Medical Marijuana

We Won't Raid Medical Marijuana Producers . . . So Long as They Aren't Successful at It. And They Don't Talk About It.


Last Friday, the DEA raided a medical marijuana producer in Colorado. The story needs some fleshing out, but at the moment it appears that Chris Bartkowicz wasn't violating any state law. Medical marijuana is legal in Colorado. His offense appears to have been boasting about how much money he makes growing the drug for patients.

DEA agents converged on the house Friday afternoon and, before leaving several hours later, removed dozens of marijuana plants in black plastic trash bags as well as numerous high-powered growing lights.

On Thursday night, 9News promoted a story about Bartkowicz's operation, and on Friday morning, Bartkowicz was featured in a 9News story posted to its website and published in The Denver Post. The story was to air on television Friday night. He told the station he serves as a caregiver to a number of medical-marijuana patients and hoped to turn a profit this year in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"I'm definitely living the dream now," Bartkowicz told 9News.

The DEA is not only unapologetic, they appear to be blatantly ignoring last year's directive from the Obama Justice Department instructing U.S. attorneys to allow medical marijuana growers and distributors to operate so long as they're complying with state law.

Along with the raid, Jeffrey Sweetin, the Drug Enforcement Administration's special agent in charge of the Denver office, sent a message to anyone involved in Colorado's increasingly profitable medical-marijuana industry.

"It's still a violation of federal law," Sweetin said. "It's not medicine. We're still going to continue to investigate and arrest people."

Bartkowicz is being held over the Presidents Day weekend while the office of Colorado U.S. Attorney David M. Gaouette decides if he'll be charged.

Last October, both I and Jacob Sullum expressed skepticism about Obama's announcement to end the federal medical marijuana raids.


NEXT: Obama Spurns Gun Control

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. A man who wishes to sell a commodity and make a profit? He should have been shot on site! What a monster!

    1. Yeah, but what if he had wanted to sell a tank or a nuclear bomb? Hmmm?

      1. Or selling children. Fresh, hot, white children.

        WONT SOMEONE etc etc etc

        1. The guy was obviously cutting into the lucrative Oxy market in Florida.

      2. Selling pot for medicine is legal in Colorado, selling nukes isn’t.

        1. Well, no. It isn’t legal. It’s just not against state law. It is still against federal law, hence illegal in any state, including Colorado.

          (Of course, that doesn’t excuse violating Obama’s directive to leave such laws unenforced in that state.)

          1. the Fed should only be involved with Interstate commerce, any laws that go beyond that are null and void and should be thrown out the window.
            The DEA is against the constitution and a cause for our national debt (in addition to other things, war of lies and bailouts anyone).
            besides all that State Law is actually above the FED and the fed needs to be put into their place and we need to take back our government and our freedoms stolen by the patriot act and other BS bills that most people are not even aware of.

          2. ok it says in the god damn constitution that the states have the right to govern themselves outside of federal laws because this is a republic and not a totalitarian society (yet) its really sad that a guy can go to prison just because he was trying to do a good thing for some cancer patients or aids patients, and i think its great that more states are starting to legalize medicinal marijuana

          3. so the words spoken by the president have more power over law and liberty than democratically instituted legislation?

  2. Good morning, Reason! *giggle*

    1. Good morning Suki.

  3. His offense appears to have been boasting about how much money he makes growing the drug for patients.

    Keep your mouth shut, asshole. Even if he was involved in a “legal” trade, he should not have been boasting about how much money he makes. When someone asks about your business, there’s one of two answers that should be given.

    1. Things are OK, for now.

    2. It’s a little slow, right now.

    Anything more than that, and people get jealous, or they think you are a complainer. But hey, live and learn.

    1. So we should all learn to keep our mouths shut to avoid jealous reprisals from Uncle Sam’s Goon Squads? Is the First amendment really THAT dead? Asshole.

      1. Yes. Yes, it is.

      2. TP, I bet you use the same lines when it comes to charitable giving.

        1. tic toc,

          Yeah, that’s right. I’m not an Objectivist. I’m an anarcho-capitalist.

