Drug War

Feds in Colorado Seem to Be Targeting Medical Marijuana Dispensaries That Comply With State Law

|

Last week John Walsh, the U.S. attorney for Colorado, sent threatening letters to 23 medical marijuana dispensaries that he said were located within 1,000 feet of a school. By citing the 1,000-foot limit, which is part of Colorado's regulations for dispensaries, Walsh implied that the businesses were violating state law—a crucial point, given the Obama administration's repeated assurances that the Justice Department would not focus its resources on medical marijuana suppliers who comply with state law. But as I noted on Sunday, Colorado allows local governments to modify the 1,000-foot rule by changing the distance or excluding certain types of schools. Furthermore, it says "the provisions of this section shall not affect the renewal or re-issuance of a license once granted." The upshot is that a dispensary may be legal even if it is currently operating within 1,000 feet of a school. Consider The Grasshopper, a city-licensed dispensary that opened more than two years ago in the Park Hill section of Denver. Last September the Denver Center for 21st-Century Learning, a public middle school, opened in what had been an unused building a block from The Grasshopper. Although the dispensary is grandfathered under both local and state regulations, it was still targeted by Walsh.

Andrew Telsey, an attorney who bought The Grasshopper with two partners last June, tells me he is still waiting for a state license because there is a backlog at the Colorado Department of Revenue's Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division, which began issuing dispensary licenses last fall. But in the meantime, he says, "We are in complete compliance with state and local regulations. We are unaware of any areas where we are deficient." Telsey says he did not get into the medical marijuana business until he was satisfied, based on assurances from President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, that compliance with state law would protect dispensaries from federal prosecution. "I play by the rules," he says. "We did our homework." Now he is threatened with forfeiture and prosecution if he does not close by February 26. He says finding and moving to a new location by then will be impractical, so he hopes he can at least get an extension.

Telsey adds that "several other dispensaries are in a situation similar to ours"—i.e., there were no schools within 1,000 feet when they opened. I left a message for Jeff Dorschner, Walsh's spokesman, asking whether his boss is targeting legal dispensaries, but have not heard back yet. Here is what Telsey has to say about Obama and Holder's promises of prosecutorial forbearance: "They are lying."

NEXT: Google to Join Wikipedia in Protesting SOPA/PIPA, Occupy Wall Street Runs Out of Cash, Democrats Collect 1 Million Signatures for Scott Walker Recall Petition: P.M. Links

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 Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Questions for libertarians on Self-Ownership:

    ? To how many species on the evolutionary Tree of Life* does this Principle apply?

    ? If only one, at what point in biological evolution did “self-ownership” (which I correlate with the more widely used scientific term autonomy**) become “axoimatic” for that specie, and why only for that specie?

    ____________________
    * Evolutionary Genealogy: The Great Tree of Life
    http://evogeneao.com/tree.html

    ** Life is a complex phenomenon that not only requires individual self-producing and self-sustaining systems but also a historical-collective organization of those individual systems, which brings about characteristic evolutionary dynamics. On these lines, we propose to define universally living beings as autonomous systems with open-ended evolution capacities, and we claim that all such systems must have a semi-permeable active boundary (membrane), an energy transduction apparatus (set of energy currencies) and, at least, two types of functionally interdependent macromolecular components (catalysts and records).
    ~Kepa Ruiz-Mirazo, Juli Peret? and Alvaro Moreno. (2004) “A Universal Definition of Life: Autonomy and Open-Ended Evolution.” Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres. Volume 34, Number 3, 323-346. http://www.springerlink.com/content/p6j42r66k2277373/

      1. *yawn* Figures.

        Where’s your thinking cap?

        1. zzzzzzzzzzzzz…

          1. Escape and Avoidance Behavior?

            When total avoidance is impossible, escape behaviors may be used as a means of dealing with feared situations. Escape involves leaving or escaping from a feared social or performance situation. Some examples of escape include yawning when questioned about basic principles one otherwise actively proselytizes.

        2. You’re right, Jason. Again, accept our profuse apologies for having been so blind. Every organism from the bacteria in your stomach to a blade of grass to a grizzly bear is equal in the eyes of the universe. Farm animals have just as much right to eat us as we have to eat them. In the interest of furthering cosmic justice, I propose that you gambol off into the woods and feed yourself to a grizzly bear. If you need any assistance, please do not hesitate to ask the good folks here at H&R for their help in this endeavor. Good day and Godspeed.

          1. This message paid for by The Starving Grizzly Association.

            1. Ain’t city-Statism (civilization) grand? When else have we been so advanced? Not every society can melt humans into pavement.

              1. “Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Dresden”
                I’m sure there’s an ignoramus willing to equate those!
                Why, yes there is! Look right above! Ignoramus on display!

                1. Da, comrade political officer SovietSevo seems to have lost it.

          2. …elephants weep?

            When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals
            Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
            http://jeffreymasson.com/books…..-weep.html

            And exhibit moral behavior?

