Ahead of a scheduled speech by President Obama on Colorado's CU Boulder campus, a press conference is being held by the National Cannabis Industry Association to ask the nation's leader to call off the federal crackdown on the marijuana industry.
Aaron Smith, executive director of the NCIA, hopes to remind President Obama about his prior statements that the marijuana industry was not a priority of his administration, and that he'd leave decisions on legality up to the states.
The conference is being held right now at The Hill Cannabis Club and Wellness Center.
Smith says that the medical marijuana clinics targeted in two recent waves of move-or-forfeit letters by U.S. Attorney John Walsh, "were in clear compliance with the law -- and if they weren't, we have a Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division here in Colorado that's tasked with dealing with it. So we want the president to see that this is a major issue in Colorado and rein in his Justice Department."
Smith also notes that support for marijuana is across party lines - as well as demographics for age. "It makes no political sense to assault state-legal medical marijuana providers that create jobs, pay taxes and strengthen communities," says Smith, "when they have such overwhelming public support" (in both political parties).
Smith and the NCIA hope that Obama can see the sense in stopping the federal crackdown from both a policy and political stance; "Medical marijuana is not going away," says Smith. The best way to get this medicine to its patients, he continues, is through a regulated model like the one in Colorado.
Other speakers at the NCIA event include Mark Belkin, UFCW Local 7's community affairs and organizing director, dispensary owners Kim Riese and Mike Matthews, and Chelsey Joseph, a CU-Boulder student and employee of Colorado Dispensary Services