Feds Crack Down on Colorado Med Pot Dispensaries

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  Feds Crack Down on Colorado Med Pot Dispensaries

Posted by CN Staff on January 13, 2012 at 07:02:23 PT
By Keith Coffman 
Source: Reuters 

Colorado -- Federal prosecutors in Colorado launched a crackdown on Thursday against nearly two dozen medical marijuana dispensaries located within 1,000 feet of schools, giving the proprietors 45 days to cease operations or face civil and criminal penalties. U.S. Attorney John Walsh issued the ultimatum in letters to 23 dispensaries and landlords he said were in violation of federal and state law, a statement from the U.S. Justice Department said.
The move makes Colorado the latest battleground pitting federal prosecutors against storefront distributors of pot in states that have decriminalized marijuana for medical purposes."When the voters of Colorado passed the limited medical marijuana amendment in 2000, they could not have anticipated that their vote would be used to justify large marijuana stores located within blocks of our schools," Walsh said.He cited a 2011 memo from U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole that allows individual federal prosecutors to "exercise their discretion to handle marijuana trafficking matters."The Colorado move followed an announcement in October by federal prosecutors in California that they were mounting a crackdown against medical pot dispensaries they said were fronts for large-scale, for-profit drug trafficking.Last March, federal agents also raided greenhouses and dispensaries in 13 cities in Montana cited by authorities as operating illegally under the guise of that state's medical marijuana law.A month later, U.S. attorneys in Washington state issued a legal opinion threatening to prosecute not only dispensary owners and growers but state officials who would have enforced a proposed state licensing system for medical marijuana.Washington Governor Christine Gregoire cited that warning in her decision to veto a bill to establish a new regulatory system for state-sanctioned suppliers of medicinal cannabis.A total of 16 states and the District of Columbia have enacted some sort of legalized medical-marijuana statutes, according to the National Drug Policy Alliance. But cannabis remains classified as an illegal narcotic under federal law, a point Walsh underscored in his letter to Colorado dispensary operators."The dispensary is operating in violation of federal law, and the Department of Justice has the authority to enforce the federal law ... even when such activities may be permitted under state law," the letter said.Walsh did not identify any of the letter's recipients, except to say the businesses were located throughout the state.Denver lawyer Robert Corry, who represents clients charged with marijuana offenses, said in recent testimony before the Denver City Council that "there should be no arbitrary distance limits" for legal marijuana businesses."There is no documented case of any child ever purchasing or obtaining medical marijuana from a dispensary," he said.Nevertheless, Walsh said law enforcement will be on the lookout for other violators, and offenders could be subject to asset seizure and property forfeitures."Those who do not comply will be subject to potential criminal prosecution and civil enforcement actions," Walsh said. "Because the stores are operating within 1,000 feet of a school, enhanced penalties apply under federal law."Editing by Steve Gorman and Cynthia JohnstonSource: Reuters (Wire)Author: Keith CoffmanPublished: January 12, 2012Copyright: 2012 Thomson ReutersCannabisNews Medical Marijuana Archives 

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Comment #28 posted by Hope on January 18, 2012 at 21:00:17 PT
I think it's quite interesting, too. And I completely agree with your comment 27, FoM.
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Comment #27 posted by FoM on January 18, 2012 at 16:10:12 PT

Pot Shops
I think dispensaries have a purpose. I also think it would be great if people could grow their own and share it with others that might need some but can't afford any because of the high prices. If there would be a surplus of marijuana the price comes down and sick and lower income people benefit from it. 
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Comment #26 posted by dongenero on January 18, 2012 at 12:58:26 PT

pot shops
I agree Hope, the pot shops, dispensaries, are a very important thing in that they represent how it will happen as retail capitalism.
I'm not in a medical friendly state so I've not been that aware of what it's like. Having recently seen a publication from Colorado though, the marketing is really amazing :)Ads with coupons to cut out, special offers, first time customer benefits, all the things that happen with any other retail businesses and new business launches. Except it all relates to cannabis, different strains available, hash, keif, butter, oil, edibles. I'm aware of all of these products of course and understood they were being sold in dispensaries, but to see it all being commercially advertised and marketed really made me smile!It must drive dogmatic prohibitionists mad! Again I smile.
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Comment #25 posted by Hope on January 18, 2012 at 12:55:08 PT

