Top Justice Official Who Wrote MMJ Memo is Mum 

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  Top Justice Official Who Wrote MMJ Memo is Mum 

Posted by CN Staff on October 27, 2011 at 06:08:31 PT
By The Associated Press 
Source: Associated Press  

Denver -- A high-ranking U.S. Justice Department official who wrote a memo saying state medical marijuana laws do not provide immunity from federal prosecution refused to say Wednesday whether a recent crackdown in California signals a shift in federal policy that may result in a crackdown in other states.Deputy Attorney General James Cole said the memo sent to U.S. attorneys in June speaks for itself, and he said U.S. attorneys have discretion in how federal law is enforced in their districts.
“I think it says what needs to be said,” Cole said of his memo and the stated federal law enforcement policy on medical marijuana. His comments followed a news conference at Colorado U.S. Attorney John Walsh’s office about another matter.Cole’s memo reinforced a memo sent in 2009 by his predecessor, David Ogden, that prosecutors should not focus investigative resources on patients and caregivers complying with state medical marijuana laws. But Cole noted that since the 2009 memo, several states considered or enacted laws authorizing multiple large-scale, privately operated industrial marijuana cultivation centers, in violation of federal drug law.There are 723 dispensaries, 1,106 cultivation sites and 288 infused-product manufacturers operating under Colorado law, according to figures from the Colorado Department of Revenue. Cole’s memo, in addition to warnings sent to dozens of marijuana operations across California to shut down or face prosecution, raised fears that a crackdown was coming to other states.“The majority of people are concerned that the feds are going to come down on us here in Colorado. Based on what happened in California, it didn’t help any,” said Danyel Joffe, a lawyer who provides legal advice to medical marijuana businesses.Sixteen states have passed laws legalizing marijuana for medical use, beginning with California in 1996.Walsh said he has discretion, but he declined to elaborate. Jeff Dorschner, his spokesman, referred to a legal opinion that Walsh wrote before Cole’s memo. The opinion sent to Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said a state cannot authorize violations of federal law.As for prosecutions, Dorschner said large-scale marijuana prosecutions are examined on a case-by-case basis that can include other levels of enforcement besides criminal charges, including asset forfeiture and seizure of contraband.“There is a substantial weight of discretion from one district to another,” Dorschner said.Source: Associated Press (Wire)Published: October 27, 2011 Copyright: 2011 The Associated PressCannabisNews Medical Marijuana Archives

