Obama Administration Will Not Block State MJ Laws
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Obama Administration Will Not Block State MJ Laws
Posted by CN Staff on August 29, 2013 at 19:56:29 PT
 By Brady Dennis
Source: Washington Post
Washington, D.C. --   The Obama administration said Thursday that it would not challenge laws legalizing marijuana in Colorado and Washington state as long as those states maintain strict rules involving the sale and distribution of the drug.In a memo to U.S. attorneys in all 50 states, Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole said the Justice Department is “committed to using its limited investigative and prosecutorial resources to address the most significant threats in the most effective, consistent and rational way.” He stressed that marijuana remains illegal under federal law.
The memo, which was welcomed by proponents of marijuana legalization, directs federal prosecutors to focus on eight areas of enforcement rather than spending time targeting individual users. Those aims include preventing distribution of marijuana to minors, stopping the growing of marijuana on public land, keeping pot from falling into the hands of cartels and gangs, and preventing the diversion of marijuana to states where it remains illegal.Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. called the governors of Colorado and Washington about noon Thursday to inform them of the decision. A Justice official said Holder told them that federal prosecutors would be watching closely as the two states finalize a regulatory framework for marijuana and that prosecutors would be taking a “trust but verify” approach.Last fall, Washington and Colorado approved initiatives to legalize the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, becoming the first states to approve the drug for recreational use. Twenty states and the District have passed laws legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes.Until Thursday, the administration had remained silent about the initiatives in Colorado and Washington, despite requests for guidance from state officials.“We recognize how difficult this issue has been for the Department of Justice and we appreciate the thoughtful approach it has taken,” Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), who opposed efforts to legalize marijuana last year, said in a statement. “Amendment 64 put Colorado in conflict with federal law. Today’s announcement shows the federal government is respecting the will of Colorado voters.”Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), in a statement with state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, said the guidance “reflects a balanced approach by the federal government that respects the states’ interests in implementing these laws and recognizes the federal government’s role in fighting illegal drugs and criminal activity.”Proponents of marijuana legalization welcomed the new administration guidance.“This is a very significant step forward,” said Christian Sederberg, a Denver lawyer who helped draft Amendment 64. “The simple truth is that a tightly regulated marijuana market is superior to the criminal market. ­State-regulated business will now be able to continue creating good jobs and generating tax revenue. This is what progress looks like.”Sederberg said state lawmakers and a government-backed task force in Colorado have tried to deal with the concerns of federal officials — such as keeping pot out of the hands of minors — while setting up the regulatory framework for a marijuana market.Sam Kamin, a University of Denver law professor and a member of the governor’s task force that helped devise Colorado’s forthcoming marijuana regulations, said Thursday’s memo represents a “big change of direction for the federal government” but one that was overdue.“Marijuana exists in this strange place where a number of states permit it but the federal government prohibits it. For a long time, it’s been pretty untenable,” Kamin said. “For the first time . . . they’re saying that if you can do a good job with it, we will not come in with the hammer of federal enforcement.” But he said questions remain.The guidance steers clear of whether major banks — which have been wary of giving credit to marijuana-related businesses — can now do so without fear of legal consequences. Because marijuana remains illegal under federal law, it also means individuals still risk losing their jobs, apartments, even custody of children if they are found using a drug that is legal on the state level.Perhaps most significant, Kamin noted, Thursday’s action represents the views of one administration — and the next one might see things differently. “This could be wiped out with a stroke of a pen,” he said.The Obama administration has long wrestled