Oh no.
Maurice Hinchey is going to retire, I just read.
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Comment #24 posted by Hope on January 18, 2012 at 11:58:46 PT

We have to go forward...
and I think we are. We're going to have some pure legalization on some ballots in November.The pot shop things are pretty important. It's a sorting and organizing situation. It's the program for how it's going to be done and it's getting closer and closer. The Feds have to give it up soon... and it's so hard for them because it's such a tradition for them, and it's hard to change. Lots' of people are still getting stuff done, and things are fixing to heat up what with moving beyond the medical realm. And it has to move beyond the medical realm. There has to be some realistic and reasonable rules about work and driving. Reasonable and realistic.There are police actually looking at the reality of the idiocy and danger of dynamic entry into people's homes and businesses.These petitions to get on the ballots here and there are really interesting to me. Although we have nothing like that in Texas. Waiting for wisdom in the legislature is like waiting for miracles. It's hard. The old die-hard prohibitionists are looking more and more everyday like the have Alzheimer's or are ridiculously behind the times and out of touch with what's really going on in this country today.
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Comment #23 posted by FoM on January 18, 2012 at 07:42:48 PT

I am so glad I was able to help. I think most people are getting bored with marijuana reform since we keep winding up dealing with pot shop problems. The Occupy movement is really important right now to many people I believe. If we ever can get unstuck from California's problems we will move forward again. 
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Comment #22 posted by Hope on January 18, 2012 at 07:09:50 PT

Sorry, guys. You may resume your discussion.
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Comment #21 posted by Hope on January 17, 2012 at 23:57:41 PT

*Blush*You helped me. I leaned on you hard during the cancer thing. Thank you.I'll always treasure those phone calls when I was in the hospital from you, BGreen, and Had Enough.For sure.You gave me courage.
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on January 17, 2012 at 19:42:06 PT

I couldn't have done it without you. I think I would have been stark raving mad by now if you weren't here! LOL!
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Comment #19 posted by Hope on January 17, 2012 at 19:28:38 PT

There is such an amazing difference
between now and fourteen years ago.People couldn't even talk about it fourteen years ago. Part of changing that was C-News.The Media Awareness Project and Cannabis News kept anyone that was interested up to date on what was happening... or not happening... as far as reform... all over the world. And we talked and we learned and we talked and other people learned and talked. And a huge, long drawn out battle of wills and words, compassion and cruelty, ignorance and understanding, and lies and truths happened, and truth is winning. Finally. I'm so thankful.And you helped, woman. You helped a lot.

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Comment #18 posted by FoM on January 17, 2012 at 19:17:38 PT

Thank you. What I wanted for CNews happened. I am glad we all met along this fascinating journey of reform. We have watched it evolve and become a big issue from one that was just a dream.
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Comment #17 posted by Hope on January 17, 2012 at 19:09:45 PT

Thank you, FoM.
You've really worked at creating and maintaining this site. You've helped a lot of people.Thank you.
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on January 17, 2012 at 19:04:53 PT

Thank you. I only noticed it today. We have accomplished a lot as a community over all these years. 
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Comment #15 posted by Hope on January 17, 2012 at 19:00:17 PT

Dang it! Dang it! Dang it!
I've been watching it for two or three months now. Maybe three or four. I was going to watch it turn over.This page accessed 10002345 times since Dec 1998.It's just been like two nights ago since I checked it. It was 99997000, or so just a couple of nights ago!Oh well. There you go. Over ten million hits in just a few weeks over fourteen years.Seems like some sort of milestone.
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Comment #14 posted by dongenero on January 17, 2012 at 11:49:56 PT know it's importanat when......
...Wall Street lobbyists and owned politicians' staffers are hatching multi-million dollar plots to squash it.
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Comment #13 posted by Oleg the Tumor on January 17, 2012 at 11:17:26 PT:

         The GCW #11
Great video! Thank You!
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Comment #12 posted by Oleg the Tumor on January 17, 2012 at 11:10:14 PT:

