In early January, United States Attorney John Walsh issued threatening letters to 23 Colorado dispensaries in close proximity to schools, advising them to move or risk forfeiture. The letters gave the business-owners, who were otherwise operating legally under state law, 45 days to move. Today was the final day, and according to all accounts, dispensaries have begrudgingly complied.
Whether this proves a compliance with a federally-marijuana-unfriendly government or simply a fear of losing more money in litigation isn't clear. The Denver Post reports that Mike Elliott, the executive director of the Medical Marijuana Industry Group, hasn't heard of any of the targeted dispensaries standing their ground on the matter - most have either closed down indefinitely or closed temporarily while they move to a new location.
The Westword has contacted U.S. Attorneys Office spokesman Jeff Dorschner, who told them that no enforcements have had to be made, which presumably means all targeted dispensaries voluntarily closed. The Gazette mentions that some dispensary owners faced another tough decision as the deadline closed in: what to do with product? Judy Negley, one of the owners of The Indispensary, couldn't liquidate all of her stock in time. She sold some of it at 50% off, but according to Colorado law, was not able to sell it below cost. "I would have given it away to the patients who really needed it," says Negley.
The federal government, unfortunately, will get the wrong idea from these compliant closures; since their first round of sabre-rattling letters proved effective, U.S. Attorneys will undoubtedly send, as promised, another round.