with how to respond to state laws permitting marijuana use for one reason or another.In 2009, then-Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden wrote a memo to U.S. attorneys saying that prosecution of significant traffickers of illegal drugs, including marijuana, remained a top priority. But he also said that the prosecution of individuals using the drug for medicinal purposes in compliance with state law “is unlikely to be an efficient use of limited federal resources.” In 2011, Cole reiterated Ogden’s stance on medical marijuana but cited the increase in large-scale commercial marijuana operations “for purported medical purposes.”In December, Obama told Barbara Walters of ABC News that recreational marijuana use in states that have legalized the drug was not a major concern.“We’ve got bigger fish to fry,” he said.Thursday’s memo, while significant, makes clear that the federal government reserves the right to revisit its position in the future.Sari Horwitz contributed to this report.Source: Washington Post (DC) Author:  Brady DennisPublished: August 29, 2013Copyright: 2013 Washington Post CompanyContact: letters Website: URL:  -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #18 posted by museman on September 04, 2013 at 10:39:29 PT
I agree. It is far from "Good enough." But one has to look no further than the current American Status Quo to understand why.In all the voices that have been raised in support of this issue, most of the long-time experienced have been shoved out of the way by all of the establishment-oriented so-called "experts."The actual pain and suffering that you described has not entered into the lives of those who are too afraid to take their liberty in hand. They bow to the false authority of the various lords that they serve, and the 'legality' of a thing outweighs its common sense, usefulness, or whether or not it is a benign substance.The values of this society are 100% at fault. When one can ignore the suffering of their neighbor because to get involved might threaten their own comfort zones, there can be no true liberty for anyone, let alone "for all."The loud complaints of many so-called 'anti-prohibitionists' are in closer examination only that. Very few are willing to make the kind of sacrifices necessary for true change. Thus the many herald something like these status-quo-compromises as 'victory' and change.The 'victory' will never involve the politicians, lawyers, judges, cops, and their 'civilian' employees, because none of the above are what they claim to be.The only true victory is the shrugging off of the yoke of establishment propaganda by the people, through right knowledge and information concerning cannabis (and other truths.) It is the true and false beliefs of the people that ultimately determines reality."Law" has been selectively supporting the .05% -the wealthy rulers- since it came into being in Babylon as a means to justify the acts of the rulers."Education" is merely a programming tool of the elite, along with the well scripted media, and the hi-jacked religions, to keep the peasants/slaves believing in the falsehoods of their masters, and willing obedient slaves.The "job" is the biggest load of crap ever to be laid on the less endowed since the church doctrine told us we had to bow to the base 'authority' in the world because it is "god's will."Labor and work are as natural to us as breathing, but the enslavement that rapes this planet, wastes lives, time, energy, and resources for the sake of 'a few dollars more' is a travesty of 'Biblical Proportion .'As long as the people continue to support this system, there can be no liberty except for the few who can afford it.The cyclical 'logic' of the status quo will always prevail as long as the people continue to believe that their leaders are anything other than slick, slimy tricksters who have learned to lie convincingly.The bottom line is "Life, Liberty, and the 'pursuit' of happiness." Updated to the 21st century as; "Life, Liberty, and the practice of love, that leads to happiness." There is no love in the hearts and minds of the politicians, just statistical justification for their support of wealth and power, and the continuing long view plan and agenda of the "New World Order."The revolution is not being witnessed because it cannot be quantified by the terms and conditions of the current values in place in this society.The revolution is not 'political' it is intellectual and Spiritual. We keep giving away our power to these pretenders. Until a significant number can realize this fact and stop doing it, the Powers That Be will continue -in new and 'clever' ways to circumnavigate the Truth- to rule, control, and wreck the world,LEGALIZE FREEDOM
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Comment #17 posted by Perry562 on September 03, 2013 at 21:07:29 PT:
uHHHH..What is happening here?? Why are all the mj advocates are falling for this?? ok plain and simple break down:1. Any one that has street experience with weed knows weed is currency stronger than the us dollar or possibly any other because its universal and can be turned into any currency you want and fast. You can be dropped in any country in the world with a pocket full of weed and the know how to grow it and be just fine.2. Big banks don't like you circumventing THERE "federal?" reserve system because it leaves them out of the loop. And they obviously don't want it to be taxed because than the gov income with out getting it from them!3. The gov can't do the right thing because its controlled by the big banks and so is MOST of the gov's elected officials. You can not win an election of any kind without a lot of money that money, that all comes from some where normally people that are favored by the bigbanks or corps "Lobbyists"
promise to fight for law to go in this direction and we will give you money plain and simple.4. :) if the public bands together and is loud enough we can say no more and people like Obama or lobbyist who possibly may have goodness in there heart (who knows) can look at there master and say, "You hear that crowd outside? Im sorry there's nothing I can do. THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN." every one becomes publicly aware of the goodness, and flawlessness and perfection that is mj (IT DOES NOT KILL BRAIN CELLS OR MAKE YOU STUPID LOOK INTO IT KNOW THE FACTS, CANCER AND WEED!!, CAN'T MAKE ANY CLAIMS THANKS TO THE FDA BUT LOOK IT UP YOUR SELF!)HOW EVER this is not really progress for any one else but the brave people in the weed industry itself. For the rest of us if you smoke weed in any state right now and your job drug tests you and you have filled out your paperwork saying you have dependents (CHILDREN) not only can they fire you but they can also call child services that will still come take your children away from you regardless of your lifestyle or if the children even know if you smoke weed.
Then the management company of your apartment or bank that owns your house is notified and under the grounds of illegal activities or substances on the property you are defaulted/evicted. And in court these will all hold weight because they all are allowed to require that you not break the law and it IS STILL ILLEGAL UNDER FEDERAL LAW,THIS IS BECAUSE THEY ARE STILL REFUSING TO APPEND THE "SCHEDULE 1" NARCOTIC MARIJUANA TO NOT BE ILLEGAL AS LONG AS STATE GUIDELINES ARE MET AND STRICTLY FOLLOWED!!UNTIL THIS IS APPENDED WHAT SHOULD BE LAW ABIDING CITIZENS ARE HAVING THERE KIDS TAKEN FROM THEM FOREVER THEY WILL NOT BE GIVEN BACK EVEN IF IT IS APPENDED TODAY PEOPLE ARE LOOSING THERE JOBS AND PEOPLE ARE BECOMING HOMELESS, AMERICAN HARD WORKING GOOD PEOPLE ARE BEING THROWN AWAY EVERY MINUTE THIS LAW IS NOT APPENDED AND THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES ARE FREE TO CALL THEM SELVES LAW ABIDING TAX PAYING CITIZENS AND FREE FROM PERSECUTION!!Finally for those that do not smoke weed a question: Would you Drink or Smoke Cigarettes in front of your kids? If you even had to think about that you should be ashamed cigarette and alcohol are dangerous deadly DRUGS that damage the body and brain cells, and cause cancer. Now IM not saying weed is safe or cures cancer obesity diabetes or any thing else simply because the FDA will not let me but you should seriously look into it. Google weed and cancer, cannabinoids, weed cures, cannabinoids and mamals.
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Comment #16 posted by MikeEEEEE on September 01, 2013 at 18:06:13 PT
As your name implies, many of us never gave up hope.I find sometimes that common-sense is not so common, but now, those who despair may feel more positive.
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Comment #15 posted by Hope on September 01, 2013 at 14:46:24 PT
Comment 12
I hated hearing people say that, too.Yeah! I'm glad to see their smugness addressed.
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Comment #14 posted by Hope on September 01, 2013 at 09:08:36 PT
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on August 31, 2013 at 20:27:08 PT
I agree with you. We have to keep this momentum going before 2016 because if a Republican wins the election reform will slow to a crawl.
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Comment #12 posted by MikeEEEEE on August 31, 2013 at 18:26:26 PT
Thanks!A few years back someone I know said, "We would never see marajuana legalized in this country in our lifetime."
Part of me agreed with that statement, but I sensed change was still possible. The opportunity is now!!!...and should be taken now, before the policy moves backwards again. 
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on August 31, 2013 at 16:29:37 PT
I wanted to say it is really good to see you too! 
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on August 31, 2013 at 07:38:30 PT
It's great to see you! Have a great holiday weekend.
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Comment #9 posted by MikeEEEEE on August 31, 2013 at 05:30:33 PT
US Warrior Redirection
History shows us the US industrial complex does not give up so easy on their war projects. I wonder whether this refocus is due to other business, that is, a new war opportunity in Syria.
Could the US revisit the war on drugs later? Even they know, it's way too unpopular and expensive. you just look at the US healthcare $y$tem, the question to me seems obvious, why would the US corporation give a crap about people, especially in Syria? 
After all, they don't have oil, or anything else to exploit.
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Comment #8 posted by fight_4_freedom on August 30, 2013 at 22:13:55 PT
Museman, Sam Adams, HOPE, Afterburner.....GCW....cant think of you all but you're all in my heart.
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Comment #7 posted by fight_4_freedom on August 30, 2013 at 22:11:01 PT
Love you too RunRuff
Been reading your posts since I was 17, now 27. I feel like ur my long lost uncle. This is a big moment. Celebrate. The fight is not completely over but the opposition is starting to give up. Love you all here at CN. FoM, John Tyler, Kapinnemo,storm crow,gcw love you all. Forgetting so many. LoL Going to roll up some homegrown michigan and put one in the air for C-News and all Cannabis Activists as one. One love.
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Comment #6 posted by John Tyler on August 30, 2013 at 22:04:47 PT
policy change
This Justice Dept. policy change is long overdue and is a significant victory in the Drug War, but it is a policy change. It can also be changed back at the whim of another president. What we need to have is legislative changes to give this policy change the force of law.
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Comment #5 posted by Anomalies on August 30, 2013 at 21:30:28 PT:
votes and counties
I live in Colorado and all i'm hearing is that the cities and counties aren't going to allow the sales of cannabis ( Ones that will are few and FAR between ) hiding behind the line that the majority of people don't want it. BULL - Then how did it pass? Let's throw these self serving bums out.I don't touch it myself, but seriously, what a crock.This pisses me off. "Listen to the people ."
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Comment #4 posted by runruff on August 30, 2013 at 09:02:44 PT
Marc Emory, FoM and friends.
Two of the few including those here at C/News who have believed in us. Those who have suffered the slings and arrows of tyranny only to be spirited on to fight for the truth.The late Jack Herer should be here to celebrate this victory, He and the late Capetian Jack deserved to see this.There are personal friends and those whom I only know through activism, but you are all my brothers and sisters in this wonderful victory for the people and the planet and, collectively we did it!Huzzah!
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Comment #3 posted by runruff on August 30, 2013 at 08:38:58 PT
The DEA is a mirage.
It does not really exist. It is an unconstitutional rogue organization that have failed at their stated task at hand. They are America's in-house terrorist created by a drunk mean spirited man...Nixon. There is no constitutional support for a federal domestic military-police. There is no way to justify a trillion dollars spent and 10,546 Innocent people murdered for the sole purpose of protecting corporate profits using a plant [a weed] as a 'scape-goat.
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Comment #2 posted by The GCW on August 30, 2013 at 04:31:47 PT
Denver Post
Editorial:  What took feds so long on pot policy?
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Comment #1 posted by pijion on August 29, 2013 at 21:54:03 PT
What about the DEA?
The main problem now is really just the DEA! which has gone rogue already.
The power to make decisions about scheduling drugs or giving permits to grow hemp or to study marihuana should be taken away from this department.
It should be done by a group of "corporation influence free" scientist and "pharma free" doctors. not these adrenaline junkies we have today which has created a bad influence even on the regular police departments by militarizing them and making it "OKAY" to do terrorist attacks on the American people".
This is just my humble opinion and I approve it.
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