In response to U.S. Attorney John Walsh’s call for the closure of 25 state-licensed medical marijuana businesses in the state of Colorado, a coalition of 11 medical marijuana advocacy groups has sent an open letter to Mr. Walsh asking him to cease his attempt to attack these businesses.
As we’ve covered before, Walsh has twice sent letters to medical marijuana businesses that he viewed as too close to schools and other educational facilities, despite the fact that the stores are licensed by the state.
Below, courtesy of The Colorado Independent, is a copy of the letter, which carefully lays out just how the medical marijuana industry is helping the state of Colorado. Check it out.
“Dear Mr. Walsh,
As parents, patients, business owners, and Colorado citizens, we are concerned by the recent letters sent by your office demanding certain state-approved medical marijuana businesses cease operations.
Since the dawn of this new health care field, we have worked closely with Colorado state and local governments to safely regulate medical marijuana sales and production, and have made great efforts – and gone to great expense — to establish a thorough and safe regulatory structure. Because of this collaboration between stakeholders and state and local officials, Colorado has emerged as the model among states that legally recognize the medicinal value of marijuana.
We stand in unison with patients and governing bodies across Colorado in our active commitment to continue the careful implementation of a secure and community-minded system of regulation. Here is a partial list of our contributions to the Colorado community:
· We have provided vital medicine to 164,000+ sick and disabled Colorado citizens whose doctors have recommended medical marijuana to them.
· We helped author and endorse SB 12-154 to establish a responsible vendor program similar to what many Colorado jurisdictions currently require for alcohol sales.
· We are working with the Denver City Council to foster sensible regulations, including currently working on language to limit inappropriate advertisements, specifically public advertisements near schools and other sensitive areas.
· We worked with local papers, like the Colorado Springs Gazette, to establish community-conscious advertising with a proper healthcare focus.
· We employ over 5,000 Coloradans and provide them with a living wage so they can support their families. We also provide substantial support for ancillary businesses like electricians, carpenters, and engineers.
· Our businesses produce tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue with the first $2 million earmarked annually for programs critical to helping Colorado fight addiction and accompanying mental health issues. The Circle Program at Pueblo’s Colorado Mental Health Institute was on its last legs before this new tax supported it.
· We help create safer neighborhoods through the extensive use of security cameras and guards, by increased lighting in commercial areas, and by occupying otherwise vacant retail or warehouse space.
As committed members of the communities we live in, we believe in responsible regulation of this important, and growing, health care field. We also share your concern about teens accessing medical marijuana and have taken serious steps to reduce any redistribution. We welcome a thoughtful discussion about the potential areas for improvement in the current regulatory structure.
Association of Cannabis Trades for Colorado (ACT4CO)
Cannabis Business Alliance (CBA)
Coloradans 4 Cannabis Patients Rights (C4CPR)
Colorado Springs Medical Cannabis Council (CSMCC)
Green Faith Ministry
In Harmony Wellness Services
Medical Marijuana Assistance Program of America (MMAPA)
Medical Marijuana Business Alliance (MMBA)
Women’s Marijuana Movement
United Food and Commercial Workers Union: Local 7”
U.S. Attorney Walsh is facing opposition from other angles, as well. Denver attornery Rob Corry has submitted a request through the Freedom of Information Act, calling into question the “outpouring of thanks and appreciation” that Walsh claims to have received for his medical marijuana crusade. Corry is asking Walsh to supply a number of documents that prove that this support exists.
In the words of Corry: “I want to know — and the public wants to know — how the U.S. Attorney makes decisions and whether public pressure matters. He talks about an ‘outpouring’ of support. Well, if that is what he wants, we’ve got more than 100,000 patients and supporters. If public support is the deciding factor, we can bring that. We’d also like to know what other law enforcement agencies he is working with.”
Is U.S. Attorney Walsh crossing the line by attacking these state licensed facilities? Does it matter if medical marijuana businesses are near schools?