Federal officials are shutting down some Colorado medical marijuana dispensaries even though the shops aren't breaking any state or local laws.
The Colorado U.S. Attorney's Office has notified at least 23 dispensaries that the must move or close because they are within 1,000 feet from a school. The owners of Indispensary on Bijou Street in downtown Colorado Springs got a letter saying they would be subject to criminal prosecution and their store could be seized if they didn't close by February 27.
"Obviously, it's nullified our city council and nullifies our state government to a certain degree unless we choose to fight back," said Indispensary owner Judith Negley.
She said the shop is 910 feet from Palmer High School. State law says that local governments can decide the appropriate buffer zone between dispensaries and schools, and Negley is in line with Colorado Springs requirement of 400 feet.
"I think it's an assault on American principles," said Negley. "The majority of Colorado citizens voted for (medical marijuana), and this is an assault on their rights as citizens."
Other dispensaries in Colorado Springs, and across the state fear their letter may be coming this week. Owners are tracking the distance to the nearest school.
"I did the research and it's 1,300 square feet, but it all depends on property lines," said Cami Hall, owner of Trichome Health Consultants, on Colorado Avenue near West Elementary.
No one is sure how the the Justice Department is measuring the distance, whether it's door to door or property line to property line.
Hall said it will cost her more than $60,000 to move her shop, but she said she agrees that federal officials have to regulate the industry.
"Yes, it's frustrating, but at the same time, we'll do whatever we need to do to comply and respect our community and respect the parents and children."
The Colorado US Attorney's Office did not return our call for comment.