Jan 17, 2012 12:50 AM by John Romero

Some medical marijuana businesses told to pack up

Late last week around 23 medical marijuana businesses all over the state received a letter from U.S. Attorney John Walsh. In it he says the businesses are located within 1000 feet of a school and have until February 27th to get out.

Judith Negley is one of those business owners. For nearly 31 years she has been an owner of several Independent Records. About a year and a half ago the business expanded to include three medical marijuana dispensaries called ‘Indispensary', including one in Bijou near Palmer High School where her own daughter attends. "It's discouraging from a personal perspective that our federal government, or what we call our federal government, would send this letter out." she says.

Negley says she's frustrated with the letter. With just over a month to comply she will have to move her shop which she says will cost a buddle. But even more frustrating for this long time businesswoman, agreements already made with city council. She believes the letter is a violation of her 10th Amendment rights. "Our city council did allow for a closer distance to schools." she says, "It was 400 feet. We took that in good faith."

Mike Elliott is with the Medical Marijuana Industry Group in Denver. They act as a sort of trade association for the mmj businesses as well as an advocate for the centers. He says his industry has already done everything possible to try and legitimize themselves. "By putting the tough regulations in place and lots of controls over the industry, we are trying to show the federal government as well as the state and local governments and the public in general that medical marijuana can be responsibly sold in Colorado." he explains.

As for Negley, she and her business partners are now planning to move their Downtown Bijou location. She plans to open more centers and follow the law. "We'll do our very best to replicate on another level while complying with any and every thing that's thrown at us. As much as we can." she says.

It's also important to note that state regulations say medical marijuana businesses can't be within 1000 feet of a school. Because there's currently a moratorium on new medical marijuana businesses in the city of Colorado Springs, it's yet to be determined how businesses like Indispensary will be treated. We'll keep you posted.



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