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Holy Crap, The Federal Government Is Conceding!


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OlderNewer11hoursagoColorado, Washington get OK from feds on marijuana155

 

Associated Press

 

When voters in Colorado and Washington approved the legalization of marijuana possession for adults, it was a policy breakthrough, but there was a problem: the newly approved state laws conflicted with federal law.

 

Under the Controlled Substances Act, federal law bans marijuana use, so Colorado and Washington were left wondering whether the Justice Department would intervene and block the measures approved by state voters.

 

Today, as Ryan J. Reilly and Ryan Grimreported, Colorado and Washington got their answer.

 

The United States government took an historic step back from its long-running drug war on Thursday, when Attorney General Eric Holder informed the governors of Washington and Colorado that the Department of Justice would allow the states to create a regime that would regulate and implement the ballot initiatives that legalized the use of marijuana for adults.

 

A Justice Department official said that Holder told the governors in a joint phone call early Thursday afternoon that the department would take a "trust but verify approach" to the state laws.

 

That last part is important. The DOJ is effectively letting the states know that they can proceed on their current course, but if federal law enforcement has reason to believe in the future that Colorado and Washington are failing to be responsible, the feds can revisit the new policy.

 

In the meantime, though, that means these states -- and any others that choose to follow their lead -- can move forward on legalization.

 

After watching the "war on drugs" move in only one direction for the majority of my life, this strikes me as a pretty amazing development. Up until fairly recently, it would have been unimaginable.

 

The Huffington Post added that Deputy Attorney General James Cole also issued a three-and-a-half page memo to U.S. attorneys outlining eight priorities for federal prosecutors enforcing marijuana laws. These are the areas where prosecutions will continue:

 

* the distribution of marijuana to minors;

 

* revenue from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, gangs and cartels;

 

* the diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal under state law in some form to other states;

 

* state-authorized marijuana activity from being used as a cover or pretext for the trafficking of other illegal drugs or other illegal activity;

 

* violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana

 

* drugged driving and the exacerbation of other adverse public health consequences associated with marijuana use;

 

* growing of marijuana on public lands and the attendant public safety and environmental dangers posed by marijuana production on public lands;

 

* preventing marijuana possession or use on federal property.

 

But note that this leaves a whole lot of recreational pot use that federal prosecutors will no longer feel the need to pursue.

 

Update: Sahil Kapur posted the full memo from Cole.

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* revenue from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, gangs and cartels;

 

 

 

Actually, if you read the details, nothing has really changed.  it's almost exactly like the last memo covering MMJ and states except now it includes Washington and Colorado.  Dispensaries and commercial grow operations are still going to get raided just like they are now.

 

That's right. The Feds and the State both consider dispensaries and commercial grows to be criminal enterprises.

 

As long as you buy from a cartel they'll leave you alone.

 

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it's a huge deal.

 

it's a small victory but has such far reaching implications. 

 

they just gave the green light to 2 states to tax, grow, and regulate cannabis for recreational use instead of medical... 

 

now the feds have to prove criminal intent instead of just having plants growing someplace which equals criminal conspiracy and intent..

it is small step..

yet

HUGE..

 

for the time being.. I remain in a "ill believe it when I see it" state of mind and actions.

 

for now I do support a legalization effort here in Michigan to include industrial hemp and a whole new era of energy production and agricultural shifts to more responsible farming techniques for our countries food productions in general..

 

im dreaming again LOL

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That's right. The Feds and the State both consider dispensaries and commercial grows to be criminal enterprises.

 

As long as you buy from a cartel they'll leave you alone.

 

 

No, they are out to bust the cartels too.  They want you to use the legal system as designed by each state.  For Michigan that means they want you to get a registered caregiver.

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it's a huge deal.

 

it's a small victory but has such far reaching implications. 

 

they just gave the green light to 2 states to tax, grow, and regulate cannabis for recreational use instead of medical... 

 

now the feds have to prove criminal intent instead of just having plants growing someplace which equals criminal conspiracy and intent..

it is small step..

yet

HUGE..

 

for the time being.. I remain in a "ill believe it when I see it" state of mind and actions.

 

for now I do support a legalization effort here in Michigan to include industrial hemp and a whole new era of energy production and agricultural shifts to more responsible farming techniques for our countries food productions in general..

