+Silverblue Posted May 16, 2010 Report Share Posted May 16, 2010 Polis Presses AG on Pot Raids POLIS PRESSES AG ON POT RAIDS Holder Says Federal Agents Have Other Priorities and That Only Certain Cases Would Merit Action. WASHINGTON - Rep. Jared Polis on Thursday quizzed Attorney General Eric Holder about federal enforcement of marijuana laws in states such as Colorado, which have approved it for medical use and are seeing a growing number of dispensaries. In his first appearance as a new member of the House Judiciary Committee, the Boulder Democrat, who recently held a "coffee with your congressman" event at a coffee shop adjoining a dispensary in Nederland, quizzed Holder about comments from a federal Drug Enforcement Administration agent suggesting the Justice Department was planning to raid dispensaries in Colorado. Not so, Holder said, citing higher enforcement priorities and pointing to a directive by the deputy attorney general outlining the specific criteria under which the feds would take an interest in shutting down dispensaries operating legally under state law. "There are a variety of factors that are contained within the memo . . . that United States attorneys and assistant United States attorneys are supposed to apply, supposed to consider, when trying to make the determination about whether or not federal resources are going to be used to go after somebody who is dealing in marijuana," he said. Polis seemed satisfied with the answer. "I would certainly encourage that the question of whether or not it's consistent with state law certainly be left to state enforcement actions," the lawmaker said. Polis' questions were in reference to comments made by the DEA's head agent in Colorado, Jeffrey Sweetin, after the arrest of a man with a large growing operation in his Highlands Ranch home. Sweetin contends Christopher Bartkowicz, 36, was operating outside of state law by having far more plants than he had patients he was serving. That, plus Bartkowicz's prior criminal record and his operation's proximity to a school, led the DEA to his doorstep. After the arrest, Sweetin said he believes dispensaries are illegal under federal law and said the deputy attorney general's memo does not prevent him from raiding them if he thinks there's a reason to do so. Sweetin later said he wouldn't raid a dispensary unless there were "aggravating factors." Polis is co-sponsoring a pending bill that would allow defendants charged with drug possession in federal court to argue that they were in compliance with state medical-marijuana laws. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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