After the release was made public, Westword reached out several times to Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for recently named U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn, a former member of Denver's powerful Brownstein Hyatt law firm, but we have not yet received a reply. So we'll let the text of the feds' statement about the Denver proposition (which needs approval from the Colorado Legislature before it can take effect) speak for itself — and then take on the points one by one.
The Introduction: The Denver City Council recently passed an ordinance that proposes establishing supervised use sites, where drug users would be allowed to lawfully inject heroin and other illegal drugs in a facility operated by a governmental organization or a nonprofit. This proposal still has a number of steps to go before it becomes a reality. In the meantime, there are a few things Coloradans should know.
Our take: Nothing inherently false yet. But get ready.
Attack one: Foremost, the operation of such sites is illegal under federal law. 21 U.S.C. Sec. 856 prohibits the maintaining of any premises for the purpose of using any controlled substance. Potential penalties include forfeiture of the property, criminal fines, civil monetary penalties up to $250,000, and imprisonment up to 20 years in jail for anyone that knowingly opens, leases, rents, maintains, or anyone that manages or controls and knowingly and intentionally makes available such premises for use (whether compensated or otherwise). Other federal laws likely apply as well.
Our take: You know what else is against federal law? The possession, use and sale of marijuana. And unless we're very much mistaken, all of those things are happening in Colorado and a slew of other states across the country right now, despite nearly identical warnings from various law enforcers in the administration of President Donald Trump. As for the use of the word "likely" in the last sentence: Don't you guys know for sure? Couldn't you have had an intern look it up for you?