Thank you for your posts.
That many of us feel called to comment on the OWS movement at this time I find particularly singular. There is a multifaceted convergence occurring that refuses to be ignored, and indeed to be correct, this has been occurring for thousands of years (even before Sumaria!) only now it might be better described as "a calibration of focus" as humans everywhere zero in on a scalable survival strategy to remain upright inside of a crooked paradigm that does nothing but shift.The OWS movement doesn't fit the usual profile of protest movements. This one is directed at Corporate America to let them and the world know that a generation of prospective employees would rather freeze their butts off in the cold then have a career that requires them to conform to a "corporate culture", discounting the value of time spent with their own families, promoting an agenda that may be detrimental to the overall good of society while forking over huge amounts of money to the Social Security Administration that they will never see, all this after accumulating a huge educational debt as the price of admission in the first place! The OWS movement is also serving to point out other, more subtle changes in the social fabric. Young couples are paying greater attention to the size of their projected postgraduate debts when sizing up potential love interests. 
If you are headed for medical or veterinary studies, your family might pressure you towards someone "more suitable" then the community college graduate who works in retail that you've been seeing. The 1%ers have to decide who they are at an earlier and earlier age.Personally, I think hasseling Love is a bad idea.
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Comment #11 posted by The GCW on January 15, 2012 at 11:04:45 PT

Fun vid.Clark Retirement Community LipDub *OFFICIAL*
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Comment #10 posted by ekim on January 15, 2012 at 10:53:41 PT

Link tv now on earth focus
about fracking
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Comment #9 posted by The GCW on January 14, 2012 at 20:37:17 PT

A title I'm looking forward to seeing:
Citizens Crack Down on Feds Legalize Cannabis.NOVEMBER
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on January 14, 2012 at 18:19:56 PT

Thank you. I think like you in so many ways. I feel I have done my best to keep priorities in a proper order particularly as I got older. I feel sorry for people who trusted the system and have fallen into devastating times. I think one of the best decisions we ever made was to buy a little land and build in the country and stay in the country. We have avoided so many problems by learning to lean on ourselves and not trust much of anything within the system that we are told should be important if that makes sense.
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Comment #7 posted by museman on January 14, 2012 at 10:57:56 PT

