The federal government and local law enforcement agencies are undertaking “enforcement actions” against medical marijuana businesses in Colorado today, executing search and seizure warrants at dispensaries and cultivation sites.
The Department of Justice did not reveal the reasons behind the move or how many businesses it targeted.
But several dispensaries and cultivation facilities are reportedly in the crosshairs – including VIP Wellness in Denver and Swiss Medical in Boulder – and the total number could stretch into double-digits.
The DOJ said in a statement that it will not provide any additional information going forward.
But it did claim that the actions are in line with the agency’s “recent guidance regarding marijuana enforcement matters.”
This seems to indicate that the government is targeting medical marijuana businesses that are violating the state’s MMJ program or the federal laws highlighted in the DOJ’s recent guidance.
The enforcement action today also could be tied to another issue: Agents from the Internal Revenue Service are involved, a sign that perhaps some of the businesses ran afoul of tax laws.
In August, the DOJ issued new guidelines for enforcing marijuana laws, saying federal prosecutors should focus on crimes such as the distribution of marijuana to minors; diverting cannabis to criminal enterprises and states where it’s not legal; using state-authorized MMJ activity for the trafficking of other illegal drugs; and growing marijuana on public lands.
The DOJ also announced that it would allow Colorado and Washington to move forward with their adult-use cannabis programs, so long as the two states develop strict rules and regulations an work to prevent diversion of marijuana to other areas of the country.
The announcements represented a ground-breaking moment for the cannabis industry, and optimism reached an all-time high.
But many professionals were skeptical, as the government has backtracked on similar promises in the past and ended up cracking down on the industry.
The raids come just weeks before recreational marijuana sales begin in Colorado.