll use the same Legislative / DOR / Enforcement model that's been so successful and beneficial in the past with MMJ.

------ Vote for Amendment 64 !! -- it'll legalize marijuana... or regulate it like alcohol ... or regulate it like medical marijuana ... or something with marijuana ... but it's got to be better than nothing, right?! -----

.

*Amendment 64 -- brought to you by the same big $$ lawyers and lobbyists who brought you: HB1284, SB109, HB1043, the DUI marijuana provision of A64, the local bans, the unworkable plant counts and weight limits, the men with badges and guns inspecting and tracking every gram of pot in every dispensary like it was plutonium-239, video cameras and ID records of your private medical purchases, and increased DEA / DOJ scrutiny for the Colorado Pot Clown Show -- the Greatest Show on Earth !

Joe
Joe

Keep fighting rob!!!  All medical marijuana states need to push the feds to release some legal guidelines so we can eliminate the gray area and make the law black and white.  The leaked guidelines from California Attorney General Kamala Harris would be a good start...

http://www.tokeofthetown.com/2...

Val Locksley
Val Locksley

I think there should be dispensaries, but they should be a good distance away from schools, out in the middle of nowhere. People will still drive a few extra minutes to get it. We need distance because pot is the worst drug in America when it comes to getting kids motivated in school.

esotericknowledge
esotericknowledge

Plenty of room for your continued mocking or a rebuttal right here Donkey_Hotay.

Guest
Guest

You blog like a donkey

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

 you forgot your jackass ASSumption "laughing in the face of a cancer survivor eh chippi?  classic chippi all the way..."

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

You have an interest in the subject which causes you to post voluminously, but have given us no indication that you enjoy cannabis personally (indeed, any number of slighting references suggest otherwise), and no indication that you support people's choice to use cannabis -- you must be a cop!

Mcawesomedude
Mcawesomedude

yup......still uneducated lies. so how much does the government pay you donkey boy? or do you just take it up the poop shoot for free? 

Joe
Joe

Sounds about right.  It's a risky business and MMC owners are spineless and won't fight back.  Vote yes on Amendment 64 and enjoy "the Greatest Show on Earth."  If you're not in the biz you get all the rewards of and none of the risks.  I feel bad for people losing their businesses but if they won't even fight for them then that's their problem, not mine.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

As far as I know no one is using cannabis to try to motivate kids to do well in school -- what drugs do you suggest?

joeyrockx
joeyrockx

Sounds like your a crappy parent. Step up and stop blaming boogie men and invisible monsters for your kids failures. If your kid ends up being a loser, its your fault. Most people try marijuana, very few become losers. Be a parent, not an excuse machine.

Monkey
Monkey

Stop generalizing, cannabis can motivate or de-motivate depending on many factors. Apple and Microsoft were created by stoners, and the people who built the schools you think you're protecting were probably stoners too, along with some teachers.

esotericknowledge
esotericknowledge

I really don't think we should be listening to intolerant people who's only defense is mockery to avoid congitively dealing with the fact that they have no rebuttal and have lost the debate.  In other words, we shouldn't let seemingly children define the behavior of adults.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Why don't you get a real job and leave us be?

Guest
Guest

That's no way to treat a guest. There is more than one person posting as guest here. You shouldn't make assumptions rodent.

why are you defending the statement that medical marijuana is a sham Kathleen Chippi? once again you are insisting to pursue your personal battles with people rather than trying to work together to end cannabis prohibition.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

"I am notbeing paranoid or absurd .." --Robert Chase

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

...take it up the poop shoot...

Classic !

Have another bong hit, stoner.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

If you think HB1284 is "all the rewards" -- A64 is in fact, form and function HB1284 for everyone -- then may you get what you wish for!

Stupid is as Stupid does.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

"Sounds like your a crappy parent."

Another child left behind on the short bus.

"Most people try marijuana"

Why do you lie ?

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Who's "we" ?

