Attorney General's Office Releases Conclusions on Impact of Gonzales v. Raich on Colorado's Medical Marijuana Program

DENVER – Attorney General John Suthers today released his office’s legal conclusions concerning the impact the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, Gonzales, et al. V. Raich, et al (03-1454) on the Colorado constitutional amendment to operate a medical marijuana program.

The Attorney General’s Office found that the Raich decision, which ruled federal authorities can prosecute people for use and possession of marijuana, does not directly impact the viability of the Colorado constitutional amendment or the enabling statute allowing the program.

However, the Attorney General recommended that, in light of the Raich decision, Colorado registry patients be advised of the potential for federal prosecution.

In 2000, Colorado voters approved the use of medical marijuana for persons with debilitating medical conditions. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is designated by the governor pursuant to Colorado Constitution Article XVIII, Section 14(7) and charged with the operation and maintenance of the medical marijuana program in Colorado.

According to the Department of Public Health and Environment, 676 Coloradans currently are registered with the program.

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