Feds seek to crack down on Colorado dispensaries
Less than a month after Colorado lawmakers formally called on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to ease controls on cannabis, federal authorities have announced plans to wage the same war on medical marijuana dispensaries in the Rocky Mountain State as they did in other states.
United States attorneys have already sent “cease-and-desist” letters to at least 23 Colorado dispensaries the feds say are located within 1,000 feet of schools. The dispensaries had all received permission from local authorities to operate at their locations, noted The Huffington Post.
The move comes three weeks after Colorado became the third state in the union to ask the DEA to reclassify cannabis as a Schedule II drug.
Legalization effort clears major hurdle
Volunteers for the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, a coalition of cannabis-rights groups, have announced they gathered nearly twice as many signatures as legally required to put a marijuana legalization initiative before Colorado voters.
The coalition needed 86,105 signatures from registered voters to qualify the bill for the November ballot. In January, volunteers turned in nearly 160,000 signatures, giving the effort a comfortable margin should some of the signatures be declared invalid by state officials.
The Colorado Secretary of State’s office has begun a line-by-line review of the signatures and has until Feb. 3 to verify the petition.
Lawmakers propose medical marijuana credit union
Saying that Colorado’s medical marijuana dispensaries cannot be properly regulated unless they’re able to bank their revenue, a state lawmaker has announced plans to create a kind of state-mandated credit union to service the operations.
Colorado dispensaries have been at loose ends on how to process their revenue since the last bank in the state willing to do business with them shut down cannabis-industry accounts in October. The plan, proposed by Democratic state Sen. Pat Steadman, would clear the way for dispensary operators to join and process their money through a state-monitored financial cooperative.
It is not yet known when the state legislature will consider Steadman’s proposal.