William Breathes's post about Juan Guardarrama, a target of federal marijuana raids who was known as Tony Montana during his days as a Florida jewel thief brought an explosion of commentary, much of it charging the DEA with hypocrisy. But this reader thinks the feds were actually as good as their wo ... More >>
Last week, the DEA and the IRS, aided by local officers, conducted raids on multiple marijuana businesses in Denver and Boulder. While the feds aren't sharing details of these actions, info has surfaced about a potential link to Juan Guardarrama, aka "Tony Montana, a Miami con who, until recently, ... More >>
Updates below: Westword has learned that the federal Drug Enforcement Administration is conducting raids at this writing at multiple marijuana businesses in the Denver area. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Denver has issued a statement confirming the ongoing operation, which is being conducted by the ... More >>
Editor's note: This is part two of correspondent Shannon Brandt's reports about the International Drug Policy Reform Conference in Denver last week. To read part one, click here. To read part two, click here. Down the street from the convention, a few hundred people slowly gathered for a bit of poe ... More >>
When Governor John Hickenlooper signs a hemp-farming registry bill later this morning, no one will be happier than Lloyd Casey. The 86-year-old former state senator, who now lives in Ohio, first introduced a hemp-legalization bill in the mid-1990s, but was rebuffed not once but twice by powerful int ... More >>
Last week, the Amendment 64 task force released a massive, 166-page report filled with recommendations about how best to implement the measure, which allows adults 21 and over in Colorado to use and possess small amounts of marijuana. How does Calvina Fay, executive director of Save Our Society Fro ... More >>
Did Henry Ford really make a car out of hemp? Was the Declaration of Independence written on hemp paper? Did Abraham Lincoln use hemp oil in his lamps? The hemp plant, a variety of Cannabis sativa that's the subject of this week's cover story "Green Acres," is steeped in lore. Some hemp legends ar ... More >>
Earlier this month, eight former DEA administrators wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder encouraging him to crack down on new marijuana laws in Colorado and Washington, in part because they see the measures as violating international treaties regarding drugs. Officials in at least on ... More >>
Yesterday, eight former DEA administrators sent a letter to ranking members of the Senate Judiciary Committee (see it below), encouraging them to quiz U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder about why the Justice Department hasn't cracked down on Colorado and Washington state over their recently passed ma ... More >>
Tomorrow, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee -- and eight ex-heads of the Drug Enforcement Administration suggest that members ask him why the hell he hasn't brought the hammer down on Colorado and Washington state for their respective pot laws. That ... More >>
Most sane, rational people understand that the cannabis plant has medical properties beneficial to patients who suffer from severe pain, chronic nausea and a number of other conditions. And then you've got the federal government, which has again refused to accept marijuana's medicinal properties.
Talk about cross-pollination. On our post about the DEA's response to a Colorado's marijuana-rescheduling request, a conversation broke out about President Barack Obama's pot chat with Barbara Walters. Here's the view of a reader experiencing a case of déjà vu.
Last week, a number of mainstream media outlets suggested that rescheduling marijuana might bridge the gap between conflicting state and federal laws following the passage of Amendment 64 -- this despite the fact that the federal government took nine months to shrug off Colorado's rescheduling sugge ... More >>
High-profile media organizations have started floating the idea of rescheduling marijuana as a way of bridging the gap between federal law and Colorado's in the wake of Amendment 64's passage. As we noted Wednesday, Colorado asked DEA administrator Michele Leonhart to consider doing so this past Dec ... More >>
Now that Amendment 64 is law, the mainstream media is beginning to grapple with the contradictions between the act's language and federal law. The latest solution, as floated by the Washington Post and Rachel Maddow fill-in Ezra Klein? Reschedule marijuana so that it is no longer listed as a Schedul ... More >>
Former drug czars, DEA administrators and national "addiction experts" have come out in opposition to Colorado's Amendment 64, as well as similar measures before voters in Washington and Oregon. In other wildly-unexpected news: The sky is, indeed, blue.