            Good Natured: The Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals.
            Frans B. M. de Waal
            Cambridge: Harvard University Press
            http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674356610

            Yet capitalist rape of the earth still rests on the religious myths of Genesis 1:26.

            1. Re: Severely confused biology dropout,

              When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals
              Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson

              When cats weep: They need a shot.

              Imbecile.

            2. so THIS is what is feels like when elephants weep?

    1. ” If only one, at what point in biological evolution did “self-ownership” (which I correlate with the more widely used scientific term autonomy**) become “axoimatic” for that specie, and why only for that specie?”

      At the point when said specie was able to articulate autonomy. If and when another species actively communicates that they are autonomous, then I will entertain the idea.

      1. They communicate it very well; you’re just not listening.

        earth-ling n. – One who inhabits the earth. Since we all inhabit the earth, we are all considered earthlings.

        EARTHLINGS
        http://www.earthlings.com

        1. Feel free to translate for me.

          1. Cruelty can be described as indifference to suffering, and even positive pleasure in inflicting it.

            Only an abuser would suggest he doesn’t understand an animal’s cry, whether that of a human baby or another animal.

            Libertarianism = Sado-economics.

            1. Killing and ating animals is not cruel, it is the natural way.

              1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yBJHX1C6n8

                If so, is there anything that isn’t “natural” to you?

    2. Re: Perfunctory Contradiction is my middle name,

      Questions for libertarians on Self-Ownership:

      ? To how many species on the evolutionary Tree of Life* does this Principle apply?

      Why would that matter to YOU? Do YOU believe your ass is yours or not?

      Imbecile.

      1. Maybe ask your dad. I found him, third picture down.

    3. If only one, at what point in biological evolution did “self-ownership” (which I correlate with the more widely used scientific term autonomy**) become “axoimatic” [sic] for that specie, and why only for that specie?

      I’ll shoot. I’d argue that it becomes axiomatic when the species in question possesses a significantly developed self-awareness.

      1. Thus far, there is evidence that bottlenose dolphins, some apes,[13] and elephants may have the capacity to be self-aware.[14] Recent studies from the Goethe University Frankfurt show that magpies may also possess self-awareness.[13] Common speculation suggests that some other animals may be self-aware.[15]

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S…..In_animals

        1. Well obviously the answer is that you need to be redistributing everything you have to every other creature on Earth. Why don’t you step away from the keyboard and let the squirrels type for a while; I think it’s their turn. Besides, it would make for a much more intellectual discussion that way.

      2. …nobody else even came up to bat.

        Nothing like pitching a perfect game, and out-competing the self-styled ?ber-competitors.

  2. Fuck revenuers.

  3. that is all.

    1. We’re all assholes.
      Discuss.

      1. We|1.17.12 @ 7:11PM|#
        “We’re all assholes.
        Discuss.”
        Speak for yourself.

  4. Here is what Telsey has to say about Obama and Holder’s promises of prosecutorial forbearance: “They are lying.”

    Hello and welcome to 1/21/2009!

  5. That alt-text joke is so old, they found a version of it in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

  6. Check out Cannabis Science Inc. (CBIS) They claim to developed a treatment for different forms of skin cancer. Stock soared today.

    http://cannabisscience.com/dow….._kills.pdf
    http://cannabisscience.com/dow…..tthree.pdf

    1. That’s a company of a schoolmate of mine. He was a post-doc while I was a grad student.

    2. That’s a company of a schoolmate of mine. He was a post-doc while I was a grad student.

  7. Telsey says he did not get into the medical marijuana business until he was satisfied, based on assurances from President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, that compliance with state law would protect dispensaries from federal prosecution. “

    What a fucking dumbass.

    1. Yea! What kind of an attorney is this guy, No one said dispensaries were safe, that’s a poor interpretation of the law and any attorney should know they aren’t allowed to interpret the law, you have to be a judge for that. From attorney to dispensary owner, I don’t think he will be seeing judge anytime soon in his career.

  8. We kick your asses, lesser posts!
    Submit!

  9. “Colorado Department of Revenue’s Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division”

    So much for decriminalization AND smaller government.

  10. I’m confused about something. Maybe the lawyerly types can weigh in here. This seems really obvious to me, but it must have many layers of nuance that my feeble, non latin-understandin’ mind can grasp:

    Justice Department would not focus its resources on medical marijuana suppliers who comply with state law

    Let’s pretend for a moment that these dispensaries are not in compliance with state law. Just pretend. For a minute.

    Why would the justice department be concerned with anything that’s not in compliance with state law? Wouldn’t that be an issue to be taken up by state law enforcement, state patrol, or whatever state (operative word: state) agency to enforce, prosecute, fine or otherwise deal with?

