Feds Warn 23 Colo. Marijuana Dispensaries to Shut Down

Colorado U.S. Attorney John Walsh has been busy filling in names to his latest form letter, warning 23 Colorado medical marijuana dispensaries to shut down within 45 days or face forfeiture of their businesses and any financial proceeds generated, as well as enhanced criminal charges.

The reason: The dispensaries are operating within 1,000 feet of a school, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 860(a). The letter is here. The press release is here. Similar letters were also sent to the landlords of the businesses and property owners. Landlords were warned about 21 USC 856(a).

The most significant line in the letter:

"The Department of Justice has the authority to enforce the federal law even when such activities may be permitted under state law."

What about the Odgen Memo? Walsh insists his letters are in compliance with it: [More...]

The Department of Justice has earlier provided U.S. Attorneys with guidance in the form of a memo written by then Deputy Attorney General David Ogden in 2009, later amplified by Deputy Attorney General James Cole in 2011. Those memos address resource issues, and set forth parameters for individual U.S. Attorneys to exercise their discretion to handle marijuana trafficking matters, including marijuana trafficking near schools. Today’s action is pursuant to and consistent with the guidance given by the Department of Justice in these memos.

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    And yet.... (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 06:09:20 PM EST
    mere steps from the elementary school by my house is a liquor store and a grocery store that sells beer and cigarettes.  

    But, but, but (none / 0) (#2)
    by Zorba on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 06:11:43 PM EST
    MileHi, those products are legal!  Not in anyway to be compared to the "evil weed."  (/snark)

    Not to mention (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by NYShooter on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 06:39:39 PM EST
    Stupid, stupid, election year politics.

    Right wing booze hounds would never vote for Obama anyway. But Progressive/Liberal/educated voters will just be reminded that this Law and Order President is no different than the last Law and Order President.

    Do you realize (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Peter G on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 08:05:43 PM EST
    how many city blocks 1000 feet is?  In Denver, according to Google Earth, more than three blocks.

    Right Around... (none / 0) (#6)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 11:06:43 AM EST
    ~5200 feet in a mile, so a 5th of a mile.  Depending on the city, usually 12 blocks for older cities and 10 for newer, in a mile.  So rarely is it less then 2 blocks.

    The thing is a lot of schools have large tracks of land, like where I live, they have a quarter mile track, and large playground.

    These idiot laws also apply to churches who's Sunday school classes are viewed, at least in Texas, as schools.  It also applies to day care which is trending towards opening in shopping centers.  They have no restriction, they move in and convenience store must move out.

    For what, to make sure kids don't have to see cigarettes/beer.  Who is going to sell that stuff to a real kid, like 10 in this day and age, and let's be real, these goods are in most homes where they are readily viewable and in all likelihood, available.

    Are these people really worried about marijuana getting sold to minors at these places ?  Then why not include Walgreenns and HEB, they see far more dangerous drugs with cigs and beer and they even sell Twinkies & Ho Hos to the kids, which to me is more dangerous then looking at the outside of weed store.


    On the other side (none / 0) (#9)
    by jbindc on Sat Jan 14, 2012 at 03:54:02 PM EST
    If you want to run one of these establishments, is it seriously so hard to make sure you're outside of 1000 feet of a school before you open?

    As I write this, I am sitting watching a football game in my boyfriend's apartment.  There is a strip mall across the street.  Off the top of my head, I can tell you none of those store fronts are within 1000 feet of a school. I think if I was opening a dispensary, I would take the time to do a little more due diligence to be in compliance.  Is it really too much of a burden?  (Answer:  NO).


    Agreed (none / 0) (#10)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Jan 16, 2012 at 08:43:31 AM EST
    But that is off point.

    When you start mapping out all the 'no' zones, there isn't much left.  And what's the point anyways ?  Are these laws effective, or just feel good non-sense ?  

    I have an extremely hard time believing kids will start smoking/drinking because they walk by a certain type of store.


    As if Johnnie and Suzy Whitebread aren't (none / 0) (#5)
    by SeeEmDee on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 09:49:51 AM EST
    getting theirs from enterprising little Timmie in the schoolyard. Who probably got low-quality schwag that came from some place in El Sud.

    This is going on partly because the USG has a patent on cannabinoid medicines (after saying for decades that cannabis has no medicinal qualities) and now as granted a go-ahead to a firm called KannaLife to produce those same non-existent cannabinoid meds. In a very sneaky move they published this in the Federal Register and nowhere else. And of course, comments about it are closed.

    It would appear that this is more crony capitalism at work, as the Feds want to clear out the organic small time growers and outlets to pave the way for their - ta da! - 'new', USG-blessed Big Pharma cannabis meds. Which is what seems to have been the plan, all along. Which would partly explain why the Feds are now going after dispensaries hammer-and-tongs.

    FWIW, Tylenol (paracetamol) acts on the (none / 0) (#8)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 07:59:37 PM EST
    It's gonna really suck having (none / 0) (#7)
    by Chuck0 on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 01:03:18 PM EST
    Mitt Romney for a president. But seriously doubt that I can bring myself to vote for "George W" Obama in 2012.