A reader writes:
Shoddy work on the headline. Wasn’t it clear from the article that the directive from Holder and Obama was ignored. Blow off my order, at one branch of a branch of the Justice Department, and oh yeah baby, I’m caving. If anything, this story demonstrates that both medical marijuana sellers and DEA supervisors in Colorado don’t see the upside of keeping a tighter hold on broadcasting their own accomplishments.
I'm 100% in favor of legalization, but I'm happy with the medical marijuana compromise. I think you might be a little harsh on Obama, because they probably got this guy for a good reason.
I'm not familiar with Colorado's exact laws, but the way medical pot growing works is that the grower gets patients to list him or her as caretaker, and is allowed X number of plants per permit. I live in Hawaii, and each permit is good for 7 plants, and one grower can have a max of 5 permits good for 35 plants. In California, one grower could be caretaker for hundreds of people, which allows largescale warehouse operations to run perfectly legally.
Like I said, I don't know about Colorado's laws, but it is very likely based on the Denver Post article that this guy has too many plants given the number of patients he is caretaker for. If he bragged that he is making hundreds of thousands of dollars, then he must have a very large operation, and that would give the feds probably cause to raid him based on the fact that he is violating state law.
I've been arguing for years that pot should be taxed and regulated, so I'm not going to bend over backwards defending people who break those regulations. It is also exceedingly foolish for growers to brag about their operation, and especially their profits. They become a target of not only law enforcement, but violent criminals.
Sensible Colorado, a marijuana advocacy group, posts on their website:
The Colorado Health Department previously had an informal policy prohibiting a caregiver from being responsible for more than 5 patients at a time. However, in 2007 Sensible Colorado filed a lawsuit on behalf of a licensed patient who had been denied his choice of caregiver and this informal policy was nullified by the court. Thanks to Sensible Colorado’s efforts in this landmark case, caregivers may now manage the well being of as many patients as they are capable of serving.
Full Q&A here. Another reader writes:
Your post on this caught my eye, since I've gotten my recent weed here in New Mexico from a medical grower in Colorado (via a black market friend). It is without doubt the most high-quality ganja I've ever had, a true marvel of the botanical arts. My first thought was I hope the grower busted was not my dude
However, I'm not too surprised there's been some kind of crackdown. I spent some time in Denver this summer, and wow, the medical pot business is booming. I was a little taken aback at how open it is. So a pushback or muscle flex by the feds is not unexpected, and a single incident does not yet mean Obama is caving.
I'm fascinated by the cultural tide on this issue, though. In my dreams the legalization of marijuana in the U.S. will come like the fall of the Berlin wall. There are signs, like the California vote to legalize this fall, that give hope. But I suspect attitudes are different in, say, Alabama. I'm guessing Nate Silver's estimate of 10 years is about right.