    For instance, a random RCW (Revised Code of Washington):

    (1) Every person who:

    (a) Manufactures, sells, or disposes of or possesses any instrument or weapon of the kind usually known as slung shot, sand club, or metal knuckles, or spring blade knife, or any knife the blade of which is automatically released by a spring mechanism or other mechanical device, or any knife having a blade which opens, or falls, or is ejected into position by the force of gravity, or by an outward, downward, or centrifugal thrust or movement;

    (b) Furtively carries with intent to conceal any dagger, dirk, pistol, or other dangerous weapon; or

    (c) Uses any contrivance or device for suppressing the noise of any firearm unless the suppressor is legally registered and possessed in accordance with federal law,

    is guilty of a gross misdemeanor punishable under chapter 9A.20 RCW.

    So Home Depot sells these knives near the cash register which have blades which “opens, or falls, or is ejected into position by the force of gravity, or by an outward, downward, or centrifugal thrust or movement;”

    Would this constitute a raid by FBI agents?

    1. dude, way to blow up Home Depot’s scene.

    2. The feds supposedly demoted enforcement against MM clinics to the lowest level IF said clinic operated within state law. This was, of course, a lie. The feds, however, are not enforcing state law when they raid the clinics they promised not to raid, they are enforcing federal law.

      This “policy” was intended to show that our teleprompting president was compassionate and cared about sick people, which, of course, he obviously doesn’t.

      Try to keep up. These sorts of promises will be flying all over the country soon.

  11. Re: “The Grasshopper Alternative Medicine” logo.

    Can we stop calling it “alternative medicine” now?

    If the remedy works, it’s medicine, if it doesn’t work then it’s an alternative to medicine.

    1. There’s alternative medicine, and then there are alternatives to medicine. The preposition is significant. Alternative medicine is still medicine.

    2. It’s like there are various alternative foods; they’re not alternatives to food. Come to think of it, as long as you have a choice between 2 medicines, they’re alternatives.

      1. So then there is no medicine, there is only alternative medicine.

        Yeah, no. If I take tylenol, ibuprofen, cannabis, or acupuncture, and all show statistically significant or observable effects, they’re all medicine. If one doesn’t, then it’s alternative medicine.

        Why, if cannabis shows measurable effects on chronic medical conditions do we call it “alternative medicine”, especially if it may be more effective than the remedies we call “traditional” or “western medicine”.

        If in 50 years, cannabis is widely accepted as a legitimate, mainstream therapy, will it still be called “alternative medicine”?

  12. The so-called conservatives are now into Marxian semantic rearrangements, to wit:

    Bill O’Reilly just said on television that drug dealing IS a violent crime, pretty much redefining the meaning of the word “violence” just to criticize a presidential candidate’s stance on the drug war.

    1. …are just the same.

      They’ll tell you that trespassing on their property is violence, and shoot you in just as cold of blood as Bilous O’ would a drug dealer.

      1. Libertarians semantics…|1.17.12 @ 9:46PM|#
        “…are just the same.”
        To ignoramuses too stupid to make distinctions.

        1. The distinction is right in front of your…what the fuck is that thing on your neck, anyway?

          The semantic escalation of trespassing into violence is to Libertards what the semantic escalation of drug-dealing into violence is to Bilous-O’.

          Put on your thinking cap, ya Sevhole.

  13. I am seeking the right man who can give me a real love, so I joined in the Seekcasual*com.(user name winklin)It’s the first and best club for man and woman finding their intimate encounters. Well, you do not have to be lonely ,for you can meet the Mr. or Miss. Right there.

  14. Obama is just doing what all politicians do. Kissing the ass of anti marijuana idiots. He knows he is wrong to do so but no president is going to ok marijuana use.

  15. Those DEA assholes don’t even care about dealers selling pot to kids. The reason they’re raiding the dispensaries is because they’re on a “RESPECK MAH AUTHORITAH!” kick. That, and there’s a lot more money to steal out of the till at a dispensary.

    -jcr

    1. Plus, we get all that weed.

    2. Long time, no see. Welcome back.

  16. Where in Colorado is weed not freely available anyway? I look and act like a narc and had zero trouble scoring in Denver on a trip last week. LEOs at home (Texas) are just protecting the cartels, but (if you are white) it’s alright to smoke.

  17. Anybody know if any mmj clinics have changed to other modes of operation, providing other products or services, if they weren’t allowed to provide marijuana? I’m just interested in any of these have landed on their feet, whether as a big “fuck you” to the feds (“You can take our marijuana away, but you can’t put us out of business!”) or just to make money.

  18. Obama’s self-interest lies in not getting out too far ahead of opinion on this. If he doesn’t enforce federal laws he’s “soft on crime” and it hurts re-election chances. This will ultimately force congress to deal with this issue, or not. This might be a national issue by 2016.

    1. Obama’s self-interest lies in not getting out too far ahead of opinion on this

      Yes, we know. “Leading from behind” and all that.

  19. So if a dispensary is 999 feet from a school, does that mean they have to sell to 8 year old kids or something? If not, what’s the problem?

  20. What a brilliant idea. Why didnt I think of that??

    http://www.Total-Security.tk

  21. I am really concerned that the Feds have been using Homeland Security to help prosecute medical growers by tracking their bank accounts in Montana. Aren’t they supposed to watch for terrorists?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.