January 29, 2010

DEA Raids Colorado Marijuana Laboratory

January 29, 2010

For those of you that thought the feds stepped away from the medical marijuana scene, think again. Wednesday the DEA raided ‘Full Spectrum Laboratories’ in Colorado, and seized dozens of medical marijuana samples and records (see story). None of the lab’s equipment was seized, nor was anyone arrested. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced last year that the feds would not bother medical marijuana program participants as long as they were in compliance with state laws. However, he also made it a point to say that they would still go after people that were believed to be using the laws for illegal practices. The DEA refused to discuss an ongoing investigation, and only stated that the raid was part of an investigation of a large scale criminal enterprise.

This could be bad news for dispensary owners in other areas of Colorado and other states that allow dispensaries. Dispensaries themselves are not illegal; it’s the ENOURMOUS profits that they are making that are illegal, at least according to the DEA. The feds will turn a blind eye to people using a substance for medical purposes, but making millions of dollars off of something that is still considered illegal by the feds is another story. It will be interesting to see how this pans out. If you are a dispensary that operates as a non-profit, you don’t have anything to worry about. But if you are operating under the assumption that you can make money hand over fist, and have nothing to worry about, you might want to re-evaluate your business model.

Full Spectrum Laboratories is the company that is going to decide the winner of Colorado’s medical cannabis competition. There has been no word on how this will affect the competition, but I think it is safe to say that the competition will go forward unimpeded. The feds confiscated medicine and records as part of an investigation, yet didn’t make any arrests or take any equipment. Based off of criminal cases I studied in school, this would signal that the investigation is directed at specific patients of the lab, not the lab itself. However, with the DEA refusing to comment, and the long history of illogical behavior at the federal level, anything can happen. TWB will monitor this situation and report any developments as they happen.



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