For the last eight months or so, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Colorado has been shutting down medical marijuana storefronts within 1,000 feet of schools by simply sending the dispensaries a letter and giving them 45 days to vacate or face possible seizure of their property and assets. The tactic m ... More >>
Update: Shortly after publishing the following item about Dr. Lynne Fenton, a CU psychiatrist who treated accused Aurora theater shooter James Holmes, we heard from Steffan Andrews, Fenton's ex-husband, and one of the people to whom she was censured by the state medical board for providing Claritin ... More >>
One of the stranger marijuana stories of last year involved a federal raid on Cherry Top Farms dispensary -- one not prompted by an investigation into the center, but due to the targeting of Nathan Do, a man associated with a different MMC, who agents were following. Nathan, along with family member ... More >>
Yesterday, we featured a video in which Drug Enforcement Administrator Michele Leonhart refused to say marijuana was less harmful than heroin while under questioning from Representative Jared Polis at a U.S. House subcommittee. The clip, and Leonhart's bizarre responses, frustrated a number of comme ... More >>
The Colorado Springs Police Department, working in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the FBI, has made a big heroin bust. Nineteen people were arrested, including one juvenile and eight under the age of 21 -- many of them alleged users rather than dealers. Their youth makes se ... More >>
In decrying the resources wasted in a failed prosecution of medical marijuana caregiver Josh Jones (a total he estimated at over $100,000), attorney Rob Corry suggested that law enforcers focus on meth rather than weed. Little did he know that the U.S. Attorney's Office in Colorado and the Organized ... More >>
Monday was the deadline for 25 medical marijuana centers near schools targeted in a second wave of closure-threat letters from U.S. Attorney John Walsh to shut their doors -- and all of them did. A third wave is coming, promises Walsh's spokesman, who now stresses his boss's efforts to protect not ... More >>
Denver blog posts think it's nice to be nice to the nice. Colorado Pols on Jared Polis's slam of DEA agent Barbara Roach, who wants to move to a city where dispensaries are banned. The Independence Institute's Amy Oliver on which lawmakers put rate-payers above Xcel. 5280's photo of the week spot ... More >>
Update below: The U.S. Attorney's Office under John Walsh has now confirmed that dispensaries near schools that received a seizure-threat letter have stopped doing business at previous locations. But this confirmation comes with new info. Although 23 letters were sent, one was subsequently withdrawn ... More >>
Big photos below.Nineteen members of the Hell's Lovers motorcycle gang appeared in court yesterday -- so many that the suspects reportedly filled the jury box and flooded into the front-row area reserved for observers. That's the scope of federal indictments on view below, which allege a slew ... More >>
John Walsh.Update: U.S. Attorney John Walsh's letter to 23 medical marijuana dispensaries within 1,000 feet of schools, which threatens seizure and forfeiture if they don't stop operating within 45 days, is a blow to the state's MMJ industry. And spokesman Jeff Dorschner stresses that it won' ... More >>
As mandated by state law, the director of the state Department of Revenue formally requested that the federal government reconsider their position on medical marijuana last week. Thanks to an often-forgotten clause in House Bill 1284, which laid the framework for the current regulatory system in pl ... More >>
From regulations changing and shops being raided, to pizza delivery guys calling the cops on tokers, it has been an interesting year for medical marijuana in Colorado. Below is our top ten list of Westword's most popular marijuana stories of 2011 as well as links to the original posts.
This week, governors in Rhode Island and Washington asked the federal government to concede that marijuana has medical uses. A Colorado official is required to send a similar message by year's end -- but would John Hickenlooper consider following the lead of these fellow governors and do the deed hi ... More >>
Vito Genovese.John Ray Enright died this past weekend at the age of 85, leading to some polite tributes here and there, with most focusing on his years as director of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation in the 1970s and 1980s and his subsequent service as a member of the Colorado Parole Boar ... More >>
Last week, DEA personnel announced four arrests related to a marijuana shipment from Colorado Springs to Chicago. All the busts were made in Illinois, but a grow was destroyed near the Springs, and extraction expert Matt Schnur has been named in a related press account. What's Schnur's story? ... More >>
The ambiguously-named Medical Marijuana Workgroup met yesterday, and although the point was to create transparency between state and city officials and the medical marijuana center owners, the results were more akin to a big back-patting session for everyone involved.
