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"Although I welcome the opportunity for continued dialogue on this complex issue, I respectfully disagree with the position your letter outlines," U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado John Walsh wrote.

(Read the full letter from the U.S. Attorney here.)

Stan Garnett sent a letter to U.S. Attorney John Walsh on March 13 asking the feds to drop their crack down on medical-marijuana dispensaries that are abiding by state law.

Garnett wrote there is no role for criminal enforcement against dispensaries complying with local rules, which appear to be more effective than criminal enforcement in controlling marijuana.

"This office will continue this program until all marijuana dispensaries in Colorado operating with 1,000 feet of a school have been warned and have ceased operations," Walsh wrote.

One of the interests for the federal government "is the protection of children and young people from drugs and drug abuse, very much including marijuana abuse," he wrote.

Walsh also said that many dispensaries opened in the second half of 2010 and in 2011, and at the same time data shows an "alarming and substantial spike in marijuana abuse by children and young people during that same period."

"When this disturbing information came to the attention of this office, we concluded that our responsibility - as federal law enforcement officials, and also as Coloradans living in the very Colorado communities impacted by these alarming trends - required a response," Walsh wrote.

"As a result, as part of our overall enforcement efforts against marijuana trafficking, this office has undertaken a focused program to enforce federal laws against drug trafficking near our schools," he wrote.

Boulder County District Attorney's Office Spokeswoman Catherine Olguin said Garnett received the letter Tuesday.

"[Garnett] appreciated the polite response from the U.S. Attorney and the fact the two offices are engaging in an open dialogue on the subject," she wrote in an email to 9Wants to Know.

Colorado law allows for medical marijuana use, but the drug is illegal under federal law. Earlier this year, Walsh gave 22 Colorado dispensaries within 1,000 feet of schools a deadline to close or move.

9Wants to Know reported March 15 that plans to send another round of letters demaning more medical marijuana dispensaries operating within 1,000 feet of aschool voluntarily close or face a forced shut down by the feds.

Have a comment or tip for investigative reporter Jace Larson? Call him at 303-871-1432 or e-mail him
jace.larson@9news.com

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