Feds Raid Boulder County Marijuana Grows
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Feds Raid Boulder County Marijuana Grows
Posted by CN Staff on November 21, 2013 at 14:34:45 PT
By Erica Meltzer and Mitchell Byars
Source: Daily Camera
Colorado -- Federal authorities raided more than a dozen marijuana facilities in the Denver metro area, including grow operations north of Boulder, on Thursday morning as part of an ongoing criminal investigation.Department of Justice spokesman Jeff Dorschner kept details about the investigation close to the chest, but said he could state "unequivocally" that the actions were consistent with federal guidelines issued earlier this year that said marijuana businesses operating in compliance with their states' laws and not tied to other criminal activity would not be targeted for enforcement.
Dorschner said Thursday that authorities believe the targeted businesses may have violated one or more of the federal prosecution priorities.Dorschner also confirmed that the multiple search-warrant executions and seizures were part of a single criminal investigation.Dorschner said no one was arrested Thursday, and he could not say when federal authorities would release more information about the case.Dorschner declined to identify the addresses of the targeted businesses in Boulder or Denver.Officials from the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Boulder County Sheriff's Office were seen executing warrants at the former Beech Aircraft facility at 6859 North Foothills Highway, where a large pile of snow-covered marijuana plants was visible outside for much of the morning Thursday.Boulder County Assessor's Office records show three marijuana-related businesses at that address: Swiss Medical Industries, Boulder Sweet Grass and Greenhill Investments. It was not clear whether all three businesses were the target of search warrants or just one or two.County records indicate all three hold licenses for marijuana grow operations; Greenhill also holds a license for manufacture of infused products.By 1 p.m., the marijuana was loaded into a large truck and removed from the area.At the VIP Cannabis dispensary in Denver on Thursday, broken glass from a shattered front window littered the parking lot while masked agents hauled boxes of evidence into a U-Haul truck. Police turned customers away."The Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations, the Denver Police Department and state and local law enforcement are today executing lawfully obtained search warrants and seizure warrants," Dorschner said."Although we cannot at this time discuss the substance of this pending investigation, the operation under way today comports with the Department's recent guidance regarding marijuana enforcement matters," Dorschner said in an e-mailed statement.The Department of Justice said in August that it wouldn't stand in the way of votes in Colorado and Washington to legalize recreational pot, but warned there needed to be effective controls to keep marijuana away from children, the black market and federal property.Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project said he doesn't know what inspired the raids."The Justice Department said it would respect states' rights to regulate marijuana, and that it would not go after businesses as long as they are complying with state laws," he said in a statement. "We hope they are sticking to their word and not interfering with any state-regulated, law-abiding businesses. ... If a business is suspected of violating state laws, they will likely face increased scrutiny, and if they are found to be in violation, they will likely face consequences. That is how our society treats alcohol, and that is how we expect to see marijuana treated."On Aug. 29, the Justice Department issued a memo to federal prosecutors revealing the federal government wouldn't stand in the way of marijuana legalization. The memo warned the federal government would still "aggressively enforce" eight areas of concern surrounding the drug:• Preventing distribution to minors;• Preventing revenue from marijuana sales from going to criminal enterprises, gangs, and cartels;• Preventing diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal to other states;• Preventing state-authorized marijuana activity from being used as a cover or pretext for the trafficking of other illegal drugs or other illegal activity;• Preventing violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana• Preventing drugged driving and the exacerbation of other adverse public health consequences associated with marijuana use;• Preventing the growing of marijuana on public lands and the attendant public safety and environmental dangers posed by marijuana production on public lands;• Preventing marijuana possession on federal property."While the investigation is ongoing, there are strong indications that more than one of the eight federal prosecution priorities identified in the Department of Justice's August guidance memo are potentially implicated," Dorschner said.Shawn Coleman, a Boulder-based consultant to the industry, said that until more information becomes available, people in the marijuana industry should not assume the Justice Department is going back on its word. He noted that federal agents are only raiding certain businesses, not all or most of the states' hundreds of marijuana businesses."There isn't a lot of information out yet in the public about why these businesses were targeted," he said. "If it turns out to be the case that these businesses were operating outside those eight bright lines established in the (Justice Department) memo, then this is good news. If this action is consistent with that, then a) people who are problems are being caught, and b) people who are operating legitimate businesses can continue to operate legitimate businesses."Today's actions are occurring roughly seven weeks before marijuana begins being sold legally to adults in retail stores on Jan. 1.The Boulder City Council decided earlier this month that the city will accept applications from existing, compliant medical marijuana businesses to convert to recreational sales on Jan. 2 and that conversion could be completed in as little as half an hour. However, whether businesses will be able to open to the general public depends on whether they can also get a state license by Jan. 2.Businesses that want to "co-locate" medical and recreational businesses in the same site will need to go through a more complicated process. New recreational marijuana businesses can apply for city licenses in June.Colorado is the first state in the country to allow legal retail sales after voters in 2012 approved Amendment 64. Washington state also approved legal sales, but the retail operations won't begin until the spring.The Denver Post and the Associated Press contributed to this report.Source: Daily Camera (Boulder, CO)Author: Erica Meltzer and Mitchell Byars, Camera Staff WritersPublished: November 21, 2013Copyright: 2013 The Daily CameraWebsite: openforum dailycamera.comURL: -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #1 posted by schmeff on November 22, 2013 at 14:44:25 PT
"Masked Agents"
Then as now, the criminals are the ones behind the mask. They could tell you why they broke your windows and stole your stuff, but that would interfere with treating you like contemptuous scum.Never think for a moment that the police owe you an explanation. After all, they don't work for YOU.
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