 

im dreaming again LOL

I have to say I agree with this guy ^... This is huge in my mind because the announcement comes just before the congressional hearing taking place on Sept 10 which Eric Holder is invited to attend. 

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/08/26/congress-to-hold-hearing-on-countrys-clashing-marijuana-laws

 

I choose to believe this is the beg. of the end of the war on a plant that is proven to help mentally, spiritually and physically in the pursuit of happiness... let it be legal!

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I also think this is huge, maybe not so much in Michigan right now because so little turns out to be legal under our present law, but in every state considering MM or decriminalization or expanding their existing MM law to include perhaps dispensaries, this answers one of the biggest legislative objections to such laws, that being "what will the feds do?".  Notwithstanding the concerns about the fine print raised herein, the answer is that the feds will generally do nothing to prevent states from allowing and taxing marijuana use and businesses, giving any state so inclined the green light to do so.  I think this will clearly accelerate the rate of state acceptance, and that momentum will continue to build for more and hopefully better change to state and federal law.  One step at a time...

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Actually, if you read the details, nothing has really changed.  it's almost exactly like the last memo covering MMJ and states except now it includes Washington and Colorado.  Dispensaries and commercial grow operations are still going to get raided just like they are now.

Reading the memo, I gather that what the feds is saying is that states can allow marijuana use, but the expense of enforcement is now on the states.  If the state can't afford the proper enforcement, it can't afford legalization.  

 

Have you read the memo? I've saved on a flash drive

Edited by Ms Chocolate
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I dunno that it is a huge development. We are in a game of inches. This move is one in the right direction, away from unreasonable enforcement and toward more liberal use of the drug. Policies brought by Nixon and subsequently supported by the government, most notably under Reagan, have calcified and it will take time to break up and bury them once and for all.

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Seriously, nothing has changed. There is nothing new in this memo that the feds haven't already said.  They are still going to bust dispensaries in Michigan.  People are misinterpreting this, just like they misinterpreted the last justice department memo.  

 

I agree. Seems like people would understand politics better at this point.  It doesn't change anything, just more of the same mind games John Lenon sung about.

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What this means to my mind is that if a state, including  Michigan, passes pro-cannabis laws,  the feds are at least willing to let the 'state' deal with it under 'state law' as long as things don't get out of hand, like MJ going from 'legal states' into states that don't allow cannabis, etc.

 

I believe the feds realize the cannabis movement is here to stay and there's becoming very little they can do about it.

 

We just have to get our 'federal reps' to remove their craniums from a lower bodily region, and change the federal laws so that they respect states' rights to allow the use of cannabis... then the federal enforcement agencies will have no other choice but to allow things to progress. 

 

But that also means we here in Michigan have to be ready to 'help' things change. 

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What this means is that the feds won't mess with anyone unless they are breaking the state law.  That's how they handled it before.  This memo only included the recreational states of Washington and Colorado in addition to the legal MMJ states.  As long as the state of Michigan believes dispensaries are illegal, which it currently does because of the McQueen decision saying the only legal way to transfer MMJ is to transfer it to your legally registered patients, then they are subject to federal raids and prosecution.

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I tend to agree with Cell, this means nothing for Michigan now but might clear the way for dispensary legislation in the future.

 

He is also correct in that the system we have here is a caregiver/self growing patient system.  Period.  With this memo we may actually see more raids on ad hoc 'dispensaries' here.  They are not following state law.

 

Dr. Bob

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This is a big deal. The difference between this and past memos is that they US AG called both Governors of the two LEGAL RECREATIONAL USE STATES and informed them that the US Government will not attempt to stop their outright legalization. That is HUGE......... Now whether or not they stand by their word is a different story but it is huge that they are not outright trying to throw the Federal trump card.

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I think there's a big understanding here. I take it that this memo is talking about recreational use states, not medical states. So I think it is progress in the right direction for them. I do agree however that it will do nothing or not much for medical states. That is why I would like to see Michigan get it legal.

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I tend to agree with Cell, this means nothing for Michigan now but might clear the way for dispensary legislation in the future.

 

He is also correct in that the system we have here is a caregiver/self growing patient system.  Period.  With this memo we may actually see more raids on ad hoc 'dispensaries' here.  They are not following state law.

 

Dr. Bob

 

That's correct!

 

Obey the current law until a 'better one' is passed into law.

 

And that time is coming soon. 

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