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Medical marijuana dispensary owners fear federal raids

By Rana Novini, Anchor/Reporter, r.novini@krdo.com
Published On: Jul 25 2013 11:42:35 PM CDT

Federal agents with the Drug Enforcement Agency raided medical marijuana dispensaries in Washington state on Wednesday. Some claim the agents are also seizing personal properties.

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. -

Federal agents with the Drug Enforcement Agency raided medical marijuana dispensaries in Washington state on Wednesday.  Some claim the agents are also seizing personal properties.  

The heart of the issue is state law vs. federal law. Medical marijuana may be legal in states like Washington and Colorado, but in the eyes of the federal government, it's not.

KRDO NewsChannel 13 reached out to a dozen local dispensaries for comment on federal raids.  Most did not want to speak in fear of retaliation.  One store owner said he was well aware of the risk and accepted it before entering the business.

KC Stark, owner of Marijauna Business Academy, told KRDO NewsChannel 13 that people should not be afraid.  Stark doesn't think federal agents would raid Colorado dispensaries.

"They respect Colorado," Stark said.  "They've shown that as long as you're following the rules, we're all still in business."

The mayor of Manitou Springs disagreed.

"If I was somebody considering this business, I'd be very concerned with the federal government's response," said Marc Synder.

Manitou Springs City Council will decide whether or not to ban recreational marijuana at an open meeting on August 13th.  Snyder said that, though he cannot speak for the entire council, they will probably allow recreational sales because the majority of voters approved it.  Snyder said he thinks state law should trump federal law.

Snyder said that news of raids in other states would be discussed at the meeting. 

Colorado Spring City Council voted Tuesday to ban the sale of recreational marijuana.  Unincorporated El Paso County voted to opt out months ago.  Other southern Colorado cities, including Woodland Park, Green Mountain Falls, Monument and Pueblo, have also either banned or placed a temporary moratorium on the sale of recreational marijuana. 

Snyder said he doesn't want Manitou Springs to be the pot mecca of southern Colorado, but the city also had to consider the potential tourism revenue.

Stark maintains that eventually the voice of voters in Colorado will be heard.

"The people have spoken," Stark said.  "It's our government, not theirs.  We are the people represented by the people."

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