Wake-Up Call: Talk about the Mile High (and Higher) City!

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Even Balloon Boy couldn't knock our hunt for a medical-marijuana reviewer out of the national news. Yesterday, NPR's Sunday show ran a piece about our quest, resulting in still more applications coming in from across the country. But sorry, folks: We're looking for a Colorado resident, someone who can identify not just particular strains, but deal with the state-specific peculiarities of what's rapidly becoming Colorado's s greenest business.

The medical marijuana industry is already booming here -- and after today, it could explode. That's because the White House is finally releasing new federal guidelines that solidify what Barack Obama promised as a candidate: a reversal of the Bush administration's tough stance against users and suppliers in the states that have legalized medical marijuana.

According to an Associated Press report, as two Justice Department officials described the new policy, "prosecutors will be told it is not a good use of their time to arrest people who use or provide medical marijuana in strict compliance with state laws."

Today, the three-page memo outlining this policy will go to federal prosecutors in the fourteen states where medical marijuana is legal, as well as FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration offices. But while the feds will be backing off on individuals complying with state laws, "the government will still prosecute those who use medical marijuana as a cover for other illegal activity," the AP reports. "The memo particularly warns that some suspects may hide old-fashioned drug dealing or other crimes behind a medical-marijuana business."

And that leaves some room for John Suthers, the Colorado Attorney General who's been talking tough about cracking down on the state's sketchier dispensaries. Various municipalities are also looking at tightening control, taking advantage of the state's home-rule protections.

But in the meantime, smoke it if you've got it.

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


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