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Comment #15 posted by FoM on November 01, 2011 at 06:58:18 PT
The problem with what the Drug Czar says is he must say he is against it. They aren't allowed to have a personal opinion. 
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Comment #14 posted by Hope on November 01, 2011 at 00:36:37 PT
Jacob Sullum
The actual article at Reason.The Drug Czar Just Says No to Marijuana Legalization
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Comment #13 posted by Hope on October 31, 2011 at 22:19:25 PT
Jacob Sullum
The Drug Czar Just Says No to Marijuana Legalization
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Comment #12 posted by Hope on October 31, 2011 at 22:16:16 PT
A thought...
Congress has been nothing if not all about running sideways of everything Obama has offered as any progress or solution to anything. No matter what it is.Wouldn't it be something for Congress to address the call for progress from so many of the citizens... just because the President wouldn't? "President Obama didn't even give legitimate attention to the most asked questions in his "Petition the President" site. Republicans will follow the will of the people. Vote for us."
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on October 31, 2011 at 20:17:57 PT
That looks like it might help. 
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Comment #10 posted by Hope on October 31, 2011 at 19:18:22 PT
By Executive Order
New Obama order targets drug prices, shortages
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on October 31, 2011 at 15:56:22 PT
I think like you do. The Republicans would use it to stir hate for Obama if he so much as gave marijuana reform any consideration. I am way more concerned that we don't get a Republican in power or we might as well just quit and give up.
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on October 31, 2011 at 11:42:02 PT
It is so ridiculous. It is so frustrating, and it is an idiotic culture war... to the prohibitionists. Prohibitionists are fearful, dangerous, and stupid... and to go along with them is fearful, dangerous, and stupid. 
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Comment #7 posted by afterburner on October 31, 2011 at 09:08:36 PT
Hope #4
Methinks, President Obama is reluctant to take any more easement action on cannabis until after the next election, 2012, for fear of the teaparty swiftboaters. Look how they responded to national health care and to air strikes over Libya.Let's turn out to the polls and turn most of the teapartiers out of office. Then, Obama will have a free hand to make the necessary reforms by executive order or reappointment if Congress still refuses to follow the will of the people.I am impatient to the point of frustration with the mickey mouse lies and the excuses involved in this ridiculous culture war.
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on October 28, 2011 at 21:57:28 PT
Off Topic but interesting and of some pertinence 
to the issue.Occupy LA Divides Over Pot Smoking
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Comment #5 posted by Lucas on October 28, 2011 at 08:13:49 PT
prohibition is an institution
The presidents have little or no impact or control on Marijuana Prohibition.As you can see, many presidents have promised cannabis freedom, but they all do the opposite.Consider Carter, Clinton, and Obama for starters.. They all said they wanted to concentrate on more serious crimes, but once they got in office, the prohibitionist organizations kept their same leadership, and continued the same programs.The idea that this country is a democracy, and that the president is elected by the people, and that the people have a say in what happens, is propaganda.What will move prohibition to a back burner, is money. The US Government owns a patent or two, on Cannabis. Once they figure out how to cash in, they will do all they can to squash the home growers, and non federal dispensaries.The goal of the govt is to make cannabis a pharmaceutical.
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on October 27, 2011 at 22:38:04 PT
The DEA is a part of the Executive Branch
of the government, I think. Seems like the Executive should have some say over what they do. Seems like the very least that could be done would be some sort of Executive Order that made some things more clear to them about how the President, himself, wants things done. It seems like that should be possible. 
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Comment #3 posted by HempWorld on October 27, 2011 at 17:46:20 PT
Dear dongenero,
This is Nixon's handiwork! Personally, I doubt it can be changed. All democrats follow orders accordingly; Jerry Brown (Hemp veto) and Obama (using fed force to go after legal dispensaries), etc. etc.This is how Nixon set it up: The ultimate authority on this issue lies with the DEA a.k.a. Michele Leonhart, who is not a scientist and she is supposed to run the CSA. Michele Leonhart is not elected she is appointed by the president!Circle complete! The end. Who is going to change that this president? Or the next? Or the next? Get my drift?
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Comment #2 posted by dongenero on October 27, 2011 at 12:50:14 PT
Feds- our hands are tied, but they're not.
Federal DOJ on the one hand act like there is no choice in upholding federal law, no matter how ridiculous or hypocritical, "saying state medical marijuana laws do not provide immunity from federal prosecution".On the other hand, they apparently have the discretion to not go after patients and caregivers.It's a choice. A choice to abuse their power and subvert the voters and the will of the people. Clearly, as we sit here today, a full 50% of the population is in support of FULL LEGALIZATION.So, which is it? If they have the discretion to ignore law when it comes to patients and caregivers, they certainly have the discretion to ignore dispensaries as well.An interesting twist with Colorado is that their medical marijuana rights are written into their state Constitution.Time to sidestep the bureaucrats, remove the ambiguity they continually whine about and seem unwilling to live with, and fully legalize. 
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Comment #1 posted by paul armentano on October 27, 2011 at 09:19:24 PT
US News & World Report online debate
US News & World Report has an online round-table going right now re: the question:Should federal authorities be able to close medical marijuana dispensaries in California?You can find all of the pro/com essays here: specific op/ed is here: read, vote up/down, join the debate, and disseminate widely.Regards,
Paul Armentano
Deputy Director
NORML | NORML Foundation
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