Feds Raid Colorado Pot Industry After Promising Not To Intervene

Denver, Colorado (Photo by: (Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post)
Denver, Colorado (Photo by: Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post)

Months ago I wrote about the Obama administration’s seeming change of heart when it came to the federal ban on marijuana. According to the Justice Department as long as the drug was kept away from children, the black market and federal property then all was fine. Echos of applause were heard for this seemingly historical moment. However, the feds seem to be contradicting themselves leaving many confused.

In Denver, recreational shops were scheduled to open in only a few short weeks. However, according to The Denver Post, federal agents raided the homes of two individuals and more than a dozen facilities selling the drug.

All parties involved claim they were properly licensed, followed all state regulations and were not doing anything which would have prompted the feds to step in.

Although the feds did lift restrictions, they still said they will aggressively enforce the law in the following situations:

  • Preventing distribution to minors;
  • Preventing revenue from marijuana sales from going to criminal enterprises, gangs, and cartels;
  •  Preventing diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal to other states;
  •  Preventing state-authorized marijuana activity from being used as a cover or pretext for the trafficking of other illegal drugs or other illegal activity;
  • Preventing violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana
  • Preventing drugged driving and the exacerbation of other adverse public health consequences associated with marijuana use;
  • Preventing the growing of marijuana on public lands and the attendant public safety and environmental dangers posed by marijuana production on public lands;
  • Preventing marijuana possession on federal property.

According to The Denver Post, federal officials would not reveal which of the above exceptions those involved violated.

One individual’s lawyer told The Denver Post, “They took $1 million worth of plants from his facility,” said Wollrab, who represents Laszlo Bagi, owner of Swiss Medical in Boulder. “They didn’t leave any instructions, saying don’t replant. There was no court order of cease and desist. No explanation.”

According to a Justice Department representative in Denver, no arrests were actually made in the raids. The raids were conducted by, the Internal Revenue Service criminal investigations unit, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Denver Police Department and state and local law enforcement.

Perhaps the most interesting element of this event is that the local police were involved. State law allows citizens to grow, smoke and medicate with marijuana.

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