Archive for the ‘Medical Marijuana’ Category

According to a local article, Federal authorities are planning to crack down on the medical marijuana business in Colorado on a large scale for the first time. As I wrote several months ago, the Attorney General of Colorado was concerned about the medical marijuana dispensaries in Colorado because selling marijuana is still a Federal crime.

Now it seems that warning letters will be going out to dispensaries and grow facilities near schools. The letters are giving 45 days to shut down or move operations. If they don’t shut down the U.S. Attorney in Colorado will shut them down.

The dispensaries that are set to be targeted are the ones that are located within 1,000 feet of schools. That measurement is being used because that distance already appears in federal law as a factor in drug crime sentencing.

The move comes after the Justice Department sent out a memo clarifying that marijuana has been and remains illegal under federal law despite what has taken place with state regulations. Colorado is one of 16 states where medical marijuana laws have been approved.

Many of the state’s dispensaries that are closer than 1,000 feet to a school have already been approved to be there under local laws. These dispensaries were grandfathered in. But now it is unclear if they are allowed to operate under the Federal crackdown.

When Coloradoans approved medical marijuana I’m sure no one anticipated what the Federal government would do. Now it seems that the Feds are getting serious about dispensaries and grow facilities especially if located near a school. As far as I know, there is a law prohibiting liquor stores near schools so why not marijuana dispensaries?

Medical Marijuana dealers are being told to shut down in 45 days or face criminal charges. Federal prosecutors are cracking down on some of the pot dispensaries in California, even though they are operating legally under the state’s 15-year-old medical marijuana law.

As we have said in the past, medical marijuana state laws are having problems with the Federal law that prohibits marijuana sales. At least 16 pot shops or their landlords received letters stating that they are violating federal drug laws. At least twelve San Diego dispensaries have received these letters. As we know federal law “takes precedence over state law and applies regardless of the particular uses for which a dispensary is selling and distributing marijuana.”

Now this is another conundrum that states are facing. The Obama administration decided to toughen its stand on medical marijuana. For two years before that, federal officials had indicated they would not move aggressively against dispensaries in compliance with laws in the 16 states where pot is legal for people with doctors’ recommendations.

“This really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. The administration is simply making good on multiple threats issued since  President Obama took office,” said Kevin Sabet, a former adviser to the president’s drug czar and a fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Substance Abuse Solutions. “The challenge is to balance the scarcity of law enforcement resources and the sanctity of this country’s medication approval process. It seems like the administration is simply making good on multiple statements made previously to appropriately strike that balance.”

Greg Anton, a lawyer who represents dispensary Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana, said its landlord received an “extremely threatening” letter Wednesday invoking a federal law that imposes additional penalties for selling drugs within 1,000 feet of schools, parks and playgrounds.

The landlord was ordered to evict the 14-year-old pot club or risk imprisonment, plus forfeiture of the property and all the rent he has collected while the dispensary has been in business, Anton said.

Marin Alliance’s founder “has been paying state and federal taxes for 14 years, and they have cashed all the checks,” he said. “All I hear from Obama is whining about his budget, but he has money to do this which will actually reduce revenues.”

Is now the time to crack down on these dispensaries when the country needs revenue? What is this administration thinking?

With no pun intended, only the truth, it seems that the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is warning gun
that it is illegal for medical marijuana patients to buy firearms.

A letter was sent September 21st to all gun dealers saying that marijuana use is still barred by federal law even if it was approved by states. Therefore, people who want to buy firearms who declare their use on their applications for buy firearms will be denied.

Of course, advocates say that this is another attack on state medical marijuana programs. In fact, the Justice Department warned
dispensaries that they could face federal prosecution for selling medical marijuana.

Once again we have the federal government in direct conflict with state government. The federal government won’t help secure the borders but will sue states who do secure borders. Is this federal government dysfunctional or what? Where are the lawmakers on this subject? Either approve medical marijuana under the federal government or get rid of the state laws all together.

As you may know, there are 16 states and the District of Columbia that have legalized medical marijuana. Colorado is one of them. As I mentioned before in one of my previous articles, that state medical regulators may face federal sanctions, now there is another dilemma facing medical marijuana dispensaries.

Banks in states where marijuana is legal for medical purposes won’t do business with dispensary owners for fear that regulators will target them in federal investigations. Federal regulators maintain banks which do business with dispensaries are supporting activities that, even if legal in the state, are illegal at the federal level.

In a memo the Department of Justice issued to U.S. Attorneys last June, the federal government made its stance on federal marijuana law clear: “The Department is committed to the enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act in all States,” the memo stated.  “Congress has determined that marijuana is a dangerous drug and that the illegal distribution and sale of marijuana is a serious crime that provides a significant source of revenue to large scale criminal enterprises, gangs, and cartels.”

This wording was intended to clarify an earlier memo from October of 2009, which had given the appearance of leniency in enforcement of federal laws prohibiting marijuana. That memo instructed U.S. attorneys that regulators “…should not focus federal resources in your States on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana.”

This recent intensification from the Justice Department in its intent to prosecute violations of the Controlled Substances Act is scaring banks away from opening and maintaining accounts for medical marijuana dispensaries.

