You didn't think attorney Rob Corry would remain silent after the Drug Enforcement Administration raid on the home of Chris Bartkowicz, did you?
After all, Corry's among the most vocal of all Colorado's medical marijuana advocates, and if he has problems with Representative Tom Massey's bill to regulate the industry, you know he'd object to the DEA's enforcement escalation, epitomized by the Bartkowicz sweep and action against two medical marijuana laboratories that had applied for licensure with the agency: Genovations in Colorado Springs and Full Spectrum in Denver.
And so he does, in a letter to the U.S. Inspector General written in regard to "Rogue DEA Agents Violation of Justice Department Formal Guidelines on Medical Marijuana." In his view, the DEA's actions against Bartkowicz are intended "to strike fear and panic in Colorado's vulnerable and suffering medical marijuana patients," and he calls for the agents responsible to be fired, suspended or punished appropriately. Read the rest of his letter below:
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Office of the Inspector General U.S. Department of Justice Investigations Division 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Room 4706 Washington, DC 20530
Re: Rogue DEA Agents Violation of Justice Department Formal Guidelines on Medical Marijuana
Dear Office of Inspector General:
Please treat this as a formal complaint of waste, fraud, abuse, and misconduct against U.S. Department of Justice/Drug Enforcement Administration employees, agents, contractors, grantees, and others who executed an armed raid on or about February 12, 2010 in the Denver, Colorado area targeted against Medical Marijuana patients and caregivers.
These actions are in direct violation of the formal guidelines issued by the Department on October 19, 2009. The caregiver involved in the raid, Chris Bartkowicz, remains incarcerated after being arrested by armed DEA agents.
The February 12 medical marijuana raid is reported in [the February 13] Denver Post. Rogue DEA agent Jeffrey Sweetin is quoted in the newspaper as opining "It's not medicine." Sweetin probably is not trained or educated as a physician, and his opinion is directly contrary to the will of Colorado's citizens, a majority of whom decided in 2000 that marijuana is, in fact, medicine. Sweetin further comments in the article:
"We're still going to continue to investigate and arrest people... Technically, every dispensary in the state is in blatant violation of federal law," he said. "The time is coming when we go into a dispensary, we find out what their profit is, we seize the building and we arrest everybody. They're violating federal law; they're at risk of arrest and imprisonment."
Sweetin's comments confirm that the individual involved was in compliance with the law, and confirm Sweetin's attitude that compliance with the law and the Main Justice October 19, 2009 guidelines is impossible. Sweetin's purpose in making these provocative and irresponsible comments that "we arrest everybody," is to strike fear and panic in Colorado's vulnerable and suffering medical marijuana patients.
The United States Government should stand for what is right and good; and must not be in the business of using assault rifles and jailhouse bars to intimidate powerless Coloradans suffering from debilitating medical conditions. The rogue DEA agents involved with the raid seized medical marijuana grown for and intended for patients suffering from debilitating medical conditions such as cancer, glaucoma, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, and other debilitating medical conditions as provided in the Colorado Constitution, Article XVIII § 14.
The October 19, 2009 Department of Justice formal guidelines instruct federal agents to refrain from using any federal resources for the investigation and prosecution of individuals who are in compliance with state laws governing the medical use of marijuana. "As a general matter, pursuit of these priorities should not focus federal resources in your States on individuals who are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana." The guidelines evidence an appropriate respect for the voters' will in states that have legalized medical marijuana.
The rogue agents, led by Sweetin, have ignored and disrupted the guidelines and the chain of command, and operate outside of their lawful authority. This action cannot stand, and must not be ignored by the Inspector General or Main Justice. The formal guidelines must be given meaning and effect.
If these rogue actions are ignored, this reprehensible ultra vires campaign of fear and intimidation will only intensify, and people will needlessly suffer. The agents involved must be fired, suspended, or appropriately disciplined so the message is sent that formal guidelines must be respected. The federal government must focus its resources on real crime.
Please contact me if you have additional questions. Thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter.
Rob Corry Attorney at Law
cc: The Honorable John Conyers, Jr. Chairman, U.S. House Judiciary Committee Members, U.S. House Judiciary Committee The Honorable Patrick J. Leahy Chairman, U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Members, U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Colorado Congressional Delegation