          1. Big fan of the Somali pirates, then, I take it?

            1. I love that they were trying to sell stock in the pirate business. I think it would be the coolest gift ever.

          2. Really. I just call it a cheap ass but anarcho-capitalist is prettier.

      3. Surprise, Cock Fags!

        Everybody on the ground! You, with the medical marijuana, put the bong down! Did somebody see a dog . . . PEW PEW PEW

      4. I would definitely advise people not to tell the cop to fuck off during a traffic stop. That doesn’t mean I think cops are justified in tasing, beating up, and fabricating charges against anyone who tells them to fuck off — just that it’s wise not to tempt them to.

        And the same holds true in this case — the guy knows that obscurity and an Obama promise is the only thing keeping him from being raided.

      5. No, asshole. Reprisals from other people not in the government. The government is not the only entity (or person) out to get you. Use your head. It’s called manners. If you owned a business, you might understand what the fuck I’m talking about. Unless, of course, you’re the type of asshole that likes to brag to ever person you meet about how much fucking money you make, or how fast the car is that you drive, or how big your cock is. What are you, 20 years old or something? Grow up.

        1. The government will raid my house if they find out how huge my cock is? ruh roh. Anyone know how to ‘unsend’ digital photos sent to the WH?

    2. God forbid someone take pride in producing a useful commodity.

      1. Hair gel?

    3. Is it considered blaming the victim when you point out ways to avoid being a victim? I’m with TP on this one. There is nothing wrong with telling a young girl in high heels that it is stupid to drunkenly walk down an alley by herself at three in the morning.

  4. Of course the DEA is going to ignore the Obamaness’ orders to lighten up on legal marijuana. There is too much at stake to let that happen-things like exercise arbitrary power over the public, legalized theft of property and money, not to mention maintaining the power of the DEA.

    If the country starts legalizing substances like marijuana, the entire DEA justification (war on drugs) may go away. That would mean the ‘Narcs’ would have to get a REAL JOB!!!

    1. Exactly. It seems like the role of the DEA is more about fighting a “war on drugs” than enforcing the spirit of the laws on the books. I look forward to a day when drugs are legalized but the DEA continues on, business as usual.

    2. That would mean the ‘Narcs’ would have to get a REAL JOB!!!

      I keep sayin it: These cocksuckers wouldn’t get real jobs. Mugging, Burglary, and Carjacking would skyrocket.

  5. You know what? It should be open season on any and all dope-suckers, sellers and profiteers. Especially ones who like to strut, like this preening asshat Bartkowicz.

    1. Rahm, kill that fucker, would you?

    2. Oh, that’s cute. If you got something to say, say it to me, and don’t use my screen name. So, you think I’m against drugs? Well, I’m not, and I got the criminal record to prove it. I just don’t like assholes who run around shooting their mouths off, trying to be cool.

      1. trying to be cool!

        1. “I just don’t like assholes who run around shooting their mouths off, trying to be cool…..” Great advice 😉

  6. Re: Sooki, the situation

    Please tell me I didn’t fight the weather to get on H&R, only to find a Jersey Shore meme has surfaced.

    Camel, meet straw.

    1. I don’t get it? Jersey Shore meme? What’s the situation? 😉

  7. Would someone *kindly* explain to me 1) the ostensible (modulo the “gateway drug” stuff) reason and 2) the actual reason for trying to eliminate MJ?

    I’m getting confused about this issue — particularly after thinking that the powers-that-be, who would like people to become like them, were/are in large part dopers.

    Sorta “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” crossed with “Do as I say, not as I do”. (shudders)

    1. I sho nuff does like me sum white wimmens!

      1. Si!

        1. Yes resistance is futile. We all agree. We will let drug dealers pretend they are business people. We will bitch about Obama. We whine about HCR. We will…

        2. I hear what you two are saying, but we’re in teh era of diversity.

          While this may have gotten the reefer madness ball rolling, I don’t believe it explains the current momentum.

          1. Essentially, it boils down to money. Police departments have become addicted to civil asset forfeiture to fund their operations. Thanks to that, there is now a powerful lobby to keep certain drugs illegal.

            1. addicted to civil asset forfeiture and homeland security disbursements to fund their operations.


      2. OK then. I you are so smart, why do they rape the white women?

        1. Cuz it makes you so crazy. And they don’t try to cut me with a razor.

    2. It’s a plot by the polyester industry to keep hemp from competing in the rope fiber market.

      1. Don’t forget the vengeful zombie corpse of William Randolph Hearst, dude. He fucking hates dope.

      2. Tulpa is right. The big push for criminalization of MJ came from DuPont, which had polyester, which couldn’t compete against hemp on the market. So DuPont pushed behind the scenes for declaring MJ illegal and hemp was “collateral damage” that just happened to help them out. I have a LEO friend who brags to me about how much MJ they destroy every year, but when pushed admits that 95% of that is ditch weed that could NEVER be turned into usable cannabis.