OT of interest 
I wrote this originally, recently, as a response to the 'Occupy' movement that requested feedback from artists and musicians. Their inundation with a gazillion voices vying for attention and time ultimately stopped me at the gate. However, as I have often considered may of the things contained within it here on Cnews, I thought to give you all a chance to peruse it before it becomes an archive gathering digital dust somewhere in the back of my computer...In 1969, I attended my first protest –it was against the war in VietNam. For me, at the time, it was all about this girl that I wanted to hang out with. I was barely aware of the world outside of my 17 year old hormones. I then went on the next summer to volunteer for the Navy, because my lottery number was 3. For those who weren’t around in those days, they drafted us by drawing lots out of jars and barrels, with our names on them. The number 3 was a sure way of getting drafted into the army.After seeing part of that war up close and personal, I was blessed with good luck and providence, and was able to get honorably discharged. The protests were still going on, and that’s when I started writing songs to express the deep dis-satisfaction I had with our government, and the systems that were/are supported by it.
I watched the ‘anti war’ movement fracture, split into many parts; ‘woman’s lib’ ‘civil rights’ ‘environmentalism’ ‘gay lib’ ‘hippies, yippies, and yuppies’ etc. –basic separation and factioning that found the impetus of my generation diffused into many small and mostly powerless groups all believing their ‘way’ to be the ‘only’ or ‘best’ way. Reminded me of the many splinter Christian groups who all claimed to worship the same God, but were willing to go to war over the way they chose to worship.As a musician/songwriter, inspired initially by the sparks that ignited movement in my own generation -the boomers- I became excruciatingly aware of the disparity between the ‘Rock Star’ and the rest of the artistic community struggling to make ends meet.
As nearly all of the icons and role models of my generation began to be bought and sold by the music industry, their power, once at street level, like they were among us, was now separate from the people, housed in Ivory towers constructed by big money interests. Their words were now just words, and people lost their inspiration. Many of those of my generation just gave up and settled down for the duration of their mediocre lives in service to the establishment, on one level or another.For any songwriter who did not want to compromise with the ‘mainstream acceptability’ and political correctness of the wealth-driven music industry, the hope for even being able to make a decent living with their art was all but gone by 1975. For a decade or so I got my ’15 minutes of fame’ while participating with the remnants of my generation who believed enough in ‘Peace, Love, and Understanding’ to continue on –almost hidden from the world- in the form of the Rainbow Gatherings. But even that began to be corrupted by the ‘Rainbow 1%’ whose lifestyles included BMWs, Limousines, Leer Jets, and seemingly unending bank accounts. As the phenomenon of ‘background music’ starting with the pocket radios of the early ‘60s, and morphing into the current ‘I-pod’ craze, filled the air everywhere, like the soundtrack to one long, boring conversation, the ability of the grass roots musician to enter into lucrative employment, to even get heard above the controlled atmosphere of the music industry standards, began to diminish even more.Like anything else in this capitalistic society, without the presence of money, no money can be ‘made.’ It never mattered how ‘good’ or talented one was, it only mattered who they knew that had access to money. Which is why the ‘drug’ trade found so many wanna-be rock stars, as a way to have the resource to be able to play the music. Most of the people had been convinced by the 1% who rule the music industry, like the media, like the politics, and the market, to believe that the quality of anything was determined by these ‘heads of the economic empire;’ so if it wasn’t ‘on the radio’ then it obviously was not worth listening to.That is quite a discouraging turn of affairs for one who planned on their own talent to get them out of poverty. Very few would turn off their radios or cassette players to listen to live, fresh stuff.Once the music inspired an entire generation to move, and rise up against the imbalance and inequity that exists, and is categorized by the ‘1%’ concept, but the needs of life outweighed the desire for justice. It is hard to make a stand when you are alone, hungry, wet, cold, and miserable, and your children cry because they cannot understand why they have to suffer, when those over on the hill seem to have so much more than they would ever need.Thus, if you are reading this, you most likely have never heard of me, or any of my music –every song relates to this situation, gong back as far as the ‘70’s.(except of course here on Cnews)So, in order to raise my family, and still be a songwriter/musician, I had to juggle my priorities on a daily basis.Now that we collectively stand on the threshold of a New Paradigm of consciousness and awareness –one that some of us saw far off in the distance so many decades ago, let us not make the same mistakes that were made by the boomer generation. Let us recognize the essence and spirit of what it is that really moves us, what it is that is really important, and what isn’t.When the occupiers play their drums, they need to know that that beat, that vibration, is the heartbeat of humanity and the planet, that the entire planet is alive, and living energy courses through its rivers, wind, mountains, valleys, plains, and seas. Honor and recognition to the parts that the original tribal peoples here in America got culturally right needs to come to the fore. When the young, inspired musicians sing their songs, and compose them freestyle on the street to uplift the ones who stand in solidarity against the obvious errors in our system, shut down your I-pod and listen. They may be rough and crude, not sophisticated studio renditions of state-of-the-art recordings, but they have SPIRIT! And they are REAL!
The programming of humanity is deeply embedded, and is going to take some time to be healed and replaced with some right knowledge and ethical understandings.Reality happens RIGHT NOW, WHERE YOU ARE. There is no tomorrow until you get there, and then it is still TODAY.
The contracts, licenses, permits, and other compromises with the powers that be are all going to prove to be stumbling blocks in the way of true self-determined, self-ruled, conscious people. These things of the established Order, are all based on the lack of faith, belief, and understanding –which translates clearly as Fear-Based systems.
