Feds turning up the heat on dispensaries on Colorado
Despite federal efforts in other states to crack down on dispensaries, feds in Colorado say they haven’t changed their tune on how they deal with medical marijuana and have no plans to do so.
They say they are focused on large-scale, illegal distribution and sales operations, not the individual patient or the dealer on the street corner.
While dispensaries seem to be a bit of a gray area, it seems that if federal officials in this state stick to 2009 guidelines set by the U.S. attorney general’s office, Colorado dispensaries that keep their noses clean should not attract the attention of federal prosecutors and drug enforcement officers.
An Oct. 19, 2009, letter — referred to as the “Ogden memo” because it came from U.S. Deputy Attorney General David Ogden — has served as the law of the land when it comes to how the Obama administration intends to deal with medical marijuana in states where its use is authorized. (Marijuana remains illegal as a schedule I controlled substance under federal law.)
The Ogden memo lays out guidance for U.S. attorneys in states where medical marijuana is legal. In an environment of limited resources, the memo says, the Department of Justice is primarily concerned about “significant traffickers of illegal drugs, including marijuana, and the disruption of illegal drug manufacturing and trafficking networks.”
The memo says federal resources should not be focused on “individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance” with state marijuana laws, and it differentiates between the individual patient/ caregiver and large-scale operations, including questionable dispensaries hiding behind state laws.
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