Monday, November 25, 2013

Feds Raid Colorado Marijuana Dispensaries

On Thursday, federal agents raided numerous marijuana dispensaries and growing sites in Colorado and confiscated plants and cartons of cannabis-infused drinks. These federal raids occurred just weeks before Colorado's marijuana retailers were slated to open their doors.

At the center of this raid, is a Miami man who was busted for trying to fence half-million dollars in jewels. Juan Guardarrama was named as one of the ten target subjects in the DEA raids last week. In the past, Guardarrama has been arrested for pulling a gun on a driver, extortion, illegal bookmaking, and a slew of other offenses.

While Guardarrama is originally from Florida, he moved to Denver after his arrest in Miami. There he was arrested this past February for jewel thievery and many believe he has worked with drug cartels in Colombia. At the moment, his exact involvement in the drug raids is unclear.

In August, the Justice Department went on record saying that they would not interfere with states' rights to legalize marijuana, but warned that they would not hesitate if businesses broke state or federal laws. This included keeping children away from marijuana, not developing black markets, and keeping marijuana off of federal land.

Federal agents raided more than a dozen dispensaries and cultivation facilities in Denver alone and at least two private residences. While they wouldn't give specific reasons for the raids, they did say that one of the eight federal concerns around marijuana was violated. Several of those concerns revolve around illegal trafficking and money laundering.

"While the investigation is ongoing, there are strong indications that more than one of the eight federal prosecution priorities identified in the Department of Justice's August guidance memo are potentially implicated."
                           --Jeff Dorschner, U.S. Department of Justice

On Aug. 29, 2013, the U.S. Justice Department issued a memo revealing the federal government would not stand in the way of states' rights to legalize marijuana. The memo also warned, however, that the federal government would still aggressively enforce eight areas of concern surrounding legalized marijuana:

• Preventing distribution to minors
• Preventing marijuana revenue from going to criminal enterprises
• Preventing diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal to states where it is not
• Preventing state-authorized marijuana activity from being to hide trafficking of other illegal drugs or other illegal activity
• Preventing violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana
• Preventing drugged driving
• Preventing the growing of marijuana on public lands
• Preventing marijuana possession on federal property

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