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CannaBiz: Uncertainty surrounds CBS4 report



Smoke or fire?

On Dec. 8, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder reiterated the Justice Department's support for the Ogden memo, which in 2009 stated that federal prosecution of medical marijuana sale and use in states that have legalized it is low priority. Denver's CBS4 reported that federal action against Colorado MMJ centers within 1,000 feet of schools is "imminent."

The unsourced TV report said centers and grow operations fitting that description soon will receive letters indicating they have 45 days to relocate, or otherwise will be shut down. It also suggested the plan could be part of a larger crackdown.

If true, many local businesses would be affected: Colorado Springs has required only a 400-foot buffer from schools, and El Paso County, 500 feet. The 1,000-foot measurement apparently is being considered because that distance appears in federal law as a factor in drug crime sentencing.

Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Colorado, said in an e-mail that he saw the TV report but "I have to decline comment."

A national spokesman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says he's unaware of any "pending changes" but suggested we contact the Denver DEA bureau. Calls to that office were not returned.

Cool in Cripple Creek

After confusion and uproar last month about what kind of cultivation Cripple Creek would allow, its four-member City Council and mayor have unanimously approved a new ordinance regulating grow light pollution, exhaust fan noise, escaping odors, space requirements and other code-type issues related to homegrown medical marijuana.

The Council previously banned MMJ retail centers, commercial grow operations and infused-product manufacturers within city limits. But under voter-approved state law, caregivers and card-carrying patients may grow a limited number of plants in their residences. The new regs' message: If you're legally growing under state law, don't be a nuisance.

It's not that police or officials have received complaints, city administrator Ray White tells the Indy. They simply wanted to be "proactive" in regulating private cultivation. "I'm surprised it's generated so much interest and discussion," he says.

Some complained that the ordinance indicates the city condones the activity. Not true, White counters: "It's more of a bookkeeping issue to provide an intermediate step for homegrown medical marijuana ..."

Plants cannot be perceptible from outside residences; neighbors cannot be impacted by odor, signage, exhaust fan sound or light pollution; growing space is confined to 150 contiguous feet in a single-family dwelling and 100 feet in a multi-family unit; and growing is not allowed in garages, sheds or greenhouses.

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