Stan Garnett, Boulder County District Attorney, is stepping up in the fight of legal marijuana. Garnett wants the federal prosecutors to back off of enforcement efforts against medical marijuana businesses that comply with state and local law.
Garnett wrote a letter Tuesday to U.S. Attorney John Walsh that said local regulations of the medical marijuana industry were working well, and medical marijuana enforcement should not be a law enforcement priority. This comes just after federal prosecutors prepare to send another round of enforcement letters to dispensaries that are within 1,000 feet of a school. “Although we will prosecute significant marijuana distribution and possession cases that are outside the medical marijuana dispensary framework, there is a limited role for criminal enforcement relating to medical marijuana dispensaries,” Garnett wrote.
Garnett, along with most of us, believes the U.S. Attorney’s Office should focus on”terrorism, serious economic crime, organized crime and serious drug dealing like meth, heroin and cocaine. Also in the letter, Garnett said state and local rules are working to keep the medical marijuana industry compatible with community standards, and the businesses provide significant tax revenue.
“The people of Boulder County do not need Washington, D.C., or the federal government dictating how far dispensaries should be from schools or other fine points of local land use law,” Garnett wrote. Garnett asked Walsh not to pursue action against any Boulder County dispensaries that are otherwise compliant with state and local rules. “Speaking solely on behalf of myself as the District Attorney in the 20th Judicial District, I am urging you to exercise your prosecutorial discretion to back away from the threatened criminal prosecution of medical marijuana dispensaries in Boulder County if they are compliant with state law and local land use regulations,” Garnett wrote.
“In my opinion, such prosecution would serve no practical purpose, would expend important resources and would be very disruptive to communities who have spent significant time and resources exercising their right of local control to balance the competing issues around medical marijuana,” he added.