        It comes back to corporate rent seeking. We all complain about it, but look how the trolls who come here can never get it through their thick skulls that we can be pro-capitalists and totally against the manipulation of markets by corporations. DuPont and hemp should be a prime example for them, but they still don’t get it.

        1. +1

    3. the actual reason for trying to eliminate MJ?

      It’s complicated, of course, but basically it’s a centuries-old trend that I believe began during the period of the great plague and the crusades, following which easy hedonia for the masses came to be viewed as a bad thing. The reason marijuana is suppressed is, more or less, because they can’t quite muster enough support to maintain alcohol prohibition in most of the world.

  8. I lie even more than Clinton did.

    1. I lie even more than Clinton did.

      1. I lie even more than Clinton did.

        1. You lie!

      2. Even so, I lie more than you did too.

        1. I’m lying right now!

          1. There is nothing I detest more than the stench of lies.

  9. I lie even more than James Polk

    1. God I hated that fucker.

    2. They Might Be Giants wrote a song about me. What about you Zach?

      Yeah, that’s what I thought, punk. No one’s writing nerd rock tributes to you.

      1. Well they named a car company after me and wrote a song about my Hot Rod, so I win….byatches!

        1. They named a car company after me too!

          1. Just try to spend money that isn’t named after me!

            1. Well played, sir.

        2. Son, you’re gonna drive me to drinkin’.

  10. I’ve known at least two-hundred people who have been killed by cigarettes.

    I’ve known at least that many people who have been killed by the bottle.

    And yet I have never known another human being who died from too much grass.

    I am not even aware of it happening in all recorded human history.

    Can someone please explain to me why we still having this stupid conversation in the year 2010? It’s embarrassing.

    Tom Degan

    1. Marijuana has killed many, many people. Well, technically they were killed by my DEA agents, but they’re dead none the less.

    2. Tom Degan – if that’s your real name – Agent Smith will be at your house shortly to talk about proper respect for the gummint.

      I hope your dog doesn’t bark, because Agent Smith hates barking dogs, and it would be unfortunate if something were to….happen to your beloved pet.

    3. Can someone please explain to me why we still having this stupid conversation in the year 2010? It’s embarrassing.

      Because despite teaching the failure of alcohol prohibition in every history class across the nation, we’re still doomed to repeat our past. That’s my bet at least.

  11. It’s not medicine.

    Not the point at all, mother fucker.

  12. Wow, the whole thing is pretty sad when you think about it.


  13. Good to know that the DEA considers non-violent tax-paying “offenders” a higher priority than violent drug cartels. Hey DEA, glad to have you keeping us safe!

    1. Well, but they are a greater threat, because violent drug cartels aren’t likely to get a good reputation, but med mj suppliers are.

  14. Let’s see:
    It’s a Post on H&R: Check
    Blood Pressure Rising: Check
    Headache Forming: Check

    Must be a Balko post!

    1. But are your balls in excrutiating pain?

      That’s the key symptom to tell a Balko post from all the Obamacare and Climate posts.

  15. Were I president, Karen Tandy would be standing in front of my desk receiving a well deserved ass chewing. I’d demand a public apology and the job of the dickhead that authorized this raid. If Karen doesn’t like it, she could tender her fucking resignation.

    1. Karen Tandy resigned in 2007. Michele Leonhart is the Acting Administrator of the DEA.

      1. And I believe Leonhart oversaw med pot raids in California, did she not?

  16. “It’s still a violation of federal law,” Sweetin said. “It’s not medicine. We’re still going to continue to investigate and arrest people.”

    I’m glad this douchebag, with his extensive background in medicine, is able to tell me what is medicine what is not medicine.

    I hope you get cancer one day, you son of a bitch, and I hope Zofran and Phenergan don’t help you at all come chemo time.

    1. Amen. May his karma run over his own dogma.

    2. People are always wishing cancer on others. Insufficient. We can actually treat cancer a lot of the time.

      I wish inoperable pinched nerves on the feet of these sonsofwhores. Something that will pain them the rest of their not-shortened-by-cancer lives. The reminder in every step that there’s nothing the doctors can do short of amputation. Stuck with a painkiller prescription that barely covers enough time between refills to get a few hours sleep each night.

