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Tuesday Churn: Dispensaries closed

Updated – Federal prosecutors say 23 medical marijuana dispensaries located within 1,000 feet of schools have closed in response to warning letters issued in January.

Here’s the text of the press release issued today:

DENVER – On January 12, 2012, U.S. Attorney John Walsh sent a letter to certain marijuana stores operating within 1,000 feet of schools warning them that if they did not close within 45 days they would be the subject of civil and possible criminal action. Today the DEA went to each address to determine whether the marijuana store was closed. If a store was not closed, the DEA would then implement their enforcement action to close that marijuana store.

The U.S. Attorney and the Drug Enforcement Administration is announcing that the targeted stores are all closed. Enforcement action proved necessary at five locations. After entering those locations the DEA determined that the sale or distribution of marijuana had ceased at that location, and therefore the location was closed.

“Thanks to the excellent work of the DEA, working hand in glove with prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, we were able to close marijuana stores that sold a Scheduled I Controlled Substance within 1,000 feet of a school,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. “These stores were closed without incident. This effort is about protecting children from illegal drugs, and maintaining drug free zones around our schools in compliance with federal law.”

“The purpose of today’s action by the DEA and the U.S. Attorney’s Office was to enforce federal law with regard to marijuana stores operating within 1,000 feet of schools in Colorado,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Barbra M. Roach. “Marijuana, a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law, is a dangerous drug – especially when used by children. The closure of the targeted dispensaries today will make those affected schools more secure for our children and teachers throughout the State of Colorado.”

There were 23 stores on the original list. After further investigation it was determined that one store was by a school building, but that building was no longer being used to educate children. That letter was withdrawn.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office is now working on phase two, which will be similar to phase one. A list of marijuana stores within 1,000 feet of schools will receive similar letters advising them to close or face civil or criminal penalties.

Read our special reports on medical marijuana and K-12 schools, including a closer look at the recent rise in drug violations at Colorado campuses.

What’s churning:

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is in town today to hit two school district events and to deliver remarks at the National Green Schools Conference.

Duncan’s first public appearance is at 9:15 a.m. at the Evie Garrett Dennis Campus in Far Northeast Denver. He’ll participate in a town hall with Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia, Commissioner of Education Robert Hammond, DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg, students, parents, teachers and community members. The topic is current education reform issues, “highlighting success in the state of Colorado,” according to a DPS news release.

Duncan is then slated to appear at 11:30 a.m. at the second annual Green Schools National Conference at the Colorado Convention Center. He’ll “highlight the growing importance and recognition of green schools, environmental literacy, and educating children about environmental stewardship and sustainability,” according to his public schedule.

Duncan’s third and final public appearance of the day is set to begin at 12:45 p.m. at the Vista PEAK P-20 campus in Aurora, where he’ll join Aurora Public Schools Superintendent John Barry for a roundtable discussion on the district’s academic and career pathways. Here’s more about his appearance in Aurora and more about the district’s pathways programs.

Education News Colorado will be covering the day’s events so check our site later today.

What’s on tap:

Denver school board members have a legislative oversight lunch scheduled at noon today. Agenda not yet posted.

Aurora Public Schools is co-hosting an America’s Promise Parent Institute to help the parents of middle and high school students learn more about paying for college. It begins at 5:30 p.m. today. Details

Good reads from elsewhere:

NYC teacher ratings: An editor at The New Yorker magazine discovers her child’s highly regarded middle school is full of average or sub-par teachers – at least according to the recently released teacher effectiveness ratings. And read why one education news website is not publishing the ratings, otherwise known as Teacher Data Reports or TDRs.

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