Feds Approve Marijuana Legalization Laws!

At a press briefing Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice announced it will allow Colorado and Washington to move forward with implementation of laws establishing state-regulated systems of marijuana production and distribution.

“Today’s announcement is a major and historic step toward ending marijuana prohibition,” said MPP director of federal policy Dan Riffle. “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.

“We applaud the Department of Justice and other federal agencies for its thoughtful approach and sensible decision. It is time for the federal government to start working with state officials to develop enforcement policies that respect state voters, as well as federal interests. The next step is for Congress to act. We need to fix our nation’s broken marijuana laws and not just continue to work around them.”

james cole
Dep. Attn. Gen. James Cole

While the memo reiterates that marijuana use and distribution are still in violation of federal law, it lays out the priorities for the Department of Justice in states where marijuana policy differs from federal law:

 

  • 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.

After the last memo issued by Cole regarding state medical marijuana law and federal enforcement, states with very clear policies in place to control and regulate marijuana distribution saw little or no interference. This latest memo seems to echo that position in the cases of Washington and Colorado for adult use, so hopefully we can expect the Department of Justice to continue this trend moving forward.

31 thoughts on “Feds Approve Marijuana Legalization Laws!”

  1. The tone of this sounds different. I hope that real actions follow these changes. The Ogden memo really didn’t change much and I don’t expect that many are holding their breath to wait to see how this is interpreted by law enforcement with boots on the ground. I hope that this spells the end of paramilitary raids by masked men into the homes of suspected medical marijuana patients. We do need to fix our states and our nation’s broken marijuana laws and that has not changed. I understand from another article that they may leave a door open for dispensaries to use banks. Does anyone have a link to the actual memo?

  2. I’ll believe it when I see it. remember this is also the same president that says one thing and dose another.

  3. This is just a memo. Remember the last few memos that were released? I do. They turned out to be nothing but inked symbols on a piece of paper better suited to wiping my behind. I think this will be the same thing. It sets a huge precedent for other states to follow in comfortably if this is a real development. But, until the actual LAW is changed, I’m going to continue to act as I have since California was the only medical marijuana state. We’re still on Rule #1: Don’t tell anybody!

  4. I read the press release and it seems this has nothing to do with Pot. It has to do with control. Marijuana has never harmed ANYONE, it has only improved lives. If not from the creation of textiles, to recreational use, and medical. CONTROL means that they want to tax, but Washington said “the power to tax is the power to destroy.” I say this is a double edged sword, and that we should not except a tax or governmental institutionalization of hemp in any way. That is to say unless you want large corporations to pop up and make weed a blight on mankind ust like Tobacco. it’s not anything like alcohol where if you make it wrong you can blind or kill. Also the press statement said that they still intend to prosecute people that even have a firearm in their home if they consume pot. this is a felony and a separate possession or distribution charge. so nothing has changed. also, this memo is nothing more than Machiavellian politics at its worst. The feds have no control because the states made it legal in their jurisdiction, so what does the fed gov do? they release a statement giving them permission to do something they have already done. As if WA an CO couldn’t just nullify any fed gov law like they just did. Give me a break! now let’s talk about something important. Benghazi, NSA spying, us not going in to Syria, and Obama’s birth certificate not being legitimate. Or how about how article III of the constitution says nothing forcing judges to side with the constitution or congress over a defiant president. we for some reason think their oath of office is good enough…but as we can see with the FISA courts that’s not so. They claim secret courts can set prescience over common law. now that’s a crime because if it’s a state secret how can you know the law, and if you can’t know the law is not knowing the law an excuse?

  5. Memoranda are relatively meaningless. The document that LC linked does a good job of dancing around the issue, only to conclude by saying in effect “we will back off until we decide not to”. Congress passed the CSA and listed Marijuana on schedule 1. Nixon signed it into law. Nixon! for crying out loud. Congress, under the leadership of Tip O’Neill pushed through asset forfeiture laws which allow enforcement bodies to seize the property of anyone the government deems “criminal”. So, there is tremendous money behind keeping things as they are. And such being the case, this administration could even go as far as growing weed in Michelle Obama’s herb garden, but when an arch conservative comes into power, the pendulum will certainly swing the other way.

    We need congress to remove marijuana from the controlled substances act all together, and pass legislation giving marijuana the same classification as alcohol and tobacco. Until this happens, we must proceed with caution.