      Yeah, that’s the ticket.

  17. So if the LEOs seize this asset, since it’s legal for medicinal purposes, can the police then go ahead and sell the pot and keep the money?


  18. Where did all those liberaltarians go? You know, the ones that hailed Obama for ending the War and Drugs. Are those dudes still around? Anyone hear from them lately?

    1. Dude,I hear he’s gonna legalize it in his second term when he forgives all the student loans.

      1. Yep. Pretty much everything GOOD that Obama intends to do is scheduled for “not yet.” Meanwhile, the focus remains squarely on taking away as much of our money as possible.

        In early 2008, it honestly had not occurred to me that it was an option to end up with a president even worse than GWB. In fairness to my shortsightedness, that’s a hell of a bar to clear.

        1. Wow, Tara, you’re a fucking idiot.

  19. I’m all in favor of legalization, but I will point out that there are a couple ways you can get in trouble with medical marijuana. I don’t know the Colorado statutes, but in most states each caretaker permit only allows a certain number of plants.

    Here in Hawaii, it’s 7 plants per permit, and you could have up to 5 permits, allowing 35 plants.

    They might have seen him bragging about his profits and then checked his paperwork and figured out that he wasn’t allowed enough plants to have that kind of operation going.

    I am 100% in favor of legalization, but it is very, very foolish for growers to brag about their operations, and especially their profits. They also risk becoming the target of violent criminals.

    1. I’m no expert on marijuana growing, but doesn’t 35 plants amount to an absolute SHITLOAD of pot?

    2. Dude, In almost every case tried in MY state where the patient or caregiver was over the “plant limit”, aquittal has been the outcome. Judges all over the state toss out plant limit cases because citizen initiatives cannot be modified without a plurality. That’s right, the people won’t impose plant limits because the people don’t want them. They (the limits)are arbitrary and unworkable, too.

    3. Actually, you can only have one caretaker permit plus your own for a total of 14plants in various stages of maturity. Only a fool would advertise as there are WAY too many people interested in ripping you off. plus, more than 49 plants moves you into Felony land. More than 24 DEFINITELY gets you noticed. (we grow outdoors in Hawai’i)

  20. Don’t bask, don’t smell.

  21. Pot. That is all.

  22. Bet that guy won’t pay his federal taxes no more!

  23. 35 plants isn’t much. Depends on how big they get before you trigger them and how much light thet have. But in general on an average plant, 2 – 3 ounces each. Most people get less. So, that’s about 4 to 6 pounds. Not much.

    1. True that! Smaller is better… fly under the radar and stay stealthy!

  24. A few things

    1. The fed is an illegal operation run by the government so its kind of useless to fight it.

    2. As long as we stay on the internet and only complain to each other no one cares and no one hears.

    3. Until people say to the government “No more bureaucracy, no more government control, I’m taking my freedoms.” nothing will change.

    4. And lastly I have no hope that that will happen. We’re to comfortable in our Brave New World society. So even as unhappy as we are we won’t give up our “reality tv” and blogging long enough to do anything about it.

  25. i guess he should be living on the goverment dollar and pay our friends in mexico to kill one another.thats probley better anyway

  26. keep up the good work guys. some great insights and opinions on here. legalization all the way

  27. 4. And lastly I have no hope that that will happen. We’re to comfortable in our Brave New World society. So even as unhappy as we are we won’t give up our “reality tv” and blogging long enough to do anything about it. NFL Jerseys Puma Shoes

  28. Ecco Shoes Nike Sneakers
    i guess he should be living on the goverment dollar and pay our friends in mexico to kill one another.thats probley better anyway

  29. http://www.christianlouboutint…..utin Boots
    thats probley better anyway Nike Sneakers

    thats probley better anyway Nike Sneakers
    nd lastly I have no hope

    1. The fed is an illegal operation run by the government so its kind of useless to fight it.
    MLB Jerseys Designer Handbags

  32. he fed is an illegal operation run by the government so its kind of useless to fight it.
    MLB Jerseys Ed Hardy

  33. 2 – 3 ounces each. Most people get less. So, that’s about 4 to 6 pounds. Not much. Replica Watches

  34. Hi everyone this is a such a type of a interesting and good informative blig i liked it very much, Thanks @

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.