Fear-based systems do not grow, they perpetuate. Fear-based systems cannot allow liberty, or free thinking, so they oppress. Fear-based systems breed more fear, have led to the darkest times in human history. We are on the verge of a collective ability to replace those antiquated, fear- based systems, with the New Paradigm of consciousness; one that recognizes the multiplicity, multidimensional, magical-as well as technological aspects of the potentials that await us in Creation and the Greater Universe.
We are on the verge of liberating ourselves from the bondage of fear –that negative force that is used (has been used for a long, long time) by the 1% and their puppet slaves to perpetuate, and justify their power and control. We can collectively sense the apex that we stand on right now in history. We must not compromise away this opportunity.
Localize your resources. Create self –sustaining communities, using the tech and collective wisdom of thousands of years. Taking back our ‘God Given’ providence –the very same you can now purchase in support of the 1%, who stole it originally, so they could sell it to us for the price of a lifetime of labor- is not going to happen through expecting the politic –all influenced, compromised, and in most cases, bought and sold to the 1%- to ‘legislate’ themselves out of the picture in favor of a truly “people based” form of government.There is abundant resource in this country. But it is not in the city. All consumable resource that is traditionally available in the metropolitan environment is dependent on supply systems that are currently controlled by the 1%. Most of that has now been linked to outsourced corporate systems that rely on third world type cheap labor, chemical herbicides and fertilizers that toxify our world and poison us.Though the understanding and ability to employ less eco-destructive sources of electrical power than coal and nuclear facilities, or damming up great rivers and disrupting the flow of nature, have been around since –if anyone really cares to study their history- Tessla, the 1% who control technology, food, water, housing, power, and all the arts, including, and most restrictively music, the political body chooses to ignore them (in some cases outlaw them) and force us literally to destroy ourselves, through allowing us no options but to buy their goods and services just to survive.
Once there were family farms all over the Midwest, but they are all gone now.The list of loss we have suffered in liberty and basic human rights, as well as health, welfare, and the “Pursuit of Happiness” is a long, uncomfortable evidence of both the criminality of the 1%, and the ignoble agreeable ignorance of the masses.But the opportunity is here, once again, One that I as an old, aging folk singer from a lost generation can see with a lot of hope in my gaze.I have one more thing I’d like to present before I stop.Its about ‘Credit.’ Not so much about the economic sleight of hand game the 1% have been playing, but another form and definition;“Credential.”This is going to be hard for many to embrace. Many may reject it out of hand because they believe it to be something it is not.If, as the Declaration of Independence claims; “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” Then the ‘equality’ spoken of in that document is long overdue to be established in our culture, and our economic/political systems.If in fact we are “Created Equal” when do we become “more than equal” or “less than equal” than those whom we are supposedly ‘created equal’ with? By what standards and measurements do we differentiate those deviations from the original intent of equality?An idea that can be grasped and claimed by another mind and consciousness cannot be ‘possessed’ by either its ‘author’ or its contemplating receptor. Attempts to possess, and ‘milk’ an idea for gain and profit have only defeated, and defrauded the real potential of the idea. The ‘value’ that is placed on art, for instance, where a form or rendition is valued, notably by the wealthy, above and beyond any other forms and expressions, is an arbitrary value, conjured up for the edification of the supreme players of the economics game, and for even darker, sinister reasons best left to the seeker of truth to find for themselves.We used to have farmers, craftsmen –who worked in many labors of creation and maintenance, and many of the cultural ‘professions’ that serve an enlightened society well, like writers, artists, and musicians, and those journalists who report events based on unbiased observation instead of manipulated statistical analysis to distract and mislead. 
But though the idea of a ‘profession’ began with a simple storefront sign that stated what skills and talents a man or woman ‘professed’ or offered for service or trade, it has become an elite club of mammon worshippers whose ‘bottom’ line is profit.Current ‘credentials’ of ‘professionalism’ are over-valued, over-rated, and often cannot actually perform their jobs without special compensation.We have mostly heard the old adage; “Give credit where credit is due.” That would be a logical expectation –in a different world! But where the ‘credit’ for accomplishing anything worthwhile in life is misaligned with the misaligned values of a culture enthralled by the fake glitter of wealth, only those who have the control over that wealth and value are enabled to get and receive the credit. Such is the nature of the phenomenon we’ve come to know as ‘celebrity.’ Unfortunately it has also seriously contaminated the idea and veracity of the “experts” -who are all suspect in their motives at this point.If, following the earlier stated premise of ‘equality’ we believe in ‘equal opportunity’ –not as a political by word or election platform, but the actual, then “giving credit where credit is due” involves every single living creature on the planet, not just the elite few. Thus though what you, the reader and seeker have done, and will do in your life, may not be witnessed and featured in some media event, it is as deserving as I, or any other creature making positive life decisions on a daily basis. And that my brothers and sisters, is the only ‘credit’ that really matters.The actions, awareness, knowledge and experience that has gone before you is immense. Dreamers of this day have lived and died in the darkness of slavery and oppression with nothing but the hope that someday it would be. Do they, the unnamed multitudes of the past, on whose shoulders we almost literally stand, not deserve as much, or more credit than the movie star who gets elected simply because of their celebrity? 
The way that we value life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, is going to have to change significantly long before we can expect the powers in the world to agree to share.So, engage the conversation, play the New Song, but do not clutch it too tightly, allow it to go forth and multiply without the limiting conditions that have already been placed on life by the machinations of the 1%. The consciousness has arrived, and it, like the rest of planet earth, belongs to no one, but all life shares it. “There is no evicting an idea whose time has come!” There you have it.LEGALIZE FREEDOM