You and the little voices in your head ??

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

Robert--it's pretty plausible that Donkey was signed in as another one of his personalities on line when he responded to you. 

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

My comment was a reply to Donkey_Hotay, not you -- notice that he likes the fact that you appear to turn on me though.

esotericknowledge
esotericknowledge

I don't need to run away from you...you need to run away from me, because you have no rebuttal.

Guest
Guest

Wrong.  Not james mc, just guest.  You are as bad as the guest that claimed joe mom was you.  I attacked narc donkey_hotay who said medical marijuana was a sham and you trolled my comments.  I called you rodent as a reference to your trolling and one brown mouse nick.  I trolled your comment above because I figured if got blamed for it I might as well retaliate.  Whatever lady, what do you want?  You're the one responding to my post that was not directed at you.  You and narcotics officer donkey_hotay used the same words and defend each other's positions but you are clearly not the same person.  Wake up KC, narc donkey_hotay is your biggest fan.  That jerk is trying to discredit the medical marijuana program and foil legalization efforts.  I think you do a lot of great things for marijuana but hanging with people like donkey_hotay and voting the same as prohibitionists is a major problem in the goal to end marijuana prohibition for adults.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

**********************************************************************

" Amendment 64 would not stop unjust imprisonment for offenses related to cannabis, legalize cannabis, or regulate it like alcohol " -- Robert Chase 

" I acknowledge the fact that plenty of scope will remain for people to be imprisoned for cannabis " -- Robert Chase 

"Clearly what I write about Amendment 64 does not gibe exactly with what the campaign for the Amendment does.  " -- Robert Chase

**********************************************************************

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

and you also responded to me using the words I used to respond to the "OTHER GUEST".  assumptions.   And since you use the word rodent---there's a good chance you are James Mc Anonymous.   

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

"why are you defending the statement that medical marijuana is a sham Kathleen Chippi?"

Where have I ever defended this statement?  What are you even attempting to say? I have publicly addressed disgust at Alan's complete BS statement.   You will never find a link or evidence to me defending what you are stupidly accusing me of.  The links are available for Alan and NORML, not me.

I guess my confusion over you 2 "different" guests comes from the fact that neither 'one' of you is any smarter than the other.  And you both attempt to accuse me of things that are the COMPLETE opposite of what I believe or say.  You both show no evidence nor do you respond about anything intelligent......only loser-ville personal attacks.  It's sad, really. 

If you ment to imply that my no vote on A20 is me saying mmj is a sham, you lose.

I am for MMJ and against bad language that can't be upheld in the court of law.  A20 has been castrated in the court of law.   Do you get that?  It's over.  The courts ruled and they said mmj is NOT LEGAL to USE.  SO A20 DID NOT LEGALIZE MMJ.  I am the idiot paying out of pocket to appeal bad court rulings.   A64 will also NOT LEGALIZE marijuana, except I will not pay for the appeals if it is on ballot and if it passes.

The fact that you trolls continue to attempt to mislead the general public only shows you have NOTHING TO STAND ON---just like the shitty language you fraudulently market to innocent Colorado voters that doesn't STAND UP when in the court of law.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Stay ignorant stoner, it's what you do best.

With illiterate imbeciles like you promoting pot, it ought to be legal in another 100 years or so.

Mcawesomedude
Mcawesomedude

will do! it was a pleasure ruffling your pathetic feathers. douche who takes it up the poop shoot.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

You often cloak your intentions in ad hominem.  Almost half of Americans have tried cannabis -- "Most people try marijuana" may be inaccurate, but this is another subject on which your prohibitionist ideology impels you to insinuate that even trying cannabis once is not normative -- cop!

CO MMJ IS DEAD
CO MMJ IS DEAD

these comment boards have become a grammatical abortion. hard to read it is.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

How so -- can opium be motivating, or is that a sly reference to addiction?  Do you oppose the use of opium?

Now Trending

Denver Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...