As a result, medical marijuana dispensary can open a business but they can’t do any type of banking in their community. But dont’ worry Congressman Jared Polis (D-Co.) has introduced legislation into the U.S. House of Representatives that would shift regulatory responsibility for medical marijuana businesses away from the federal government to the state governments, and would eliminate the need for financial institutions to report medical marijuana businesses’ activities to the federal government. Maybe he should also introduce legislation about states having the right to stopping illegal immigration. Wouldn’t that be a novel idea?

Polis cites medical marijuana dispensaries as a “fast-growing” industry With the $7.34 million the state of Colorado has already received in licensing fees from medical marijuana dispensary applications, Polis argues that roadblocks to the success of the industry need be removed so these businesses can get back to “providing jobs and tax revenues right when our economy needs it.”

So now it’s all about jobs and tax revenues. The heck with the drug being illegal, all politicians want is more money for them to spend.
Will the federal government one day end the prohibition of this illegal drug?

Only time will tell.

According to CBS News, a new government survey says more Americans – 3 million more – are smoking marijuana. This means that nearly 7% of Americans aged 12 or older (do you believe that 12 year-olds are smoking dope?) were illicit pot smokers in 2010.  However other illegal drugs have fallen.

Meth use has plunged by about half and cocaine use that includes crack is down in the last few years. The annual survey by the
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also found declines from 2009 in tobacco use and binge drinking among teens.

According to the survey it said that 23 million Americans needed treatment for a substance abuse problem in 2010 but only fewer than 3 million received it.

With the increase in marijuana use it isn’t surprising that this week, the Border Patrol working the Arizona desert got a firsthand glimpse into how much marijuana comes into the country. Agents seized a total of 3,200 pounds of marijuana worth more than $1.6 million. Government agents tracking suspected illegal immigrants Sunday found six bundles weighing less than 279 pounds and valued at $139,000.

In another incident recently, agents responded to a detection sensor and found five bundles of abandoned marijuana weighing more
than 218 pounds. The bundles were estimated to be worth approximately $109,000. Agents also recovered bundles of marijuana during routine searches last week. One search produced 75 bundles of marijuana weighing 1,840 pounds and valued at $920,000. Another search recovered 53 packages pot worth $156,000. Federal agents also recovered 282 pounds of pot with a value of $140,500.

Colorado ranks number 3 of the states that use the most marijuana. More than 15 percent of Colorado residents are truly “Rocky Mountain High.”  To see where your state ranks click here.

Joseph Lightfoot decided to open a medical-marijuana growing operation – almost 60 plants- in his house in his basement. When police busted him for illegal marijuana growing, Judge Andre Rudolph complained that the prosecutors “overcharge” Lightfoot and gave him a lighter sentence.

You see, Lightfoot has three kids living in the house and prosecutors charged him felony child abuse under a statue designed to keep  parents from operating highly explosive home meth labs. When Lightfoot plead guilty to two misdemeanor child abuse counts the prosecutors dropped the felony child abuse.

Judge Rudolph then sentenced him to a year’s probation and 60 days of in-home detention and ordered him to take a responsible-parenting class. He said that the charges was excessive and told Lightfoot that he has to make better decisions. He further said that this is not about the legalities of medical marijuana but about the kids. Felony child-abuse charges against pot growers are rare. Lightfoot’s attorney argued that raising the plants doesn’t constitute the manufacture of a controlled substance, as the meth-tailored
statute requires.

But when police raided his house they found that there wasn’t a lock on the basement door. There were small amounts of cut marijuana elsewhere in the home. The growing operation with its chemicals ventilation problems and allure to would-be robbers brought up “numerous concerns regarding the children,” according to arrest affidavits.

So there you have it, you can grow medical marijuana in your home if you are licensed but make sure it won’t affect your kids. How can anyone do that? Whether it is meth or marijuana the chances of robbery and crime exists.

But this gets even better. According to the article, a University of Denver law professor and former New York prosecutor Kris Miccio said the concerns raised by the pot-growing operation also could be raised in homes where there’s a liquor cabinet, cleaning supplies under the sink or valuables that could entice criminals to break in. “If a police officer brought that into my office, I would have thrown him out and called his supervisor,” Miccio said. “It’s crazy. It opens the door to anything.”

Leave it to a liberal mind who thinks that marijuana growing can be compared to liquor, cleaning supplies or valuables in the house.

It started in Oakland, California with a medical marijuana superstore and now a superstore is opening in Phoenix, Arizona. However, this 21,000 square foot store won’t be selling marijuana but products including soil, grow lights and irrigation trays specially designed for effective marijuana growing. The store also offers services such as a doctor on site to furnish eligible patients the initial medical approval they need to apply to the state health department for cards authorizing them to legally grow and use marijuana as  treatment for a variety of qualifying ailments ( like a headache, acne, back pain, sore toe, etc.)

This store is a chain store that started in California and the company’s own press materials describe the “weGrow” franchise as the “Wal-Mart of Weed.” Other various media reports have referred to it as “Home DePot.”

