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Colorado Medical Pot Opponents Applaud New Federal Effort

DENVER (CBS4) - The federal government has announced that it will be cracking down on the medical marijuana industry in California, and supporters and opponents of medical marijuana in Colorado are paying close attention.

Late last week California's four federal district attorneys announced that they will not allow large-scale, for-profit enterprises in the name of medical marijuana. (Full Story on

Colorado, like California, is one of 16 states where medical marijuana is legal under state law. Colorado also has one of the biggest medical pot industries in the country and so far the entanglement of federal and state rights over pot here hasn't been too strong.

Brian Vicente, a spokesman for Sensible Colorado, told CBS4 he's not sure how much Colorado might be affected by what's happening in California.

"It was certainly very alarming," he said. "It was one of the more bold and aggressive statements we've seen from the federal government on the issue of medical marijuana."

Vicente said that landlords who are looking to rent out their spaces to medical marijuana businesses might be less likely to do so now. There might also be some new fears for registered patients in Colorado.

"For patients that are concerned that if they go into a store the federal government could show up, it's going to give people pause," Vicente said.

Sgt. Jim Gerhardt of the Colorado Drug Investigators Association told CBS4 he hopes this is the beginning of a domino effect.

"Professionally, I'm very pleased that they're taking this action," he said. "We would like to see more states engaged, including Colorado, in this exact same framework."

California's regulations are different from Colorado's, but Gerhardt thinks momentum may be building for a widespread re-evaluation of medical marijuana dispensaries and the way they involved are prosecuted.

"If there is a crackdown in Colorado at some point in time, from my point of view, it could put the entire industry out of business," Gerhardt said.

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