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Why the DEA Raided Highlands Ranch in Colorado


The DEA conducted another raid in Colorado (see the link below). I was going to write an article about this Saturday, when a reader brought it to my attention, but the details were so murky that I wanted to wait until there was a public comment from the DEA. Such comments have since came out, which made the situation a bit less murky.

Some of the facts are pretty straight forward; the DEA raided the Highlands Ranch home of Chris Bartkowicz on Friday, and seized over 120 marijuana plants. KUSA-TV had recently interviewed Bartkowicz about being a medical marijuana grower, at which time Mr. Bartkowicz made the claim that he was planning on earning ‘around $400,000 a year’ from his garden.

Before any details came out, the pro-marijuana community was up in arms over what appeared to be a clear defiance (by the DEA) of the Obama administration’s new policy toward state medical marijuana programs. In October the administration issued a memo which stated that “prosecution of individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses who use marijuana as part of a recommended treatment regimen consistent with applicable state law, or those caregivers in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state law who provide such individuals with marijuana, is unlikely to be an efficient use of limited federal resources.” Most people already knew that part of the memo. However, it seems that few people read the next sentence, which states “On the other hand, prosecution of commercial enterprises that unlawfully market and sell marijuana for profit continues to be an enforcement priority of the Department.”

Here is the link to the memo; EVERY person involved in medical marijuana in ANY way should read it:


Jeffrey Sweetin was the special agent that ordered the raid. He pointed to the memo as justification for his actions. He stated, “Four-hundred-thousand dollars a year goes beyond ‘I’m just a caregiver for sick people.’” Sweetin claimed that he was also concerned about the grow-site’s proximity to an elementary school in a residential neighborhood, as well as the amount of power that was being used for the garden. The DEA special agent also pointed out the fact that Bartkowicz was in clear violation of Colorado law, because he does not have enough patients to necessitate 120 plants.

One fact that the DEA didn’t point out, but that is valid, is the fact that cultivating over 100 plants is a federal offense, regardless of any memo or state law. Colorado currently allows 6 plants per patient, which means that Mr. Bartkowicz would have to be a caretaker for 20+ people. A caretaker can be allowed to exceed the limits per card, but only with doctor approval. This can be used as a defense at trial, but only if a doctor can show records that it was discussed with the caretaker PRIOR to the charges being filed. It is unclear whether this is the case with Mr. Bartkowicz.

The day after the raid, medical marijuana lawyer Robert Corry filed a complaint against the Justice Department and the DEA, alleging ‘waste, fraud, abuse, and misconduct.’ It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Had Mr. Bartkowicz maintained a low profile, this case would be much easier to defend at trial. His lawyer could claim that he was in compliance with state laws, that there is evidence that he was allowed to exceed his limits according to his physician, and that he was simply providing a service for ill patients. BUT WHEN YOU GO ON LOCAL TV AND BOAST ABOUT YOUR POTENTIAL PROFITS, IT MAKES IT A LITTLE HARD FOR AN ATTORNEY TO ARGUE OTHERWISE!!!! The moral of the story here; don’t go public with your medical marijuana ‘get rich quick’ schemes. Preferably, you would be growing medical marijuana to benefit those that really need it, the patients, not for the sole purpose of lining your pockets. But IF (and that’s a big IF) you are trying to make a profit, maybe you should just lay low, and pretend that your income comes from somewhere else. When the local news comes knocking at your door, instead of letting your vanity take over, maybe just don’t answer the door, and go back to the hookah.

So what does this mean for the future of medical marijuana in Colorado? One thing is for sure, people need to be on the lookout; especially dispensaries or those that are selling their medicine to dispensaries. DEA special agent Jeffrey Sweetin said that he ‘keeps track of dispensaries and will probe any that raises red flags for him.’ Unless he is reprimanded by the DEA for his actions at Highlands Ranch (highly unlikely in my opinion), Mr. Sweetin will continue his crusade against the STATE APPROVED MEDICAL MARIJUANA PROGRAM. The offender in this case was an easy target, so it is hard to tell if this will become a trend; I guess only time will tell. In the meantime, don’t talk to anyone about your medical marijuana status, either as a caretaker or patient, unless you really trust them. But honestly people, isn’t that what you should be doing anyways???



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Johnny Green


  1. I think other web-site proprietors should take this website as an model, very clean and great user friendly style and design, as well as the content. You’re an expert in this topic!

  2. While agreeing on the STUPIDITY!

    We Colectively through out the US should push as hard as we can to get obama’s words on a Bill. One that is passed by the Senate and whatever you call those crooks playing congress.
    Who am I fooling there all crooks

    My two cents

  3. Yeah a real dumb ass even if you can grow as a caregiver you should never. tell anyone whats up with your plants and should still keep it all on the down low. And just act like it still big time against the law. The DEA such ass in Colorado dealt with them myself first hand….

  4. When I was reading it I was thinking he was bein a bit blatant about his operation. The only thing that really irks me is the timing of the whole thing. It kinda looks like they were trying to scare people by taking down a highly visible target. IDK thats just what I was thinkin as I read it but maybe I’m jus over analyzing it.

  5. Oh, and by the way. It was 224 plants. EVERYONE knows that over 100 plants is a felony! Ponderous!

  6. Bartkowicz is the stupidest man ON THE PLANET!!!!!! According to the official complaint, he’s already been busted for cultivation and possession 5 TIMES OVER THE LAST 13 YEARS! And now he decides he wants to go public with his illegal grow? He also signed a consent to search the premises when the DEA showed up, told the DEA that he had 20 patients and could only come up with evidence for 12 as well as running up his power bill to almost $4000 over the last 2 months! All in his own house! What an F’n MORON!
    He pretty much broke every cultivation security rule there is. Throw the book at him! If your that f’n stupid you shouldn’t be allowed to tie your own shoes much less be a caregiver for sick people.
    Maybe he’s a DEA shill trying to bring down the movement. Only explanation for such blatant ass-clownery!

  7. Anyone called to Jury duty for the case should find him not guilty. All jurors have a Constitutional right to vote not guilty for any reason despite the evidence the Feds bring up. See http://fija.org/

  8. He only held 15 cards to grow for patients. Had he been growing within the MMJ laws in Colorado it would have been one thing. Sadly, he wasn’t. Its a blow to all legal growers and caregivers in our Country. Sweetin is just waiting for every chance he can to bust anyone not abiding by the state constitution. Lets not give him anymore ammo to attack patients within our state.

  9. Boasting got this guy busted. I wouldnt have ever got on there and said $400,00 grand a year.. What an idiot.

    now what about his patients???

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