Legislators Ask Holder For Moratorium On MMJ Raids


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As Colorado gets ready for what will likely be a contentious political battle over Rep. Tom Massey‘s HB10-1284, Massey and three of his colleagues in the legislature (Sens. Romer and Spence, and Rep. McCann) are signing a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to place a temporary moratorium on the DEA’s raids of Colorado medical marijuana facilities until the state can sort out the pending legislation. Westword’s Michael Roberts reports:

The letter, which is also copied to President Barack Obama and a slew of Colorado officials, makes it clear that Massey, Romer and fellow signers Nancy Spence and Beth McCann don’t want all marijuana-related activities by the DEA stopped. Still, they feel it’s wrong to treat legitimate medical marijuana entrepreneurs in the same way.

This follows a similar letter that Congressman Jared Polis (D-Boulder) wrote to the Attorney General’s office last month.

The letter from Massey, Romer, Spence and McCann is below the fold.


Dear Attorney General Holder,

As you know, the Colorado General Assembly is currently considering several bills designed to establish a legal framework to effectively regulate medical marijuana. Federal DEA raids of medical marijuana businesses, however, are complicating our legislative efforts.

While we realize it is unrealistic — and frankly unwise — to ask the Justice Department to suspend investigation or prosecution of those engaged in the trafficking and distribution of “recreational” marijuana, we hope you will consider imposing a moratorium on medical marijuana sector raids. These raids discourage dispensary operators, caregivers, growers and patients from providing testimony or recommendations to state lawmakers, hampering our ability to develop a workable and realistic regulatory arrangement for medical marijuana.

Again, we strongly support the efforts of state and federal law enforcement as they investigate, arrest, and prosecute the violent gangs and other criminal enterprises engaged in the illegitimate importation, production, and distribution of black market drugs. However, we believe it is a mistake to put the activities of the legitimate medical marijuana community in the same category as these criminal conglomerates.

We appreciate the Administration’s recognition of the very complex waters we are attempting to navigate between the Colorado Constitution and federal drug policy, and ask for your patience as we attempt to find that rational middle ground.

Thank you in advance for your assistance, and we look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Chris Romer

State Senator

Tom Massey

State Representative

Nance Spence

State Senator

Beth McCann

State Representative

Cc: President Barack Obama

Governor Bill Ritter, Jr.

Attorney General John Suthers

US Attorney David M. Gaouette

Resident Agent in Charge Tom Gorman, DEA

Special Agent Jeffrey Sweetin, DEA

Senate President Brandon Shaffer

Senator Joshua Penry

Senator John Morse

Speaker Terrance Carroll

Representative Paul Weissmann

Representative Mike May

H/T to Jersey Transplant

Will the DOJ cease the raids until we get our house in order?

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5 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. sloanslake says:

    While we realize it is unrealistic — and frankly unwise — to ask the Justice Department to suspend investigation or prosecution of those engaged in the trafficking and distribution of “recreational” marijuana

    Does anyone else see the growing divide between people who are afraid of people using cannabis recreationally and those who could care less if anyone uses it?

    Rewind 80 or so years ago and many conservative people demonized alchohol and fought to criminalize it and make it unlawful to possess or imbibe…c’mon lawmakers, read your history books! We all know how prohibition worked out…

    Sadly, my prediction is that we’re all going to end up with poorly written laws that will cost our state loads of money to uphold in court then ultimately found unconstitutional. WASTE OF TIME!

    Seriously lawmakers, if you JUST WOULD TREAT cannabis the same as alcohol in licensing, consumption, taxation, etc you could MOVE ALONG TO ACTUALLY DOING SOMETHING USEFUL LIKE CREATING JOBS, FINDING NEW WAYS TO FUND SCHOOLS, REC CENTERS, LIBRARIES, ROADS, PARKS, AND SENIOR PROGRAMS, etc etc etc…legalizing and taxing cannabis is a HUGE opportunity to accomplish these things!!!

    so for god sakes move along already and just legalize and tax the stuff!

      • sxp151 says:

        The punctuation and FONT STYLINGS are BLOWING MY MIND, man!!!!!

        I agree with the point made though.

        • Steve Harvey says:

          if not for political reality. The nation, certainly, is nowhere near ready to make the sane leap that all of us sane people recognize would be wise to make. And the combination of the supremacy clause and commerce clause jurisprudence make it clear that national law will hold sway on this matter. So the above state legislators were, arguably, wise to say what they said, regardless of whether they really believe it or not. It advances the attainable goal of insulating law on medical marijuana from federal pre-emption (or at least from federal enforcement of pre-emption), and not on the higher hurdle of ending Prohibition II.

    • Jersey Transplant says:

      i’m totally with you conceptually; but practically, what you suggest is impossible.  the DOJ and the USAG said they would cease raids on anyone complying with their state’s MEDICAL cannabis laws; this in no way allows a state to legalize/fully decriminalize cannabis.

      further, the voters defeated a full-legalization initiative in 2006, so no one wants to spend that kind of political capital fighting a battle that may hurt them in the long run when november comes along.  

      even further, treating the current MMJ industry like alcohol would be a nightmare.  several first drafts of HB1284 contained a lot of liquor code as a starting point, but much of it is expected to be scrapped in favor of legislation specifically written for this issue.

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