    To Douche’s comments about corporations getting involved: It’s all about money. Profit and taxes, that is what drives society and government. If we want marijuana legal for adult use, we need to face the fact that companies will need to be involved in the legal production, distribution, and sale of marijuana. Taxes are inevitable at all levels. If the government cannot get it’s cut of the pie, forget any chance of reform.

  6. Hello MPP Staff, keep in mind that this is America and it’s SUPPOSEDLY BE A FREE COUNTRY & I LIVE IN INDIANA, So I have Chronic Pain AND YOU STAFF HAVE NO CLUE OF HOW BAD IN PAIN I’M IN AND ASKING AND REQUESTING FOR YOU ALL TO UNDERSTAND THAT IT’S FOR PAIN PURPOSE ONLY and Besides That I’m VERY VERY CONCERN THAT LIVE ON PAIN MEDS. AND ALL OTHER MEDS. AS WELL WILL END UP EATING MY LIVER and KIDNEYS AS WELL WHILE YOU KNOW THAT YOURSELF THAT MARIJUANA DOESN’T HAVE ALL THAT DANGER SIDE OF AFFECTS LIKE THOSE NARC. MEDS DOES HAVE THE DANGER SIDE OF AFFECTS YOU KNOW THAT YOURSELF, I PAY TAXES MY WIFE PAY TAXES AS WELL, HOWEVER IS AMERICA STILL A FREE COUNTRY ? OR IS IT CHANGING TO COMMUNIST COUNTRY NOW DAYS ? I BEGIN TO WONDER YOU KNOW AND IT’S SAD, PLEASE GET BACK TO ME IMMEDIATELY OR ASAP, THIS IS AMERICA, THANKS FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDING IF MPP STAFF ARE WILLING TOO, ALSO WHAT GOES ON IN COLORADO AND WASHINGTON STATE IS MY WISH TO CONGRATULATE THE CITIZENS OF THOSE TWO STATES YOU KNOW, BUT INDIANA IS PART OF AMERICA AND THERE NO EXCUSE’S FOR THAT TO HAPPEN AS NO NOT ALLOWED IN INDIANA,

  7. I mainly agree with everyone: there’s less here than meets the eye. The Federal Government is retaining the power to change its mind at any time for almost any reason. Imagine you had rented a car for two weeks and on Day 3 Avis increased your rate by $100/day and didn’t say a word. That’s what is happening to us.

    Marijuana mostly sells itself. As it becomes more available–via medicinal laws and decrim–people will become more familiar with it and more comfortable.

    Eventually we will be able to make our pro-pot argument like this: Freedom of choice for competent adults. Even for cannabis.

    NOTE TO “DOUCHE”: Choosing that nickname automatically discredits you. I’m impressed at the speed with which you undermined your credibility.

  8. This is a step in the right direction! It is a start! Any movement of progressive change requires small changes and improvements. No sweeping or all in one brush stroke resolutions are likely to occur! Many states are contemplating doing exactly what washington and Colorado did but don’t have the guts to pass laws that will blatantly contradict federal law and put their citizens at risk of getting locked up by the Feds! Now that the Feds have indicated we will lean back and respect state laws we will see more and more states legalize! But hopefully, this will also encourage more states to, at a minimum, decremanlize weed! To receive a criminal record for a few grams of weed for personal use is incomprehensible! So lets be thankful for this and see it as progress! Also imagine all the flack that dept of justice is gonna catch from those who want status quo!

    And to the dude that mentioned obamas birth certificate? Really? His grandparents just happened to place a fake announcement of his birth in a Hawaii newspaper because they new he would be president 40 some years later???? Obama is not perfect and is open to criticism, but dam dude Can we let the birther nonsense go?

  9. I’m wondering how this memo is different from the October 2009 memo regarding investigation and prosecution in states authorizing medical marijuana? Melinda Haag has continued her sabre-rattling unabated.

  10. I agree with the individual above who made the statements about small steps forward. If you were to ask anyone who has any interest in Cannabis whether its medicinal use, or recreational, we all agree to the logical thoughts and reasonings of control in some manner. I have never heard a single person that I knew who smoked pot say that they could not tolerate it being treated like alchohol and with standard punishments for committing acts that harm another individual. As far as harming anyone else goes though, let it be said that no matter how you use, or partake in the use of whether by inhalation or digestion, this is in direct process with your own body, and you are not forcing it on anyone else. Just like Tobacco, or Alchohol, or in certain places in this world Caffeine, it is easily managed and each and every one of us retains the right to put into our own bodies what we choose.

    Let Freedom of choice ring, and then and only then will true justice be served.

