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Colorado medical marijuana shops in federal crosshairs

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Earlier this month, federal prosecutors sent letters to 23 medical marijuana dispensaries in Colorado, ordering them to shut down or face criminal charges. Now the owners must decide: stay and fight, or go?

‘I feel like fighting,’ Diane Irwin, owner of Highland Health dispensary, told The Denver Post. ‘But I don’t want to go to jail, either.’

Irwin’s Denver business, which recently added a yoga room and more space for a hypnotherapist, is within 1,000 feet of a school. So were the others targeted by Colorado U.S. attorney John Walsh, who gave them until Feb. 27 to close.

Walsh told the Post that the dispensaries were a potential “threat to kids” because schools had seen a spike in drug-related violations as more medical cannabis outlets opened. Marijuana advocates said prosecutors were overreaching, particularly since the state has some of the nation’s toughest medical cannabis regulations.

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Medical pot has strong backing in Colorado. The state was the nation’s first to issue state-level business licenses for marijuana-related operations. Meanwhile, advocates are trying to get an initiative on the November ballot that would allow people 21 and older to legally posses up to an ounce of pot.

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--Ashley Powers in Las Vegas
twitter.com/ashleypowers


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