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DEA Raiding Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in Denver! [FEATURE]

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #811)

DEA and IRS agents backed up by Denver and other state and local law enforcement raided a number of Denver area medical marijuana dispensaries and grow operations Thursday. The US Attorney for Colorado's office confirmed the raids were taking place.

a Denver medical marijuana dispensary (not one of those raided Thursday) (
"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," said Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the US Attorney for Colorado's office in a Thursday statement

"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 added. "As this is an on-going investigation, no additional information will be made available," he said.

Dorschner was referring to an August 29 Justice Department memorandum to federal prosecutors that said the Obama administration would not interfere with marijuana legalization provided certain boundaries were not crossed. US Attorney for Colorado John Walsh laid them out in his own statement that same day.

"Of particular concern to the US Attorney's Office are cases involving marijuana trafficking directly or indirectly to children and young people; trafficking that involves violence or other federal criminal activity; trafficking conducted or financed by street gangs and drug cartels; cultivation of marijuana on Colorado's extensive state and federal public lands; and trafficking across state and international lines," Walsh explained.

The Thursday raids come less than two months before state-legal marijuana retail stores open for business on January 1.

The Denver Post reported that the number of sites hit was "about a dozen," while the alternative weekly Westword put the number at fewer than 20, although that number is tentative. Among businesses mentioned by "reliable sources within the scene" to Westword are VIP Wellness, Cherry Top Farms, marQaha, and Swiss Medical in Boulder. Westword printed a photo of police cars in the parking lot of marQaha, while the Post printed a photo of piles of uprooted marijuana plants lying in the snow outside Swiss Medical.

Westword also reported that the owner of Swiss Medical told it that the raid there was prompted by one person among multiple tenants using its space, but that the raiders seized all the plants belonging to anyone who had a grow there. That's similar to what happened at Cherry Top Farms in 2011, when federal raiders targeting one grower seized all the plants on the scene.

"We do not yet know the details of these latest federal actions, so it is too soon to say what inspired them," said Denver-based Marijuana Policy Project spokesman Mason Tvert. "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. We hope they are sticking to their word and not interfering with any state-regulated, law-abiding businesses."

Tvert emphasized that at this point he does not know whether any of the businesses struck are accused of violating state laws.

"Colorado has demonstrated that regulating marijuana works," Tvert said. "Those businesses that are in clear compliance with state laws are meeting the needs of the community and not causing problems. As a result, they have not faced much in the way of federal interference. 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."

Denver-based attorney and marijuana activist Rob Corry was less diplomatic. He told the Post the Justice Department was acting like a bully and targeting "mostly mom-and-pop businesses."

"That is true to form, the DOJ, behaving like the classic schoolyard bully picking on the little guy," he said. "The DOJ needs to explain in a logical fashion why they are picking and choosing, going after only some of these entities when every one of them selling marijuana is running afoul of the federal law."

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


The feds and others keep pointing to the DOJ's memo from August 2013 and its 8 areas of concern, yet those aren't real guidelines, they're advice, and the DOJ was smart enough to specifically state that the advice need not be followed. This is from the final paragraph:

"Finally, nothing herein precludes investigation or prosecution, even in the absence of any one of the factors listed above, in particular circumstances where investigation and prosecution otherwise serves an important federal interest." - August 29, 2013, memo from Deputy USAG James M. Cole "Guidance Regarding Marijuana Enforcement"

In America, we presume innocence until someone is proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt. We don't know what the feds will offer as a reason for these raids, presuming they do so, and even then that's not proof of anything. All we know for certain is that legal patients in Colorado today have fewer safe access points at which they can acquire their medicine, patients are ultimately the ones who suffer from today's actions.

Thu, 11/21/2013 - 8:17pm Permalink

The Feds, according to the "Shadow Alliance", are in the process of garnering all of the information they can prior to going into the Federally owned and controlled Marijuana production. This would mean that we would have nationalized the production, sale, distribution, and legalized control to the benefit of the Feds. This is just another takeover of big business in the private sector. This is worth digging into and investigating. "The Shadow Knows".

Thu, 11/28/2013 - 4:34am Permalink
lbolan66 (not verified)

We are on our way to a revolt against our, no THE government.  It hasn't been "ours" for a long, long time.  It is apparent that the Feds lied, again, and want us to remember who the boss is.  WE THE PEOPLE, ARE THE BOSS!!!!  WE CANNOT FORGET THAT!!!  "for the people, by the people" must be reinstated.  Soon.  It WILL happen!!  Solidarity people!!

Fri, 11/22/2013 - 3:28am Permalink
kickback (not verified)

Colorado will experience a high level of tourism come 2014 . The hotels , eatery`s , gas stations , on and on . Will out of state visitors be stopped and searched by the masses ? Cannabis prohibitionists are in a rage . Their un-moral compass is being destroyed . Their life is but a joke . Big Green Tsunami ............

Fri, 11/22/2013 - 5:11am Permalink
momokinjojo (not verified)

I tried to tell all the folks who were giddy about the DOJ memo that it was meaningless. Lied to again. When are you going to learn? 

Fri, 11/22/2013 - 1:44pm Permalink
g.a.peterson (not verified)

Once again our elected officials have proven they don't give a damn what We The People say we want the only way We The People will ever be heard in this country will be with a major revolution....Our "elected officials" have no intention of listening to "We The People" they and corporate America are actually challenging We The People to take back this country....its not going to be pretty but it is the only way to do this Colorado and Washington have both tried to play by the rules and our idiot leaders insist on doing this the ugly way....

Tue, 11/26/2013 - 10:14pm Permalink
Mark Mitcham (not verified)

Look, all I'm saying, with all due respect for LEAP officers and so forth, is, you break down a guy's door, you scare the living shit out of him so that he goes for his gun if he has one, and when he does, you kill him! Whose bright idea was that? Was that not to be expected? That is the best plan they can come up with? Are they retarded?
Wed, 11/27/2013 - 8:04am Permalink
CJR (not verified)

The DEA in my opinion has lost all credibility. I can no longer in good faith look towards any federal organization and expect any rational and just behavior. It's all about the money and power with these people and I'm sure our founding fathers are rolling in their graves. It's disgusting that we have a "law enforcement" that willingly commits armed robbery on legal and tax paying businesses.

Sun, 12/01/2013 - 6:06pm Permalink

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