The Feds Raid Denver Dispensaries

by lizard

Back in August, this is what Eric Holder had to say about Washington and Colorado legalizing cannabis:

The United States government took a historic step back from its long-running drug war on Thursday, when Attorney General Eric Holder informed the governors of Washington and Colorado that the Department of Justice would allow the states to create a regime that would regulate and implement the ballot initiatives that legalized the use of marijuana for adults.

A Justice Department official said that Holder told the governors in a joint phone call early Thursday afternoon that the department would take a “trust but verify approach” to the state laws. DOJ is reserving its right to file a preemption lawsuit at a later date, since the states’ regulation of marijuana is illegal under the Controlled Substances Act.

The “Justice” Department did make it clear there were eight priorities it would reserve the right to prosecute individuals/entities over:

  • the distribution of marijuana to minors;
  • revenue from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, gangs and cartels;
  • the diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal under state law in some form to other states;
  • state-authorized marijuana activity from being used as a cover or pretext for the trafficking of other illegal drugs or other illegal activity;
  • violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana
  • drugged driving and the exacerbation of other adverse public health consequences associated with marijuana use;
  • growing of marijuana on public lands and the attendant public safety and environmental dangers posed by marijuana production on public lands;
  • preventing marijuana possession or use on federal property.

It’s the cartel priority that is allegedly behind the recent raids in Denver:

Colorado marijuana businesses raided this week by federal agents are being investigated for a possible connection to Colombian drug cartels, sources told The Denver Post on Friday.

Three sources who have knowledge of the investigation spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the case.

Investigators believe the raided businesses were all “one big operation,” one source said.

On Thursday, federal agents swarmed more than a dozen dispensaries and grow warehouses in Denver, Commerce City and Boulder County, according to sources. At least two homes were also targeted.

I’m skeptical of this rationale because I think the federal government is cozy with their preferred cartel clients, a rather audacious claim seemingly backed up by internal Stratfor emails leaked by Barrett Brown, who is currently serving 10 years in federal prison.

I wrote a post about this back in June, titled Leaks, Fast and Furious. In that post I highlight this quote:

Leaked emails from the private U.S. security firm Stratfor cite a Mexican diplomat who says the U.S. government works with Mexican cartels to traffic drugs into the United States and has sided with the Sinaloa cartel in an attempt to limit the violence in Mexico.

Many people have doubted the quality of Stratfor’s intelligence, but the information from MX1—a Mexican foreign service officer who doubled as a confidential source for Stratfor—seems to corroborate recent claims about U.S. involvement in the drug war in Mexico.

Most notably, the reports from MX1 line up with assertions by a Sinaloa cartel insider that cartel boss Joaquin Guzman is a U.S. informant, the Sinaloa cartel was “given carte blanche to continue to smuggle tons of illicit drugs into Chicago,” and Operation Fast and Furious was part of an agreement to finance and arm the Sinaloa cartel in exchange for information used to take down rival cartels.

The US government, through rogues agencies like the CIA, has a sordid history of drug trafficking, going back to the Vietnam war. It would be more surprising if those activities had actually stopped.

  1. Why are we spending money on this?

  2. Two points, only loosely connected:

    1. This is why we need to scrap federal drug laws – the threaten State’s rights like nothing else. Drugs that stay inside state borders ought to be regulated by State law only, the Federal government involved only by request.

    2. Why do Americans use more drugs than almost any other country, despite relatively strict drug laws? Two parts of this make me angry. One, it’s essentially proof that our drug policy is not working, and powerful people know its not working, and they like it that way because they know that the drug economy produces all manner of positive effects for them, and two, many liberal, progressive people remain enthusiastic consumers in this trade even though they claim to be cognizant of its deleterious effects on their political aims on the the people they identify with.

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