Obama Administration Won't Fight State MJ Laws
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Obama Administration Won't Fight State MJ Laws
Posted by CN Staff on August 31, 2013 at 06:31:18 PT
By Tim Dickinson
Source: Rolling Stone
Washington, D.C. -- In a historic pivot in the War on Drugs, the Obama Justice Department announced this week that the federal government will allow Washington and Colorado to implement their state laws for the taxation and regulation of legal marijuana.The carefully worded Justice Department memo does nothing to alter federal law. Instead, it makes explicit the federal objectives of continued enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act  preventing activities including the distribution of marijuana to minors, the diversion of marijuana profits to criminals and cartels, the growing of pot on federal land and the export of marijuana from states where it is legal to states that uphold prohibition.
To the extent that states themselves support those federal priorities by implementing "strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems to control the cultivation, distribution, sale, and possession of marijuana," the memo suggests, they should be left alone  for now. In a radical twist, the memo even suggests that "robust" state regulation of legal pot "may affirmatively address [federal] priorities by . . . replacing an illicit marketplace that funds criminal enterprises with a tightly regulated market in which revenues are tracked and accounted for."The administration's move exceeded even the rosiest expectations of drug reform advocates. "Today's announcement demonstrates the sort of political vision and foresight from the White House we've been seeking for a long time," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, in a statement. "I must admit, I was expecting a yellow light from the White House. But this light looks a lot more green-ish than I had hoped. The White House is basically saying to Washington and Colorado: Proceed with caution."In fact, the memo applies not only to states that have legalized recreational pot (or will), but gives new certainty to the nearly 20 states that have legalized medical marijuana. Most striking, the memo reverses the big-is-bad and profit-is-evil principles that have driven the recent crackdown on medical marijuana operations in California and beyond. "In exercising prosecutorial discretion," the memo says, "prosecutors should not consider the size or commercial nature of a marijuana operation alone as a proxy for assessing whether marijuana trafficking implicates the Department's enforcement priorities.""This is the most heartening news to come out of Washington in a long, long time," said Neill Franklin, the executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. "The federal government is not simply standing aside and allowing the will of the people to prevail in these two states. The attorney general and the Obama administration are exhibiting inspired leadership. The message to the people of the other 48 states, to all who value personal freedom and responsible regulation is clear: seize the day."Source: Rolling Stone (US)Author:  Tim DickinsonPublished: August 30, 2013Copyright: 2013 Straight Arrow Publishers Company, L.P.Contact: letters rollingstone.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #4 posted by Sam Adams on August 31, 2013 at 17:56:27 PT
the future
the progress of reform has forced the feds to take this step. Let's face it, the only alternative they had was to launch a protracted legal battle in the courts that probably would have ended in defeat for them.If the Supreme Court made a ruling against states' rights it would jeopardize all sorts of other, right-wing laws. I'm sure that was the discussion going on behind closed doors in the last 8 months. That idea got vetoed.What is the ultimate motive of the feds now? My guess is a future somewhat like prescription meds today. We're only allowed to buy them through a hyper-regulated, monopolistic system that forces us to pay 3 times what everybody else pays.I think they'll want to force the price of cannabis as high as possible to help reduce the inevitable loss of Pharma's market share on hundreds of meds. High taxes & fees accomplish this and also bring lots of money in for the political class. 
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Comment #3 posted by Swazi-X on August 31, 2013 at 15:51:50 PT
Don't Believe It
I hope, wish, pray this time these clowns are actually telling us the truth, but I do not believe it for a minute. We've seen what they do - the Ogden memo came out, setting us up only to be brutalized by even more raids against state-legal dispensaries.Obama and Holder are both proven liars - why in the world would we believe them this time? The only thing that makes sense in what they say is that they don't have the resources to go after everyone they'd like to go after.They don't have the money, so they spin it like it's a logical decision for them, made using reason and compassion. It isn't. Instead of locking us all up - as they and the for-profit prison industry would prefer - they'll cherry pick those who are speaking the loudest and with the most potential for effecting real change (those with the money to buy the change that is).Don't let them lull us into yet another false sense of security - until the D.E.A. goon squad removes cannabis from the Controlled Substances Schedule, we're all still targets for selective prosecution.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on August 31, 2013 at 10:58:58 PT
Time will tell. I always say go slow and don't push the envelope and then this all will keep evolving our way.
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Comment #1 posted by HempWorld on August 31, 2013 at 07:51:56 PT
Ok, it's progress...
I guess...I keep getting flashbacks of the Ogden memo from a few years back. "We will not circumvent state marijuana laws... " Meanwhile the DEA raided up and down the west coast, I think they like it here better then CO or the East Coast?!After the statement the raids went into overdrive. Is there a tug-of-war going on between the Obama admin. and his master, Rocky?The question remains, what will Rocky do?
Marijuana Garden
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