U.S. Attorney: Minors not a factor in shutting down dispensaries near colleges

The brilliant minds attending the Colorado School of Mines can be included with those other young people who apparently need federal protection against drugs.

Mile Highs and Lows caught up with Golden Alternative Care owner Craig Mardick briefly yesterday, who confirmed that his shop was included in the most recent 25 letters sent out by U.S. Attorney John Walsh ordering dispensaries to shut down.

Earlier this week we posted about Walsh sending letters to dispensaries near universities as well as K-12 schools -- citing a need to protect children and young people from drug abuse. Several dispensaries near CU Boulder are rumored to have received letters, with two confirmed so far. There have also been closures near Regis University as well as Serenity Moon by the University of Denver.

Mardick noted that unlike those three universities, the School of Mines doesn't have a college of education with a teaching lab where children are constantly present, nor do they even have an on-campus childcare program. The one constant underage presence at Mines, he said, is a thirteen-year-old whiz kid working on his degree.

"It's like I keep saying, the feds should be more concerned with hiring that kid. He's probably smarter than all of us put together," Mardick says.

Karen Gordon, spokeswoman for the School of Mines confirmed that there is one very bright young man who will earn his college degree right around the time he's old enough to drive. Gordon added that the university doesn't have an official position on dispensaries in the community, but also pointed out that the campus has it's fair share of minor visitors. She noted summer camps for K-12 students do take place and that several children live on campus in family housing and that as many as 7,000 children are on the campus annually visiting the campus museum.

So is Walsh going after colleges because of minors on campus? No, says U.S. Attorney's office spokesman Jeff Dorschner, who says the current campaign shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. Colleges and universities are included in the Drug Free School Zone laws along with K-12 schools, he explains. "The short answer is: that's the law." As for the School of Mines, which doesn't have a college of education teaching lab or a childcare center: "The operative word here is "school."

Not all dispensaries within 1,000 feet of colleges have been ordered to shut down, but a number of owners we spoke with at shops near DU and the CU Boulder said they wouldn't be surprised if they were included in the rumored third round of letters.

More from our marijuana news archive: "Medical marijuana registry numbers on the rise -- again"; "Medical marijuana power players write open letter to U.S. Attorney John Walsh"

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