Medical Marijuana Providers Targeted?
A lawyer for some of the pot growers busted by the DEA earlier this week said his clients are registered medical marijuana providers targeted by "rogue" federal agents ignoring a directive to leave such people alone.
But a spokesman for the DEA said the raids on multiple locations in and around Fort Collins have "nothing to do" with medical marijuana.
The DEA has refused to comment further on the raids, declining to provide the number of busts or if any arrests were made late Monday night and early Tuesday morning. At least one Fort Collins resident said she called police after seeing men - who turned out to be drug enforcement agents - moving through her backyard early Tuesday morning. She said her home backs onto a home raided by the DEA.
A Coloradoan reporter documented one of the raids, at 2206 Suffolk St. in Fort Collins. In that case, a DEA agent, a Larimer County Sheriff's deputy and several plainclothes or undercover officers had laid out about 20 small marijuana plants on the home's driveway and were processing them.
"The DEA showed up to execute searches. They raided multiple medical marijuana gardens. Most of them are linked to Larimer County, as far as I can tell," attorney Robert Corry Jr. said. "We've got a set of rogue agents from the DEA who are blatantly ... violating the express explicit written directives from their own bosses."
Corry said his clients -- who he declined to name - are registered with the state as both medical marijuana users and caregivers, permitting them to possess, grow and sell small amounts of pot.
Colorado-based DEA spokesman Mike Turner denied the raids were linked to medical marijuana. On Monday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder issued guidelines telling federal drug agents to effectively de-prioritize enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized the drug for medical purposes.
But the guidelines also make it clear that federal agents will enforce the federal laws when they find "commercial" pot-growing enterprises or when state marijuana-legalization laws are being invoked as a "pretext" by large-scale growers.
"What we were doing has nothing to do with medical marijuana or marijuana dispensaries," Turner said. "We're not targeting marijuana dispensaries ... regardless of what that attorney is telling you."
Turner declined to provide further information but said the investigation is ongoing and more details would be released at the "appropriate" time.
Jeff Dorschner, a spokesman for Denver-based U.S. Attorney David Gaouette, said investigators are "intimately" familiar with Holder's order. He declined to release further information about the investigation.
"We are following those guidelines," Dorschner said.
- Article from The Coloradoan.