A day after a Colorado resident appeared on local TV to talk about his medical-marijuana operation, his home was raided by federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents, the Denver Post reported Feb. 13.
The raid came despite a recent directive from the Obama administration to federal agents not to interfere with individuals who are in “clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana.”
“It’s still a violation of federal law,” said Jeffrey Sweetin, DEA special agent in charge of Denver. “It’s not medicine. We’re still going to continue to investigate and arrest people.” The directive notes that “prosecution of commercial enterprises that unlawfully market and sell marijuana for profit continues to be an enforcement priority of the department.”
Chris Bartkowicz appeared on 9News in Denver last Thursday to discuss the marijuana grow operation in his basement, saying he was a medical-marijuana caregiver and expected to clear hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits. On Friday afternoon, DEA agents raided Bartkowicz’s home, seizing dozens of marijuana plants and growing equipment.
Sweetin said that every medical-marijuana dispensary in Colorado is in violation of federal law. “The time is coming when we go into a dispensary, we find out what their profit is, we seize the building and we arrest everybody,” he said. “They’re violating federal law; they’re at risk of arrest and imprisonment.” Matt Brown, director of Coloradans for Medical Marijuana Regulation, disputed that assessment and called on state lawmakers to draft clear rules for dispensary operations.