Medical marijuana groups ask President Obama to call off MMJ crackdowns
During most of his public statements justifying the closure letters, Walsh has emphasized his determination to protect children from illicit drugs -- and marijuana remains against the law on the federal level whether or not it's being used for medical purposes in states that allow it. But some of the 25 dispensaries targeted in the latest mailing are close to colleges populated almost entirely by adults rather than children. In a previous interview, U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Jeff Dorschner said such actions were justified because colleges are classified as schools in federal regulations -- a rationale that makes Smith question Walsh's real goals.
"I think it's disingenuous to try to couch this action as some kind of move to protect children, especially now that they are targeting centers located near adult-education centers," he maintains. "But I'd also mention that there is no correlation between crime and the location of a medical-cannabis center. There have been no recorded sales to minors through any of the state-legal medical marijuana centers. To be frank, if kids want to buy marijuana, they can probably buy it illegally at their school -- they're not going to medical marijuana centers. If that would happen, it would clearly be covered by the media and we would have heard of it. But there hasn't been a single case."
The message for the President? "We're hoping the Obama administration and the Obama campaign see the importance of this issue from both a policy and a political standpoint. Medical marijuana is not going away, and the best way to get medicine to patients is through a legal, regulated model like we have in Colorado. It makes no sense to use Justice Department resources to undermine a state's ability to regulate.
"In his heart, he knows what's right," Smith believes. "But he needs to step up and make this a priority by simply telling the Justice Department to follow the stated policies set forth in the Ogden memo."
The press conference is scheduled to take place at 2 p.m. today at The Hill Cannabis Club and Wellness Center, 1121 North Broadway in Boulder. In addition to Smith, speakers are scheduled to include Mark Belkin, UFCW Local 7's community affairs and organizing director, dispensary owners Kim Riese and Mike Matthews, and Chelsey Joseph, who's both a CU-Boulder student and an employee of Colorado Dispensary Services.
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