After receiving warning letters from the federal government, 25 medical marijuana dispensaries in Colorado that were located near schools have shut down. The letters from Colorado U.S. Attorney John Walsh said they must close, or potentially face criminal prosecution.
The letters, sent March 23, gave the dispensaries 45 days to close, according to The Denver Post. This was the second round of letters sent to dispensaries in the state, the article notes. The first round, which was sent earlier this year, led to the closing of 23 medical marijuana stores. A third round of letters is expected in the near future, the article notes.
Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett wrote Walsh a letter in March asking the federal government to stop targeting medical marijuana dispensaries that follow state and local law. Walsh responded in a letter that noted the Justice Department has authorized federal prosecutors to use their discretion in dealing with marijuana trafficking.
Last fall, United States attorneys in California told dozens of marijuana dispensaries they must close or face criminal and civil action. Federal agents and police raided dispensaries in Washington state last November.
Colorado has 80,558 state residents with medical marijuana cards as of November 2011, according to the state Department of Public Health. There is much debate within Colorado about medical marijuana—85 communities in the state have banned or stopped openings of dispensaries.