HUFFINGTON POST: The Associated Press reports that federal officials are beginning a California-style crackdown on medical marijuana businesses in Colorado. As CBS4 originally reported in December when rumors of crackdown were beginning to take shape, the crackdown will be focused on medical marijuana businesses that are within 1,000 feet of schools. They must shut down within 45 days or face federal penalties. Letters were sent out to 23 medical marijuana businesses in Colorado on Thursday, according to The Denver Post. This is the most aggressive law-enforcement action that the federal government has pursued in the state. […] This comes after a December poll released by Public Policy Polling showing that a majority of Coloradans believe that marijuana should not just be legal medically, but fully legalized. The Colorado Independent reports that the Public Policy Polling data “flies in the face of statements made by a number of legislators over the past year that if voters knew what they were in for, they would never have approved medical marijuana in the first place.” Art Way, Colorado manager for the Drug Policy Alliance, went even further telling the Independent that, “decision-makers and elected officials really just don’t have the pulse of the people they represent. The average person considers the federal position that marijuana has ‘no medical value’ to be a joke.” Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) echoed a similar sentiment when he told HuffPost back in Nov. 2011:
There are more pressing issues facing federal law enforcement so it makes no sense for them to waste time and taxpayer money interfering with state-legal businesses that voters have approved, that are well-regulated, and that generate jobs and economic activity. Colorado has the nation’s strictest regulatory system, which means our dispensaries operate transparently and legitimately. I should hope that the federal government would focus its resources on keeping Americans safe from crime rather than interfering with a legal business that benefits Colorado’s economy. MORE
RELATED: Two decapitated bodies were found inside a burning SUV early Wednesday at the entrance to one of Mexico’s most luxurious malls, feeding fears drug violence is infiltrating privileged realms previously thought safe. Police recovered the mutilated bodies before dawn off a toll highway at a shopping mall entrance in the heart of the Santa Fe district that’s a haven for international corporations, diplomats and the wealthy. The heads and a threatening message were dumped a few yards away, Mexico City prosecutors said in a statement. Hours later, the government released a drug war body count recording more than 47,500 victims in five years, echoing independent death tolls tabulated by Mexican media. MORE
RELATED: Pop quiz! Who is the worst president in U.S. history when it comes to medical marijuana? According to the Marijuana Policy Project, the answer is Barack Obama. […] Among the administration’s recent moves:
• In September, the ATF sent a letter [PDF] to all federal firearms licensees instructing them that anyone who uses marijuana — even for medical purposes — cannot legally possess firearms or ammunition.
• Last week, the IRS ruled that medical marijuana dispensaries cannot deduct standard business expenses — such as rent, employee health insurance, security, licensing fees or payroll — from their tax returns, in what observers say could be a crushing blow to the industry.
• And on Friday, federal authorities in California — the country’s largest marijuana market — launched a coordinated, statewide offensive against medical marijuana dispensaries, announcing a series of civil forfeiture lawsuits and warning at least 16 to shut down or face criminal charges and confiscation of property. MORE
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LOS ANGELES TIMES: Marijuana has been approved by California, many other states and the nation’s capital to treat a range of illnesses, but in a decision announced Friday the federal government ruled that it has no accepted medical use and should remain classified as a highly dangerous drug like heroin. The decision comes almost nine years after medical marijuana supporters asked the government to reclassify cannabis to take into account a growing body of worldwide research that shows its effectiveness in treating certain diseases, such as glaucoma and multiple sclerosis. Advocates for the medical use of the drug criticized the ruling but were elated that the Obama administration has finally acted, which allows them to appeal to the federal courts. The decision to deny the request was made by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and comes less than two months after advocates asked the U.S. Court of Appeals to force the administration to respond to their petition. “We have foiled the government’s strategy of delay, and we can now go head-to-head on the merits,” said Joe Elford, the chief counsel for Americans for Safe Access and the lead attorney on the lawsuit. Elford said he was not surprised by the decision, which comes after the Obama administration announced it would not tolerate large-scale commercial marijuana cultivation. “It is clearly motivated by a political decision that is anti-marijuana,” he said. MORE
RELATED: Consider public statements by Obama and Holder that contradict the position the administration is now taking. In a March 2008 interview with Oregon’s Mail Tribune, Obama said, “I’m not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue.” Two months later, when another Oregon paper, Willamette Week, asked Obama whether he would “stop the DEA’s raids on Oregon medical marijuana growers,” he replied, “I would, because I think our federal agents have better things to do.” MORE