  11. Disabled vet here who first smoked weed in Nam. Severe PTSD often comes with chronic pain in the form of fibromyalgia which I’ve had for several years. The VA (our govt) gives me a pittance of pain control meds which barely takes the edge away and test me regularly to be sure I’m not doing anything extra. As sorry as the medical service is, it’s all I have so I’m stuck with it. I think I actually did better when I self medicated but now that I have “agent orange related” cancer”, I don’t have much choice. I smoked for nearly 40 years and have suffered no ill effects that I know of and did not “gateway” to harder drugs. Except for the relief of weed, I’d have long ago joined so many other vets that just gave up the easy way. Mandatory drug tests at my job is the reason I stopped. Those tests are the reason people with jobs will not be able to use pot recreation-ally or possibly medically. Even though it’s been proven smokers are actually above average employees the corporations will not keep them.
    The conservatives are always screaming about states rights but they won’t be on this issue. They don’t want to lose the votes of the religious right. Ya’ll know that anything that smells the least bit liberal is criminal in their view. It’s complicated and I wish I could be here to see the nonsense end but it will take a few more years.

  12. Wow, if marijuana was legal in indiana they could focus more on the methamphetamine labs and users, and not some pot head chong type people.

  13. Hey gary, I can get you some marijuana.
    Im not a copper.

    Flexxx. Thats my street name. Im in indiana.
    Im a mormon and my judgment is u could( or would) it for medical.
    For the cron. 30-50 1/8 oz
    Reg seedy stem filled bag, hope hands are good 15-25 a 1/2 oz

  14. I agree with Anthony T and Don …. this is just a published lie that means they are going to CONTINUE to spend $180,000 a day – of public tax money – prosecuting medical marijuana patents and providers in states where it is Legal.

    That Hagg prosecuted MORE people right after the 2009 memo came out: expect the Federal Government to do just the opposite once again – and DOUBLE Down on prosecuting people – while forbidding them to use the defense of a legal doctor’s recommendation in that state.

    Just a bunch of bullies, highly paid by liquor lobbyists, to say ANYTHING: but keep that plant out of everyone’s hands as long as is possible!

    Obama was known as Barry the Interceptor as a teen – he loved weed so much. Now he wants NO ONE Else to enjoy it: he is a hypocrite who sold out to the Liquor industries demands.

    I say America Should immediately do as the Shafer Report – president Nixon’s Blue Ribbon Drug Panel – recommended. But the federal government buried those uncomfortable truths as fast as it could and Nixon lied and did the EXACT Opposite of the reports recommendations!

  15. I woul challeng eminem to a freestyle match an mike jordan to a b-ball game to where if i won marijuana would be legal

  16. No more discriminations, thank god and its about time. God bless AMERICA land of the free. Now what about current employment drug screening policy

  17. The federal government is going to do what they want to do they don’t give a fuck what we think or say. All they care about is their pockets if they made it legal they would lost out on the money on the drug charges and cort cost. Best thing to do is to get out of this shitly fucked up country. My plan is to move to Ontario Canada or Mexico when I retire.

  18. Asset forfeiture laws are exactly why most law enforcement want marijuana to stay illegal. They would loose way to much! As would the for-profit prisons and so on. All these jerks like it just the way it is!

  19. @Joker:

    I sympathize with you, and with all the people who are forced to squeak by just barely on the drugs peddled by the “legal” drug dealers, rather than use the actually effective and far less harmless marijuana. My fury at this is one of the reasons I’m in this fight, despite not being a user myself. I suffered from chronic headaches and migraines, at one point having a moderate to severe headache or migraine every day, with OTC meds no longer working at that point. I wouldn’t go to the doctor because all they’d do is put me on harmful and addictive horse pills and/or give me a surgery that would leave me worse off than before. I was fortunate to be able to control the problem with diet (found out quite by accident), but I’m hearing now that marijuana would have been very effective in treating my migraines. It infuriates me that there are people suffering like I did and like you do who are unable to access a perfectly harmless and effective drug just because Drug War profiteers want money. These people who support the Drug War are committing crimes against humanity, IMO.

    What’s worse about the mandatory drug testing from corporations is that studies have shown time and time again that they only serve to reduce marijuana use in those companies–but increase usage rates for cocaine and other hard drugs that drug tests routinely miss, due to the fact that they are only detectable for a day or two after ingestion. So that makes companies that drug test not only less productive due to losing the more productive above-average MJ users, but makes them even less productive and less safe due to the increased number of hard drug users, who might be more likely to report to work under the influence. Drug testing is a scam and has been from day one.

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