DENVER (CBS4) – People in towns across Colorado are voting on whether to ban medical marijuana dispensaries in their communities. They include Fort Collins, Palisade, Brush, Routt County and several others.

Now the head of medical marijuana enforcement for the state, Dan Hartman, has been moved out of his job. He wrote a controversial letter to the editor about Tuesday’s votes, which were followed by complaints to the attorney general and then a high level meeting.

Hartman was the director of the state’s Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division. Now he has been moved to racing events. His letter was published in the Steamboat Pilot newspaper.

“If your community bans commercial medical marijuana businesses … you will only remove the regulated medical marijuana distribution model from your community,” Hartman wrote.

The article prompted complaints from law enforcement to Colorado Attorney General John Suthers. His spokesman Mike Saccone said Suthers went to Hartman’s boss.

John Suthers (credit:

“The attorney general views it as unethical when you are essentially advocating for an entity that you are supposed to be regulating,” Saccone said.

He said the article left the impression that communities would be left without any local law enforcement if they voted to ban dispensaries. But Mason Tvert, who is leading a ballot proposal to legalize marijuana, believes Hartman did nothing wrong.

“The attorney general deemed that it was not something illegal; and the attorney general seems to believe that it was something unethical,” Tvert said. “But the attorney general is engaged in far more egregious campaigning activity than that when it comes to marijuana.”

It all came after Matt Cook, the head of enforcement for the state, resigned recently to become a consultant on the regulation of medical marijuana.

The state would not say if Hartman was being moved over the controversy.

“With new leadership there is generally a desire to review the organizational structure and determine if additional movement would be appropriate in order to create cross-training opportunities and bench strength,” the state said in a statement.