Obama Administration Backing Off War On Weed?

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Jay Brockman
Yesterday, an amazing thing happened on Capitol Hill: the Obama Administration publicly acknowledged that America's decades-long war on weed isn't working, and that the feds have no justification for interfering with states that want to legalize pot.

The admission came from the mouth of Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole, who wrote a recent memo stating that the Justice Department will not sue to prevent Colorado and Washington States from establishing legal marketplaces for medical marijuana in their states. "In those jurisdictions that have enacted laws that legalize and seek to regulate marijuana for some purposes, this means that strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems must address the threat those state laws could pose to public safety, public health, and other law enforcement interests," Cole said.

While the feds will continue to prosecute organized criminals who engage in selling marijuana outside the framework of state laws, or who transport across state lines or sell to minors, etc, Cole's remarks seem to indicate that Colorado and Washington will be allowed to set up and police their respective recreational pot programs without fear of federal retaliation.

It's still too early to tell just how those states will fare, but they can't do worse than California, which despite legalizing pot for medical purposes 17 years ago, never managed to come up with an effective state-wide system for regulating the law's implementation. In fact, California legislators are currently working to enact exactly such a law that was recently proposed by San Francisco Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, a staunch advocate of medical marijuana, although as usual cannabis activists are still debating the merits of the law. Meanwhile, Long Beach, which invited collectives to participate in a lottery to apply for expensive city permits before refusing to provide any and then banning the clubs, is now poised to allow them again, under a new city law currently being worked out.

Nor is it clear exactly how federal prosecutors will follow Cole's memo. A spokesperson for U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, who is trying to seize Oakland's mega-dispensary, Harborside, told the East Bay Express that the memo won't affect her work. "At this time the US Attorney is not releasing any public statements," the spokesperson said. "The office is evaluating the new guidelines and for the most part it appears that the cases that have been brought in this district are already in compliance with the guidelines. Therefore, we do not expect a significant change."

Here in Orange County, as the Weekly has already reported, federal prosecutors are no less zealous than Haag. Internal emails show that, contrary to public assertions, the feds explicitly have sought to eradicate all dispensaries, regardless of whether they follow state law, and still haven't dropped an asset forfeiture case against an Anaheim landlord who evicted a dispensary the feds accuse of selling $27 worth of medical pot.

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4 comments
malcolmkyle16
malcolmkyle16

Some simple facts:

* Prohibitionists have always been murderous parasites: In 1926, during alcohol prohibition, the federal government began a campaign of deliberately poisoning vats of liquor with kerosene, gasoline, benzene, cadmium, iodine, zinc, mercury salts, nicotine, ether, formaldehyde, chloroform, camphor, carbolic acid, quinine, acetone, methanol, and several other deadly toxins. Estimates place the body count above 10,000.

* Illegal Drug Cartels cannot operate without the support of politicians, bureaucrats, and police officers.

* Keeping various psychoactive plants and their derivatives illegal and unregulated means robberies, home invasions, murders, broken families, shattered lives—all mostly done by law enforcement agencies. Add to that list: environmental devastation, poisoning of lands, streams and wildlife—all preventable by regulated legalization. 

* Prohibition has been a slow but relentless degradation (death by a zillion cuts) of all our cherished national and international institutions that will leave us crippled for numerous generations. 

* The US federal government is now the most dangerous and corrupt corporation on the planet; it is solely comprised of traitorous, lying hucksters who spy on us—in the MPICIC (military/police industrial corporate intelligence complex), the 99% are all probable suspects.

* In 1989, The Kerry Committee found that the United States Department of State had made payments to drug-traffickers. Concluding, that even members of the U.S. State Department, themselves, were involved in drug trafficking. Some of the payments were made even after the traffickers had been indicted by federal law enforcement agencies - or even while these traffickers were under active investigation by these same agencies.

* The involvement of the CIA in running Heroin from Vietnam, Southeast Asia and Afghanistan, and Cocaine from Central America, has been well documented, by the 1989 Kerry Committee report, academic researchers Alfred McCoy and Peter Dale Scott and the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Gary Webb.

* The United States jails a larger percentage of it's own citizens than any other country in the world, including those run by all the other worst totalitarian regimes, yet it has far higher use/addiction rates than most other countries.

* As with torture, prohibition is a grievous crime against humanity. If you support it, or even simply tolerate it by looking the other way while others commit it, you are an accessory to a very serious moral transgression against humanity.

* The United States re-legalized certain drug use in 1933. The drug was alcohol, and the 21st amendment re-legalized its production, distribution and sale. Both alcohol consumption and violent crime dropped immediately as a result. And very soon after, the American economy climbed out of that same prohibition engendered abyss into which it had foolishly fallen.

BrianKelly
BrianKelly

The "War on Marijuana" has been a complete and utter failure. It is the largest component of the broader yet equally unsuccessful "War on Drugs" that has cost our country over a trillion dollars.


Instead of The United States wasting Billions upon Billions of more dollars fighting a never ending "War on Marijuana", lets generate Billions of dollars, and improve the deficit instead. It's a no brainer.


The Prohibition of Marijuana has also ruined the lives of many of our loved ones. In numbers greater than any other nation, our loved ones are being sent to prison and are being given permanent criminal.records which ruin their chances of employment for the rest of their lives, and for what reason?


Marijuana is way safer, and healthier to consume than alcohol. Yet do we lock people up for choosing to drink?


Marijuana is the safest and healthiest recreational substance known to man, with many wonderful medical benefits as well.


Even The President of the United States himself has used marijuana. Has it hurt his chances at succeeding in life? If he had gotten caught by the police during his college years, he may have very well still been in jail today! Beyond that, he would then be fortunate to even be able to find a minimum wage job that would consider hiring him with a permanent criminal record. Let's end this hypocrisy now!


The government should never attempt to legislate morality because it simply does not work and costs the taxpayers a fortune.


Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that's approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think and there is nothing they can do to stop it!


Legalize Nationwide! Support Each and Every Marijuana Legalization Initiative!

paullucas714
paullucas714 topcommenter

The new position is hopeful but many people are very cautious as the Feds have said this before.

ethernot
ethernot

@paullucas714 We're pretty sure yesterday was the first time any official from the federal government has admitted, at least on the record, that they have no legal grounds to challenge the repeal of state cannabis prohibition laws …  But if you're referring to last week's DoJ memo, yes, it's not really worth the paper it's printed on, as Haag and other federal attorneys have already been so kind as to inform us.

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