U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Boulder, wants "rogue" federal agents to lay off medical marijuana dispensaries after a raid at the home of Highlands Ranch grower on Feb. 12.
Tuesday, Polis sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to instruct agents to abide by the Justice Department's Oct. 19 directive to allow deference to state laws on legalized medical marijuana use, or to clarify the new position.
Polis posted his letter this afternoon on the progressive political website Square State. In a preamble he referred to "rogue agents ... harassing and raiding our medical marijuana dispensaries."
Reached by phone in Washington this evening, Polis also invoked the White House.
"I think President Obama has clearly stated his position on respecting states that have voted to allow medical marijuana," he said. "I believe the words and action of the agent in charge is in contradiction to the will of the voters of Colorado."
In the letter, he noted a Denver Post story on Feb. 13 that quoted DEA agent Jeffrey Sweetin as saying, "We're still going to continue to investigate and arrest people ... Technically, every dispensary in the state is in blatant violation of federal law."
The grower, Chris Bartkowicz, is free on $10,000 bond after his arrest on a drug-distribution charge. Drug Enforcement Administration agents seized 224 marijuana plants.
He did not return a call for comment this evening.
Justice Department and DEA spokespeople were not immediately available for comment.
Experts have called the case precedent-setting.
"It strikes fear in the hearts of many medical marijuana patients in Colorado, and that's unfortunate," Polis said in an interview.
By Joey Bunch
February 24, 2010
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Polis wants feds to pull back on med pot raids