U.S. Attorney John Walsh has said that his crackdown on dispensaries near schools is intended to protect children and young people from drugs and drug abuse. But a good number of Boulder dispensaries targeted in the second round are near a university full of adults, leading some to speculate on a connection between Walsh's mission and the university's attempts to shrink the on-campus 4/20 event.
Two weeks ago, a second wave of federal letters was sent out to 25 medical marijuana centers across the state, Boulder included. At the time, the U.S. Attorney's Office wouldn't comment on which shops were targeted. But we've since learned that as many as three dispensaries across from the University of Colorado Boulder campus were told they had to shut their doors.
A handful of centers near both Regis and the University of Denver were targeted during the first wave of letters sent last December, including Serenity Moon, not far from the Ritchie Center at DU.
Though reps at a few dispensaries contacted by Westword didn't want to discuss the issue, we have confirmed that Fresh Republic, The Med Shed and The Hill Cannabis Club all received letters -- and there are rumors of at least three more. Two of the shops are on The Hill, a stone's throw from the CU campus. The third, Med Shed, is near the Shining Mountain Waldorf School, a private k-12 school in North Boulder.
One Boulder dispensary employee we asked that his name not be used has heard that CU was behind the closure efforts, and mentioned plans for police to be "more active" in ticketing on 4/20 as evidence. Such rumors are completely unsubstantiated, but that doesn't seem to be slowing them down.
Regarding Walsh's protect-the-children mantra, there are kids on college campuses from time to time, as well as a childcare center on CU's campus. But that facility is well over 1,000 feet from the targeted dispensaries. And the vast majority of CU attendees are at least eighteen, including nearly 5,000 graduate and doctoral students.
As for high schoolers who may be on campus taking college courses, they're probably too busy studying and trying to keep their parents happy to notice the medical marijuana shops. And I hate to be the one to break it to the U.S. Attorney, but dispensaries didn't make it any easier for CU students to find herb on the already stoney campus.
*Note - this story originally incorrectly listed the location of the Med Shed. It has since been corrected.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.