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Feds Say They Aren’t Bluffing About Dispensary Crackdown

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CBS4's Rick Sallinger talks with U.S. Attorney John Walsh (credit: CBS)

CBS4′s Rick Sallinger talks with U.S. Attorney John Walsh (credit: CBS)

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DENVER (CBS4) – U.S. Attorney John Walsh is rebuffing claims the federal government is sitting idly by as Colorado enacts laws to regulate the booming medical marijuana industry.

The dispensaries have 45 days to shut down, and if they don’t shut down they will face possible seizure and maybe even criminal charges.

Just how many dispensaries are within 1,000 feet of schools isn’t clear. What is, is a letter sent to 23 dispensaries so far by Walsh and it will be going to many more.

“That was not intended to be the end of it. We intend to send letters of this kind, warning letters, to every marijuana dispensary or cultivation site in the state of Colorado that are within 1,000 feet of schools,” Walsh said.

The distance is measured from the door of a dispensary to the property line of the school. The letter gives the dispensaries 45 days to shut down or face federal enforcement action.

“I think this is a bluff. The federal government is bluffing. They don’t have the stomach for this fight,” medical marijuana attorney Rob Corry said.

“It is a not a bluff and I would hope that no dispensary that received one of these letters would make that assumption because it would not be a good for thing for them to assume,” Walsh said.

What makes this a dilemma for dispensaries is that many near schools have been grandfathered in under state or local laws.

Walsh also has a warning for dispensaries that are not within 1,000 feet of a school.

“I would say they need to recognize that their activities are against federal law and they cannot assume that there would not an enforcement action on this issue,” Walsh said.

The first deadline is Feb. 27 for dispensaries that received letters to shut down.

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