Legislators From States With Legalized Marijuana Push Back on Federal Crackdown
Legislators from states that have legalized marijuana are pushing back against a federal crackdown on the drug, led by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
The owners of 25 medical marijuana dispensaries located within 1,000 feet of a school have received letters from Colorado U.S. Attorney John Walsh telling them that they must close, or potentially face criminal prosecution.
The dispensaries have 45 days to comply with the order, Reuters reports. In January, Walsh sent a similar letter to 23 dispensaries. All of those storefronts stopped selling marijuana.
Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett wrote Walsh a letter earlier this month asking the federal government to stop targeting medical marijuana dispensaries that follow state and local law. Walsh responded in a letter that noted the Justice Department has authorized federal prosecutors to use their discretion in dealing with marijuana trafficking, according to Reuters.
The state will vote on a ballot initiative in November that potentially could legalize recreational marijuana use, the article notes. Medical marijuana is legal in 16 states and the District of Columbia, but the drug remains illegal under federal law.
Last fall, United States attorneys in California told dozens of marijuana dispensaries they must close or face criminal and civil action. Federal agents and police raided dispensaries in Washington state last November.
Colorado has 80,558 state residents with medical marijuana cards as of November 2011, according to the state Department of Public Health. There is much debate within Colorado about medical marijuana—85 communities in the state have banned or stopped openings of dispensaries.
The Colorado measure would allow adults over 21 to be able to possess small amounts of marijuana without a doctor’s recommendation.