Film and TV

Video: 60 Minutes offers nation a primer on Colorado medical marijuana

In recent years, Colorado's medical marijuana business has been chronicled by news purveyors as varied as National Geographic (via the program American Weed) and The Daily Show (which featured our MMJ critic, William Breathes). Last night, 60 Minutes weighed in with its own report, offering a somewhat staid but notably solid report on the scene, and where it may be going. See it below. Reported by Steve Kroft, the package is unimaginatively titled "Rocky Mountain High," and while the tone throughout is rather introductory in nature, the sources seen on camera suggest that the producers did their homework. The man who serves as Kroft's early guide is Matt Cook, a multiple Westword profile subject (read our 2010 Q&A here) who's credited with writing the lion's share of state MMJ regulations. He's since moved from state bureaucracy to a private gig as an industry consultant.

And providing a legal perspective is someone else you've met in this space: Sam Kamin, a DU professor who's one of the legal experts on the intersection of state and federal pot law. Get more details in our January item "Marijuana at the Crossroads: Event asks if MMJ lawyers are breaking oath."

In addition, Kroft is granted a sit-down with Deputy Attorney General James Cole, author of the so-called Cole memo -- the document that recommends against using federal resources to bust patients and caregivers who are using medical marijuana in compliance with state laws. On camera, Cole stresses what has become the usual federal line on this issue: The Justice Department will step in to protect the interests of children and to prevent people from using medical marijuana laws to build large-scale illegal drug operations.

Of course, the entire MMJ biz is an illegal drug operation as far as the U.S. government is concerned, and DU's Kamin opines that the current contradictions between state and federal law are unsustainable over the long haul. Kroft follows up on this observation by noting that measures to allow marijuana use for recreational purposes in various states -- including Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act -- are currently too close to call.

Oh yeah: There's also a scene in which Kroft salivates over a chocolaty medical edibles mix while visiting the Dixie Elixirs facility. However, he stops short of asking for a taste.

Look below to see the 60 Minutes report. Below that, as a bonus, we've included the complete Cole memo.

James Cole Memo Regarding Medical Marijuana

More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana: Amendment 64's new ad features veteran Denver cop attacked by opponents."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts