Garnett Steps Up To Defend Medical Marijuana Grower

More to this story than meets the eye politically speaking, the AP reports via FOX 31:

A Democrat running for Colorado attorney general says the federal government should lay off its prosecution of a suburban Denver pot grower.

Stan Garnett said in a statement Thursday that the pending federal case against Christopher Bartkowicz is “unjust and unnecessary.”

More from Democratic candidate Stan Garnett’s statement yesterday:

[T]he ongoing federal prosecution in Denver of medical marijuana grower Christopher Bartkowicz highlights his belief that currently, this complex issue is best dealt with primarily through land-use regulation, rather than the criminal courts. This prosecution, which threatens Mr. Bartkowicz with decades in prison for an activity he believed to be sanctioned under Colorado law as it was currently written, is unjust and unnecessary.

“John Suthers, a professed supporter of states’ rights, and obligated as the current Attorney General to defend Colorado law, should call on the U.S. Attorney to promptly and fairly reach a proportionate and just resolution of this case,” Garnett said. “Colorado needs thoughtful leadership on these complex legal matters. Mr. Suthers’ commitment to states’ rights and federalism is selective, and he raises the issue only if it comports with his socially conservative views.”

In case after case, the incumbent Attorney General has argued for the supremacy of states’ rights, although a closer look at his record reflects that when he moves to defend them, he does so in a fashion clearly meant only to satisfy the conservative wing of his political party – his opposition to gun laws, taking a swipe at gay rights, or the challenge to health care reform being just a few of the examples. If his defense of states’ rights is solid and sincere, the incumbent should stand equally strong in his defense of Colorado’s Amendment 20, said Garnett.

Like we said, there’s more to Garnett’s position on this case than a defense of the rights of this one pot grower to operate under state law. As the number of legal marijuana users has exploded in Colorado under Amendment 20 in recent years, a substantial number of young people and others not predisposed to politics have watched the wrangling over pot in this state with great interest. They already know, for example, that if incumbent John Suthers had his way, the feds would shut down every dispensary in the state–Colorado law or no Colorado law.

In California, a ballot initiative to fully decriminalize marijuana for personal use is up for a vote this year, and is widely expected to pass. What’s more, interest in this ballot initiative could provide an invaluable motivator for getting younger and more liberal voters out to the polls–reinforcements that just might change the game for Democrats on Election Day in that state.

Well, make no mistake, folks–word travels incredibly fast in the Colorado medical marijuana community about developments on issues pertinent to them. Every one of those 100,000+ medical marijuana patients in the state, and all of their friends, will have heard about Stan Garnett’s defense of Chris Bartkowicz before the weekend is out. And they’re going to love him for it.

Garnett may have just given thousands of voters Democrats need…a reason to show up after all.

23 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Aaron says:

    I really hope he wins.

  2. ProgressiveCowgirl says:

    I chuckled at a “young professionals” fundraiser with a hefty ticket price early in the Garnett campaign, and prejudged him as misunderstanding what, exactly, young professionals want from political candidates.

    Looks like he’s got a better tactic for appealing to the younger generation now. As someone who doesn’t smoke pot, never has, never will, but disapproves of the egregious human rights abuses inherent in the prohibition of a substance less harmful than alcohol or tobacco, I’m firmly on Garnett’s side after this statement and I’ll be sending him a few bucks and/or giving some volunteer hours.

    Sure, he’s saying this for personal gain, but it’s still ballsy to get involved in this issue. Though it shouldn’t be; a substantial minority of people believe that marijuana should be completely legal, and a significant majority support keeping the federal government out of Colorado’s voter-approved, compassionate medical marijuana program that helps thousands of suffering people who aren’t helped by pharmaceuticals.  

  3. GOPwarrior says:

    There are ten times as many Coloradans upset about Obamacare. ZZZZZzzz.

    Go John Suthers! Four more years!

    • sxp151 says:

      Hey look, our resident racist is checking in. Hadn’t heard from you, was getting worried you were burning a cross in front of an elementary school or something.

      • GOPwarrior says:

        I am not a racist, the NAACP lawyer I cited to back me up is not a racist, and screaming “racist!” every time you see me does not make it so.

        You complain about the “trolls,” but you don’t have anything to say either.

        • sxp151 says:

          You’re the one resorting to profanity because you don’t seem to have an actual argument defending your position.

          But I think you should find it telling that not even the craziest of your Republican buddies on this blog has ever defended your position on racial integration of schools.

          Why do you think that is? Because they’re scared of me? Hardly. Could be because you hold a genuinely racist view that they’re really ashamed of.

        • GalapagoLarry says:

          Just paying you a compliment — sincerest form of flattery, and all that.  

    • Rainidog says:

      There are NO parents in the whole state of Colorado who have children under 26 with no health insurance until now.  And NO cancer patients who need a second round of chemo to keep them alive but have been barred from treatment because of a cap on their insurance coverage.  And NO parents of babies with health problems who just breathed a sigh of relief because those babies now have insurance coverage.  And NO Coloradans who’ve put off checkups for years, received no preventive care because high deductibles meant they’d have to pay out of pocket.

      I await news of the march on the Capitol by the many thousands who just HATE “Obamacare.”

      • Libertad 2.0 says:

        But they don’t need to march, they can just vote. The true measure of HCR’s popularity or lack thereof in Colorado will be what happens with Amendment 63.

        And just so you know, a lot of people really don’t like it. Whether they don’t like it because of what it actually will do, or what the Republican fear machine have told them it will do is debatable, but it’s not rocket science. It’s not popular.

        • Rainidog says:

          an increase in its popularity, however.  And I expect we’ll see quite a lot written about the positive practical outcomes in people’s lives of what’s just gone into effect.

          Opinions can be changed in just a few weeks.  For instance, a year ago, it didn’t take long for opinions about Sarah Palin to begin sliding downhill.

          • Libertad 2.0 says:

            I wish it would, but it’s not.

            Check out Gallup

            AP (this one doesn’t talk HCR specifically, but it’s more bad news. A glimmer of hope shows that Republicans are disapproved of even more than Democrats, but 6 in 10 say their vote will be one showing opposition to Obama. IMO, much of this is due to sentiment on HCR.)

            CNN via Congressional Quarterly. (This one is the real meat and potatoes of the reason people don’t like the bill. They like the insurance regulation, but they HATE the mandated coverage.)

            Plus the Democrats have been absolutely god awful on messaging and I see no reason why that will change. It will be necessary for that to change for opinions to change.

            • GalapagoLarry says:

              The mandate is there to help pay for the reforms so they reduce the deficit, as promised. If righties HATE the mandate so much, where’s the alternative to increasing the deficit? The so-called TeaPub leadership “pledge” quite humorously, keeps the goodies of “Obamacare” but omits any sane way to pay for it. The funniest (actually hilarious) thing about the whole TeaPub “pledge” is there’s no genuine, realizable plan for payment. If kept, it absolutely has to increase the deficit astronomically. They’re just off on another round of tax-cut and spend. (Oh, my bad. Deficits are so last week.) Next time they roll up their sleeves and look ridiculous they should actually go to work. Lazy bastards.

              But your’re right: Dem leaders have been absolutely shitty about messaging. Lazy bastards.

              • Libertad 2.0 says:

                So far the Republicans are running on a plan that involves increasing the deficit nearly $1 trillion more than the Democrats’ plan.

                Unfortunately, you’re talking about the people who hate the mandated coverage in the poll like they’re the Tea Partiers. They’re not. They’re regular people who really don’t like it.

                Let’s put it this way, they like the Tea Partiers more than they like HCR. Of course, that’s likely to change after they get elected and prove to be even more incompetent than their Democratic predecessors were at fixing our problems.

        • Rainidog says:

          and since she now has a 17% approval rating, just equal to that of British Petroleum, I’d say having her take up the “repeal Obamacare” cudgel will help hasten the popularity of the bill.

          “Politicians who have vacillated on this issue need to be fired,” Palin wrote. “Candidates who don’t support ‘repeal and replace’ don’t deserve your support. No amount of money spent on Washington’s ‘government-wide apolitical public information campaign’ (otherwise known as ‘propaganda’) will convince Americans that this awful legislation is anything other than a debt-driven big government train wreck.”

          Now, if she was talkin’ about the medicare drug so-called benefit, she’d be correct for once.

  4. sloanslake says:


    so your ok with the federal government ignoring colorado’s state laws and going after an otherwise law abiding Colorado citizen and taking him away from his family for 60 years for the crime of growing plants in his house?

  5. Froward69 says:

    Funny I heard about this whilst I was out and about this morning. seems the echo chamber includes the Garden centers at Lowes, Home Depot and yes My favorite Dispensary.  

    the other topic of discussion was the fear starting to appear in Rush’s voice. (or was that the Oxycontin?)

    to register to vote… go to

  6. DenLawyer says:

    What do you call a medical marijuana grower with a beard?

    Hairy Potter

  7. sloanslake says:

    that’s a good joke!

  8. Interlocken Loop says:

    Stan Garnett has lots of great issues to choose from to attack Suthers.  Instead he seems each week to come up with either a dumb idea, a dumb commercial or a dumb issue

  9. OuiserBoudreaux says:

    It’s bizarre to criticize Suthers for the federal prosecution of this case.  Suthers obviously had nothing to do with it and has no say in it now.  Silly stuff, Stan!

  10. sloanslake says:

    @OuiserBoudreaux: I can’t believe you would be so callous to say that. What if it were YOU in trouble with the feds facing 60 years on prison?

    The Colorado Attorney General is the top lawyer for the state of Colorado AND IT’S CITIZENS yet somehow people think it’s alright that an otherwise law abiding Colorado citizen is getting railroaded by the feds while our current state AG does nothing?

    We elect AG’s to help citizens, you know, serve the state of Colorado and all that…we don’t elect them to ignore our citizens or the laws of our state as voted by our citizens.

    Stan Garnett is absolutely right to question Suther’s selective application of the AG’s office when enforcing laws (and helping citizens in need)

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