Marijuana Stores Can Open in Colorado & Washington
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Marijuana Stores Can Open in Colorado & Washington
Posted by CN Staff on August 29, 2013 at 15:08:44 PT
By Steven Nelson
Source: U.S. News & World Report
Washington, D.C. -- The Department of Justice announced Thursday it will not block recreational marijuana stores from opening next year in Colorado and Washington state. Voters in the two states elected to legalize the drug in November 2012, but marijuana advocates and state officials have anxiously awaited federal guidance ever since.The Justice Department said in a release it will allow the stores to open, but that it expects state regulations to be "tough in practice, not just on paper, and include strong, state-based enforcement efforts, backed by adequate funding."
Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, the Justice Department stressed. A memo attributed to Deputy Attorney General James Cole said federal prosecutors would prosecute individuals if any of the following "enforcement priorities" are tripped:• distribution of marijuana to minors• revenue from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, gangs and cartels• diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal to states where it remains illegal• state-authorized marijuana activity being used as a cover for trafficking other illegal drugs or activity• violence or the use of firearms as part of cultivation and distribution of marijuana• drugged driving or the exacerbation of other negative health consequences associated with marijuana use• growing marijuana on public lands• marijuana possession or use on federal property"Outside of these enforcement priorities, the federal government has traditionally relied on states and local law enforcement agencies," Cole's memo said. "[But] if state enforcement efforts are not sufficiently robust to protect against the harms set forth above the federal government may seek to challenge the regulatory structure itself."The memo released Thursday said strict state regulations may "allay the threat that an operation's size poses to federal enforcement interests." This differs from a previous memo from Cole, issued in 2011, that said federal prosecutors should be concerned with medicinal dispensaries that have "revenue projections of millions of dollars."Alison Holcomb, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union who authored Washington state's legalization initiative, told U.S. News in July that the state law was written with minimizing federal concerns in mind. Similarly, U.S. Rep. Jared Polis told U.S News earlier this month, Colorado's state regulation should appease federal authorities. Unlike other states with legal medical marijuana, he pointed out, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration hadn't targeted Colorado clinics.Marijuana advocates were predictably pleased with the Justice Department guidance."Today's announcement is a major and historic step toward ending marijuana prohibition," said Dan Riffle, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project. "The Department of Justice's decision to allow implementation of the laws in Colorado and Washington is a clear signal that states are free to determine their own policies with respect to marijuana."Retired Seattle police chief Norm Stamper, an advisory board member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, also celebrated the announcement."Allowing states to legalize and regulate marijuana will funnel millions of dollars of profits from the criminal organizations that have controlled the trade into the hands of legitimate businesses that check IDs and create jobs and badly needed tax revenues," Stamper said in a statement. Marijuana Majority Chairman Tom Angell, formerly a spokesman for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, offered a more tepid appraisal."It's nice to hear that the Obama administration doesn't at this point intend to file a lawsuit to overturn the will of the voters in states that have opted to modernize their marijuana policies, but it remains to be seen how individual U.S. attorneys will interpret the new guidance and whether they will continue their efforts to close down marijuana businesses that are operating in accordance with state law," Angell said."My optimism is tempered by the fact that despite the Justice Department's 2009 announcement that it shouldn't be a priority to bust medical marijuana providers operating in accordance with state law, this administration went on to close down more state-legal marijuana businesses in one term than the Bush administration did in two terms," he added.The long-awaited announcement was issued after Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., announced Monday he would hold a Sept. 10 hearing on the conflict between federal and state marijuana law. Leahy supports state autonomy on marijuana policy."The next step is for Congress to act," Riffle said. "We need to fix our nation's broken marijuana laws and not just continue to work around them."Read the memo: U.S. News & World Report (US)Author:  Steven Nelson Published: August 29, 2013Copyright: 2013 U.S. News & World ReportWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #13 posted by mexweed on August 30, 2013 at 13:37:24 PT:
Start negotiating more policy improvements
"We may have only had the pressure of the boot loosened, but that means that it's no longer being tightened."  BGreen Looking at some details:1. The directive demands: "tough in practice, not just on paper, and include strong, state-based enforcement efforts, backed by adequate funding." This means invest mountains of adequate funding in jobs for "tough, strong" tunnelvisionary bureaucrats (maybe some of whom will be crossovers from former jailguard jobs, but that too is an improvement).2. Their first point, distribution to minors: here's one where we SHOULD continue picking away! If moderate, informed child "exposure" to cannabinoid vapors happens in custody and oversight of a parent, the state/fed should not prosecute because (despite tobacco industry contributions to campaign chests and government $igarette tax revenue as positives which are dwarfed by the $193-bil./year $igarette-disease-related medical and lost productivity cost to US economy) IT IS IN THE NATIONAL INTEREST that youngsters be VAPE-literate and immune to being drafted into lock-step day-after-pack-a-day nicotine $igarette slavery (currently an estimated 800,000 kids a year get hooked; this number coincides neatly with the well-publicized 800,000/year marijuana ARRESTS, don't it).
Also important, especially in the Dakotas: the power of vaped cannabis to exterminate booze parties and binge drinking from among the young.3. While the feds try to continue the hoopjumpery and wade-through bureaucratic red tape for a while longer in order to retard the natural and long-term inevitable DECLINE in the price of cannabis (down from present-day 10 times as expensive as $igarette tobacco, giving some kids a better consumer choice between the herbs), there's a way to speed up that price drop: let millions more garden-owners in every state raise "a plant or two", overtly demanding the promised enforcement leniency for small-scale involvement even though technically still illegal. (If you harvest one ounce, that's 900 tokes.)4. Haven't checked it myself but it appears Mr. Cole's memo does not mention differentiation in the way (dosage, quantity, temperature etc.) cannabis is used, does not mention supporting any campaigns to replace the deadly H-ot B-urning O-verdose M-onoxide "joint" and "blunt" formats (designed to accustom children to $igarette culture, $igarette gestures etc. leading to addiction) with a cheap or home-made 25-mg long-stemmed ONE-HITTER, a "pen vape" or a plug-in vaporizer.  Demand that the Fed acknowledge a cost/benefit difference between formats, and especially help encourage the elimination of deceitful marketing like "blunts"-- a half gram or gram of cannabis rolled in a cigar skin exposing a kid, sometimes unknowingly, to a drug cocktail of heat shock, carbon monoxide, 4221 combustion toxins and-- addictive nicotine.
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Comment #12 posted by museman on August 30, 2013 at 11:25:49 PT
I agree. Only i don't think 'the day' has actually come yet. I still see the Storm Troopers itching for necks to place their jack boots on. I still see them flying around burning fuel looking at legal gardens. I see them supporting meth users as informants on the medical MJ community, -and not even making a dent in the meth problem, because like the Nazi's who invented the 'field labs' that all modern meth users avail themselves of, they use the stuff themselves.The issue has always been about liberty and those who violate it.From the cop on the street, to the office of the pres., corruption rules.Corruption rules. Not 'the people', not Truth, Justice, Fairness, -not even an equitable balance!And these little pyrrhic victories only take people out of the resistance, thinking that there has been some accomplishment towards actual liberty. Actual liberty will be near, only when people stop their willingness to compromise with corruption for table scraps from their illegal, immoral, unethical leadership.LEGALIZE FREEDOM
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on August 30, 2013 at 04:54:02 PT
Bravo! I agree 100% like you.
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Comment #10 posted by BGreen on August 29, 2013 at 22:02:21 PT
Obama doesn't have his boot on my neck
President Obama has learned how to get things done. If he would have come out (pun intended) for LGBT rights he would have been attacked. He used this same tactic to minimize the things people had to gripe about and equal rights for many LGBT people are a reality. The boot has lightened from the rest of their necks giving them hope.If President Obama would have immediately said he supported the voters of these two states then he would have been attacked. They would have blamed him for all of the death and destruction that would certainly be caused by legalization. He would have had to, once again, prove a negative.By keeping ambiguously vague for the past few months it allowed there to be proof than none of the horrible things the prohibitionists predicted have happened. Instead of proving a negative, he can now defend an empirical fact. He silenced the opposition through his own silence.Just like the LGBT community, we may have only had the pressure of the boot loosened, but that means that it's no longer being tightened. When we get the direction changed and the arguments removed then we know that, eventually, just like slavery and many other crimes of humanity, we not only won't have to endure the boot, people will be appalled the boot ever existed in the first place.We have won!The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #9 posted by Sam Adams on August 29, 2013 at 18:58:53 PT
the day
*ahem* if any day must be celebrated then shouldn't it be 11/6/12, when the people first voted to free themselves from prohibition?Personally I can't celebrate the guy with his boot on my neck promising to apply slightly less pressure to the boot.I can still remember the celebration and people congratulating each other when the Ogden memo came out of this administration in 2009. Neither that memo or this one made any permanent change to the law, but the voters of Colorado sure did.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on August 29, 2013 at 17:59:40 PT
I was going to Google news to see about oil prices and that is where I saw the first article on this mind boggling news. A day that will go down in history. Never forget August 29, 2013 the day everything changed.
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on August 29, 2013 at 17:55:55 PT
It's time!
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on August 29, 2013 at 17:55:06 PT
I agree. This clinched that we will never go back.
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Comment #5 posted by HempWorld on August 29, 2013 at 17:01:57 PT
Ja(h) Baby!
Inside joke...Peace and blessings to all! Jah love! Is this it?!Give thanks and praises!Rasta man live on...
Marijuana Stores
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Comment #4 posted by afterburner on August 29, 2013 at 16:39:52 PT
It's Time!!!
"The next step is for Congress to act," [Dan] Riffle said. "We need to fix our nation's broken marijuana laws and not just continue to work around them."
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Comment #3 posted by The GCW on August 29, 2013 at 16:26:38 PT
Maybe the best news since election day.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on August 29, 2013 at 15:39:19 PT
You're welcome. This is really big news.
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on August 29, 2013 at 15:36:57 PT
That's a string of articles / great news.Congratulations, EVERYONE.Next...
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