Update, 4:19 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 12: Two advocacy groups have weighed-in on the Department of Justice's actions: the Medical Marijuana Industry Group and the National Cannabis Industry Association.
"We are looking into the situation now," writes executive director of MMIG Michael Elliott in an e-mail. "We fully support keeping regulated substances out of the hands of unauthorized users and schools. Towards that end, MMIG is in the process of putting together, and will announce soon, the details of a public education campaign to help educate medical marijuana patients about how to keep their medicine safe and secure."
NCIA executive director Aaron Smith also sent a statement.
"These actions by the Department of Justice are mystifying," writes Smith. "Only one month after Attorney General Holder testified that going after individuals operating in compliance with state medical marijuana laws would not be a priority for his department, US Attorney John Walsh is shutting down some state-legal centers over what amounts to a zoning dispute. State and local governments can handle zoning issues. The Department of Justice should respect state and local officials and leave these business owners and their landlords alone."
Courtesy of MMIG, below are two redacted sample letters the U.S. Attorney's office sent to landowners and center owners, respectively.
——— Original post, 2:04 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 12 ———
The Denver Post is reporting that U.S. Attorney John Walsh, for the district of Colorado, has issued a press release confirming 23 medical marijuana centers located within 1,000 feet of schools have been warned to close within 45 days or face criminal action.
"When the voters of Colorado passed the limited medical marijuana amendment in 2000, they could not have anticipated that their vote would be used to justify large marijuana stores located within blocks of our schools," Colorado U.S. Attorney John Walsh said in a statement announcing the crackdown.
The possibility of such a move was first reported by a Denver TV station in mid-December, but was not confirmed then by any involved agency.
We've sent an e-mail and left a message with public information officer Jeff Dorschner seeking information on which centers, in addition to further questions. We'll update this blog if we hear back.