Yesterday, we noted that HB 1284, which set medical marijuana regs, requires the state to ask the DEA to designate pot as a Schedule II controlled substance. Plenty of commentary followed, including the following post, whose author doesn't expect Department of Revenue executive director Barba ... More >>
In August, the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division awarded a $1.5 million contract to Franwell Inc. to institute a seed-to-sale marijuana tracking method for Colorado MMJ enterprises using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. And while the system isn't expected to be in place ... More >>
The Drug Enforcement Administration dubs marijuana a Schedule I controlled substance -- meaning it has no accepted medical use. Switching pot to Schedule II, like morphine and cocaine, among other drugs, would instantly change the dynamic between the feds and medical marijuana states. And a C ... More >>
The conversation about the DEA raid on the Cherry Top Farms dispensary continued on an update post, in which attorney Bob Hoban spoke positively about the decision by the feds not to bust the center's employees. One reader found this viewpoint hopelessly naive.
Dean Beers.The White House has established the We the People website, where folks can post petitions on the topics of their choice -- and if they garner enough support (currently 25,000 signatures in thirty days), an administration will review it and offer a response. Currently, many of the ... More >>
Cherry Top.The Cherry Top Farms dispensary wasn't the target of a DEA raid last week -- but the feds confiscated 2,500 plants anyhow. Cherry Top's owners wanted to open up again early this week. But the dispensary's still closed at this writing -- and still losing money -- due in part to the ... More >>
Big pic below.Update: According to the manager at the Cherry Top Farms medical marijuana center, a raid yesterday targeted a contract grower, not Cherry Top or any of its employees. But because federal officers were involved, they seized all of the dispensary's live plants, medicine and more, ... More >>
This morning, the manager of Cherry Top Farms dispensary, raided yesterday by the DEA and other agencies, shared his version of the story, including his claim that the center was in compliance with all state regs. There's nothing to contradict this claim in info supplied by the U.S. Attorney' ... More >>
Rev. Brandon Baker.The Reverend Brandon Baker, who's with the ganja-based Greenfaith Ministry, has a lot of titles. He's a farmer, a father, an activist, a religious leader -- and now a self-professed legal scholar who says he's found a way to end Colorado's medical marijuana regulations, wh ... More >>
Update:On August 9, the Westminster Police Department manned a "DRUG ENFORCEMENT CHECKPOINT" on I-25. Last week, WPD Investigator Trevor Materasso confirmed the operation, but didn't have many details. Now, however, he's able to provide the specifics. Officers issued tickets or made arrests i ... More >>
Dan Tang.Operation Fortune Cookie, a 2008 raid netting 24,000 marijuana plants, was the largest weed bust in state history -- but it imploded among claims of police snitches, paid-off politicians and a secret DEA investigation. Last March, two Fortune Cookie investigators, Daniel Joyce and Ro ... More >>
Last week, a spokesman for Representative Jared Polis expressed disappointment with a Justice Department medical marijuana memo that some in the MMJ industry saw as paving the way for DEA raids on dispensaries. Polis doesn't think such incidents are imminent, and neither does Colorado Dispens ... More >>
Last month, we told you about a loophole in HB 1043, the medical marijuana cleanup bill, that could let Big Pharma firms get involved in the Colorado MMJ industry. Now, the Drug Enforcement Administration has made a new proposal involving marijuana extracts, and attorney Warren Edson sees it ... More >>
A March report from See Change Strategy LLC pegged the national medical marijuana market at $1.7 billion, with the market doubling in five years. Impressive, sure, but according to InvestorPlace.com, a prominent financial site, it's a relative drop in the bucket compared to the $10 billion to ... More >>