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Comment #6 posted by Oleg the Tumor on January 13, 2012 at 11:59:41 PT:

                  FoM #2
Some cities feel they have to resort to something like this, for their own reasons. 
Every locality is different, with differing problems. So, will they "keep the riffraff out" by prohibiting alcohol, or are they saving souls? "OOOOH, it makes me wonder . . ."NYC may end up with a political atmosphere that would, over time, create legislation to support private clubs and the like, remembering above all to protect the tourist dollar.
But the black market would be all over it, perhaps ruining the Long Term View for the 1%ers in charge.A Big Dry Apple? Its too hard to picture.I don't know if Fiorello would go for it, but NYC is no longer a lot of manual laborers from the "old country" who dig ditches all day, and drink beer all night.The DUI is their big problem, now. 
Maybe they should make cars illegal in NYC.Just another reason to legalize . . .  
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Comment #5 posted by Oleg the Tumor on January 13, 2012 at 11:20:20 PT:

So Take Another Memo, again.
The GCW: If the Feds were a bit more forthcoming, this may, as you point out, be a step in the right direction, but right now that would still tick off a sizeable chunk of the voting population in an election year. Besides, how many of us really trust what the government says?Doctors did not call for the prohibition of cannabis in the first place, yet Government concerns for your health "require" its prohibition.
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Comment #4 posted by afterburner on January 13, 2012 at 09:45:05 PT

Denver lawyer Robert Corry, who represents clients charged with marijuana offenses, said in recent testimony before the Denver City Council that "there should be no arbitrary distance limits" for legal marijuana businesses."There is no documented case of any child ever purchasing or obtaining medical marijuana from a dispensary," he said.Nevertheless, Walsh said law enforcement will be on the lookout for other violators, and offenders could be subject to asset seizure and property forfeitures."Those who do not comply will be subject to potential criminal prosecution and civil enforcement actions," Walsh said. "Because the stores are operating within 1,000 feet of a school, enhanced penalties apply under federal law."
}These onerous asset seizure and property forfeiture laws are definitely being abused by the recalcitrant prohibitionists. Federal legislation should be introduced to repeal or at least moderate these laws to prevent them from being used vindictively against state medical cannabis laws. Like the crack / powder disparity which was addressed in recent legislation, this federal sledgehammer approach to cannabis enforcement needs to be rectified.Plus, stop calling cannabis a "narcotic": the Controlled Substances Act lies when it uses medically unscientific definitions!
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Comment #3 posted by The GCW on January 13, 2012 at 09:42:33 PT

I interpret a different message.
I don't know if 1,000 feet is fair or not... But out of 700 or 800 dispensaries, the feds are confronting only 23.To Me the message is, if states regulate cannabis within reason, the feds will stay out of it and that would seem to encourage other states to move forward.That's not very discouraging.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on January 13, 2012 at 09:13:10 PT

Interesting you mentioned NY. On David Letterman last night Letterman said that Mayor Bloomberg is trying to outlaw alcohol in NYC. 
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Comment #1 posted by Oleg the Tumor on January 13, 2012 at 08:53:42 PT:

Cue the Fat Lady
This message from The Administration is meant to discourage any State considering a change in their marijuana laws, as New York State (and others) did to combat the prohibition of alcohol in the 30s.The only problem is they are kind of late. This is just what the courts need – the construction of another estoppel case down the road.The conspiracy of hate is about to end, this opera is just about over.
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