Obama Admin. OKs Washington, Colorado MJ Laws
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Obama Admin. OKs Washington, Colorado MJ Laws
Posted by CN Staff on August 29, 2013 at 12:44:26 PT
By Stephen Dinan, The Washington Times
Source: Washington Times
Washington, D.C. -- Attorney General Eric H. Holder told Colorado and Washington on Thursday that the federal government will not stand in the way of those states’ marijuana laws, clearing the way for individuals to possess and use the drug.The decision, which has been anticipated for months, creates a patchwork of federal enforcement in the country — but it also marks the beginning of state experimentation as local officials try to figure out their own approaches to drug policy. “We want to show how it’s done, and done right,” said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, who said the final agreement represents a balance that protects individual users but still allows states and the federal government to go after criminal gangs involved in marijuana.
Residents in Washington and Colorado voted to legalize marijuana use in last year’s elections, putting those states in conflict with federal law and policy, which characterizes marijuana as a dangerous drug subject and includes criminal penalties for those found in possession.Since then, Attorney General Eric H. Holder has been considering the federal government’s response to the two states.Thursday’s decision means the federal government will not sue to block the two states from implementing their policies.In addition, the Justice Department also issued new guidance to all U.S. attorneys laying out priorities in other states such as trying to prevent gang activity related to marijuana, and preventing distribution of the drug to minors.The four-page memo reiterates the low priority prosecutors should put on end-level users.Legalization advocates cheered the Washington and Colorado decisions but said they’ll be watching to see how prosecutors follow through on the new guidance.“The real question is whether the president will call off his federal agencies that have been on the attack and finally let legal marijuana businesses operate without harassment, or if he wants the DEA and prosecutors to keep intervening as they have throughout his presidency and thus continue forcing users to buy marijuana on the illegal market where much of the profits go to violent drug cartels and gangs,” said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority.The Justice Department told Washington and Colorado it will watch to see how they implement their marijuana policies to make sure both states have strong regulatory systems in place to stop children from getting the drug, and to keep criminal gangs from involvement in the business.Source: Washington Times (DC)Author: Stephen Dinan, The Washington TimesPublished: August 29, 2013Copyright: 2013 The Washington Times, LLC Website: letters URL:  -- Cannabis Archives 
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