U.S. Attorney Says Marijuana Dispensaries Should Take Warning Letters Seriously

The 23 marijuana dispensaries located near schools in Colorado that received warning letters last week telling them they must shut down should take the warning seriously, according to Colorado U.S. Attorney John Walsh.

He told the Associated Press the letters informed the dispensaries and their landlords they have until February 27 to shut down, move or face federal penalties. Owners of the dispensaries and the property on which they are located could lose their assets and property. He added that criminal prosecution is also possible.

He disputed the claim that the federal government has shown its tacit support of Colorado’s marijuana industry by not increasing enforcement. “We haven’t been sitting by. We’ve been taking marijuana enforcement action,” Walsh told the AP.

Last year, U.S. attorneys sent warning letters to several states about medical marijuana laws. The letters indicated that people involved in the growing, dispensing and regulating of medical marijuana have the potential to be prosecuted—even if they are following state laws. The letters were sent to officials in Colorado, Washington, California, Montana and Rhode Island.

Walsh says some surveys suggest medical marijuana has contributed to an increase in drug use among teenagers.

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    James E. Gierach

    February 5, 2012 at 9:10 PM

    Any public or legislative initiative that throws a stone at prohibition and the futile, failed, farce of a “drug war” that puts more drugs uncontrolled and unregulated everywhere, much to the glee of drug cartels, is an initiative meriting support. The maverick and thoughtless efforts of US Attorneys, like Walsh in Colorado, to derail voter-approved medical marijuana is sick. The pretext for the Walsh “warning letters” (dispensaries within 1,000 feet of a school) to dispensaries ignores the fact that the drug war has turned schools and parks into drug-infested turf, putting medical dispensaries in danger of being so close to schools, rather than vice versa. A Chicago Sun-Times article (“37% of teens say they tried sex…,” 8/26/11), concerning a Cook County teen survey, reported that “About 29 percent of all students were offered, sold, or given an illegal drug by someone on school property during the last year.” Leave the dispensaries, caregivers, patients, landlords and voters alone!

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