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US Attorney continues medical marijuana crackdown

4:37 PM, Mar 23, 2012   |    comments
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On Friday, US Attorney John Walsh sent letters to the owners of 25 medical marijuana dispensaries telling them they had a month and a half to either shut down or face the possibility of prosecution and property seizure. All, he said, are located within 1,000 feet of a school.

Two months ago, Walsh sent out similar warnings to 23 dispensaries.

"I would say to any medical marijuana dispensary owner whose facility is within a thousand feet of a school that they will be receiving this letter," he told 9NEWS in January.

Friday's round of warnings, according to a news release put out by his office, represents a "second phase of an initiative to close all marijuana stores within 1,000 feet of schools."

The letters, according to the release, formally notify "them that action will be taken to seize and forfeit their property if they do not discontinue the sale and/or distribution of marijuana within 45 days from today."

Walsh was unavailable for comment on Friday.

This all comes at a time when the Boulder County District Attorney is continuing to ask Walsh to halt the ongoing crackdown.

Last week, Boulder County DA Stan Garnett wrote a letter to Walsh asking the feds to focus their resources elsewhere.

"The people of Boulder County," he wrote, "do not need Washington, D.C. or the federal government dictating how far dispensaries should be from schools."

He added that prosecution of dispensary owners acting within the confines of state law serves "no practical purpose."

This week, Walsh responded with his own letter to Garnett which said that he respectfully disagrees with the state prosecutor's opinion.

"I believe that enforcing federal law to protect our children and young people from drug abuse is not only a legitimate use of federal resources, but a core responsibility for me and this office," Walsh wrote.

Garnett said on Friday that he will hold firm with his position.

"I think there are other laws that could be enforced that would actually help us with public safety and not just be symbolic window dressing which this seems to be to me," he said.

Marijuana, medical or not, remains illegal under federal law. In 2000, Colorado voters approved the limited use of medical marijuana.

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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