Colorado Medical Marijuana Industry, Cannabis Leaders Draw Attention to MMJ During Obama Visit

Cannabis advocates and leaders from Colorado medical marijuana organizations gathered this afternoon to send a clear message to President Obama: Leave the state’s MMJ industry alone.

During a press conference held at a dispensary in Boulder, speakers praised Colorado’s heavily regulated medical cannabis program. They also urged the federal government to shift its attention from cracking down on state-sanctioned marijuana businesses to creating jobs, fighting crime and other issues that concern residents.

Aaron Smith, the executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, said in a press release before the event that recent actions taken by U.S. Attorney John Walsh  to force the closure of some Colorado dispensaries has a tangible economic impact.

“For every medical marijuana center closed by the order of U.S. Attorney Walsh, jobs are lost, contractors lose vital business, and license fees can no longer be collected,” said Smith, who spoke at the press conference. “The U.S. Attorney tells us he is planning to target nearly 200 legitimate Colorado businesses, which could cost the state over 1,000 jobs as Colorado is struggling to recover from a deep recession and get its economy back on track. We are asking President Obama to do for employees of medical marijuana businesses what he does for employees of every other business: protect their jobs.”

The gathering was tied to Obama’s visit to the University of Colorado, where the president is reaching out to younger voters by addressing issues such as rising rates for student loans.

Several MMJ industry groups participated in the press conference, including the Cannabis Business Alliance and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, which represents marijuana dispensary workers. Representatives from pro-patient organizations and marijuana advocacy groups such as ACT 4 Colorado and Sensible Colorado lent their support as well.