The store’s opening came on the same day that Arizona was to have begun accepting applications from individuals seeking one of 125 permits the state plans to grant for the operation of medical marijuana dispensaries. But that process was put on hold last week. On Friday, the state went to federal court seeking to clarify whether its citizens were at risk of federal prosecution for participating in activities sanctioned under Arizona’s medical marijuana act, passed by voters in November.

Arizona is the 16th state in the nation, plus the District of Columbia, to decriminalize marijuana for medical purposes. But Dennis Burke, the U.S. attorney for Arizona, warned in a letter to state health officials last month that the cultivation, sale and distribution of cannabis, classified by the U.S. government as an illegal narcotic, remains a federal crime.

This hasn’t stopped state officials who have been accepting applications from patients and caregivers looking to grow and use marijuana for medical purposes. Figures show that 3,696 people have obtained cards allowing them to possess and grow marijuana for a range of medical issues with chronic pain being the main complete among them. Males account for more than 75 percent  of those approved.

“weGrow” is an  Oakland-based company that has big expansion plans for Arizona and nationwide as it looks to tap into what some have estimated to be a market worth billions of dollars. He said the next franchise store will open in the District of Columbia in July,  with additional outlets slated for Denver, Detroit and possibly Los Angeles by the end of August.

So there is no need for a road-trip to Phoenix, just wait a few months for this store opening soon in your neighborhood.

The Vail, Colorado UPS store has become a hot spot for marijuana shipments according to the SummitDaily. The owner of the store has been cooperating with local law enforcement to stop this type of practice. Unfortunately, police so far haven’t been able  to trace the marijuana back to medical marijuana dispensaries but they think that there is a connection.

Police theorize that someone is buying marijuana in Colorado legally and trying to ship it somewhere else where it isn’t legal. The Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team, a Vail regional drug task force, has had some cases where the legal marijuana was traced back to a medical marijuana store.

The article tells the story of how the Vail UPS Store has been helpful in identifying suspicious behavior. The store has the right to  open suspicious packages for inspection.

“Most of the people that come in, it’s painfully obvious what they’re doing,” said Jim, the owner of the Vail UPS Store who asked for
his last name not to be published. “They walk in the door and look around a little bit, say they want to buy a box this big, and hold up their hands in the shape of a bag of weed. Then, after a quick trip out to the car, they come back in and continue to act suspicious, he said. We ask for their name, they say, ‘Well, why do you need that?”

Even with an ID, police find that when they try to investigate those people, addresses and names are wrong. Plus they usually pay
cash. As a result, the police haven’t been very successful in making arrests, but they are confiscating those drugs so they’re not getting to their final destinations.

Suspects have tried everything from peanut butter to coffee to incense in order to mask the smell of the marijuana; however, they’re often unsuccessful. They often ship the marijuana in Ziploc bags and then vacuum sealed, but even that doesn’t necessarily hide the scent. Marijuana shipping has always been a problem at the Vail UPS store, but this past season was “unusually busy.”

The owner of the store says that he can account for about 20 cases this winter alone, some of which included fairly large quantities of marijuana and marijuana baked goods such as cookies and candies which contain hashish.

Since medical marijuana has become legal, it’s become a much bigger problem in Vail and certainly more within the last two years..

For those of you, who think you can make a quick buck providing medical marijuana dispensaries, be aware that you may just face
Federal prosecution because smoking, growing and dispensing marijuana is still a federal crime.

Recently, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers has warned state leaders that the U.S. Attorney does not focus its limited resources on seriously ill individuals using marijuana as part of a medically recommended treatment regimen but it will “vigorously prosecute individuals or organizations engaged in “unlawful manufacturing and distribution activities involving marijuana, even is such activities are permitted under state law.”

Colorado is just the one of the latest states to receive warnings from the federal government. In fact Federal agents recently raided
state sanctioned dispensaries in Montana, Michigan and California. In addition, the warning from the feds also includes state employees who conducted activities mandated by a state legislative proposals would not be immune from
liability under the (federal Controlled Substances Act). This means if state legislators approve any legislation contrary to Federal law, state employees may face federal sanctions against them.

This leaves many states between a rock and a hard place. What will they do about voter approved medical marijuana laws when state legislators may face these charges? Currently, Colorado has about 123,000 registered medical marijuana patients and dispensaries booming throughout the state per day.

Once again, no one thought out the consequences of legalizing medical marijuana use, growing and dispensing. Marijuana is still illegal and considered a Federal crime.

Living in a small mountain Colorado town, you would expect people to be conservative, except for areas such as Aspen, Durango and Boulder where progressives thrive. That is why it was no surprise when voters in Poncha Springs, Colorado voted down marijuana sales centers, marijuana infused manufacturing and marijuana growing operations on three separate ballot questions. They voters did not want to be known as the pot growing capital of the world.

By a margin of two to one, Poncha Spring voters voted down these ballot questions. In fact, even in the surrounding small communities such as Salida and Buena Vista the results would be the same. Most of these people really don’t want to see marijuana grown, infused or sold in their neighborhood or community.

This is not to be considered as “medical” marijuana this is just the idea of growing pot for sale. With the explosion of pot centers and pot cardholders throughout Colorado during the past two years, someone had to say enough is enough.