Serving the citizens of Clear Creek, Eagle, Summit and Lake Counties

Man Pleads Guilty in Cole Memo Driven Investigation

GEORGETOWN, Colo. – Prior to Thursday, January 4, 2018 the Cole Memorandum issued by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2013 under the Obama Administration, provided a blueprint for cooperation between Federal and State law enforcement in states that had legalized recreational marijuana. The Cole Memorandum was rescinded by the United States Attorney General last week.

Today in Clear Creek County Court there was another indication of the success of the Cole Memorandum’s collaborative approach in addressing the concern of “preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors”. (See Cole Memorandum’s first stated Federal priority at https://www.justice.gov/iso/opa/resources/3052013829132756857467.pdf.) David Rolfson, 51, pleaded guilty today to selling retail marijuana to a person under twenty-one years of age, a Class One Misdemeanor in violation of Colorado statutes.

On September 9, 2017, the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) conducted a routine undercover operation at the Serene Wellness dispensary in Empire Colorado, and sent a person into the dispensary using a State issued identification with a stated age of 18. The undercover operative bought a marijuana joint for $8.50 cash inside the marijuana retailer, after defendant Rolfson checked the identification to determine the buyers age. Rolfson then falsely entered an incorrect date of birth into a database designed to detect persons under 21; the falsely entered date of birth Rolfson entered was his own — 1966.

Rolfson was sentenced to 12 month’s probation, ordered not to work in the marijuana field while on probation, and received a fine and court costs of $359.50. As an MED occupational license holder, Rolfson will also be subject to administrative sanctions.

“Today’s conviction reaffirms that Colorado’s enforcement mechanisms are working and that the Obama-era approach to federalism, letting states with legalized pot police themselves, works. The District Attorney’s office works closely with the MED to make sure we do everything possible to keep legal pot out of kids’ hands. I just wish the Federal government will continue to let us do our job. Reinstatement of the policy established through the Cole Memo would be the right thing to do,” said Bruce Brown, 5th Judicial District Attorney.

Further Brown added that, “Attorney General Sessions’ recession of the Cole Memorandum on the basis that it was “unnecessary” demonstrates a lack of understanding of how effective local enforcement has been over five years of legalization. (See Sessions Memo dated 1/4/2018 at https://www.justice.gov/opa/press-release/file/1022196/download. “…Sessions wrote, “[P]revious nationwide guidance specific to marijuana enforcement is unnecessary and is rescinded, effective immediately.”)) District Attorney Bruce Brown continued, “Instead it appears that the Trump Administration has a mindset reminiscent of a failed war on drugs.”

-DA5-