Marijuana Dispensaries and the Long Arm of the Law

May 14 2010, 9:49 AM

Just as the state Legislature tightened medical marijuana regulations, seven dispensaries in Colorado Springs were the subject of Metro Vice, Narcotics, and Intelligence squad searches earlier this week. There were no arrests, according to a report in the Gazette newspaper, which quotes an officer as saying police are conducting an ongoing investigation and cannot release further information. An employee at Sunshine Wellness Center, which was not among the searched dispensaries, says she heard a rumor that police wanted to know whether the dispensaries were complying with state laws regarding the number of plants they can grow per patient. While medical marijuana advocates in that city voice concern about official involvement, Congressman Jared Polis, a Boulder Democrat, has been asking similar questions in Washington. On Thursday, he asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder about the enforcement of marijuana laws in states like Colorado, where medical marijuana is legal, according to The Denver Post. Polis, acting on recent comments from a federal Drug Enforcement Administration agent, wants to know if the Justice Department is planning raids of dispensaries. Holder says there are higher enforcement priorities and a directive by the deputy attorney general that outlines the conditions under which the feds would be interested in shutting down legal dispensaries.