Smoke’em if You Got’em

This will rob a great many people of one of their favorite anti-Obama talking points. via TPM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government says it will not sue to stop the states of Colorado and Washington from allowing recreational marijuana use.

In a sweeping national policy announcement, the Justice Department outlined eight top priority areas for its enforcement of marijuana laws.

They range from preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors to preventing sales revenue from going to criminal enterprises, gangs and cartels and preventing the diversion of marijuana outside of states where it is legal under state law.

This is a significant development in that it may be the beginning of the end of the War on Drugs.

Without the threat of federal intervention, more states may follow in the footsteps of Washington and Colorado by legalizing marijuana.

The reported guidelines state that individuals may still face prosecution to prevent the following:

  • 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.

In other words — federal prosecutors will use common sense and prosecute individuals for obvious reasons such as selling to minors or diverting revenue to drug cartels. And from my understanding, these prioritizing guidelines apply to all cases and were sent to U.S. attorneys across the entire country, not just those located in states that have legalized marijuana.

Just as the Department of Homeland Security has prioritized the enforcement of certain immigration laws over others, the Department of Justice may re-prioritize to focus on prosecuting the most egregious offenders of drug laws.

This is unprecedented territory, because the unthinking War on Drugs has been the status quo for over 40 years. Attorney General Eric Holder is backing up his speech to the American Bar Association with real action. But with that said, this is a first step and we shouldn’t expect it to be perfect or to proceed without a hitch.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/felonious.grammar Felonious Grammar

    When I was a licensed grower of medical marijuana for one of my caregiving clients, the federal housing inspector would check to see if the client was abiding by the rules and that the license was displayed. Later, the federal Housing authority prohibited it. I’d like to see that changed.

  • blair houghton

    read the linked article, from which the list of 8 priorities is cribbed. it also says that the feds are going to sue to stop the laws entirely, since regulating weed is their job. all they’re saying here is they won’t be dicks about it while that’s going through the courts.

    • JMAshby

      No, that is not what it says.

    • nathkatun7

      So what exactly are you saying here? Exactly how do “the feds… sue to stop the laws” but at the same time say “they won’t be dicks about while that’s going through the courts….”? It seems to me that no matter what this administration does it’s never good enough for you holier than thou emoprogs.

      • blair houghton

        the administration will eventually bring to court their case that regulation of drugs is a federal matter and states can’t actually ‘decriminalize’ anything about drugs that are banned federally. meanwhile, they will not enforce (some of) the federal law in states that have changed their state laws; just because they can enforce or not enforce the law as they see fit; that’s what the executive can do. i don’t know if anyone’s holier than thou, but certainly many are more educated and intelligent.

        • JMAshby

          This is wrong. They aren’t planning to sue states over decriminalizing marijuana. They will not “eventually bring to court their case.”

          However, the DOJ reserves the right to sue sometime down the road IF the states do not police themselves properly.

          It’s up to the state to self-regulate, and if they don’t the DOJ may bring the issue up again at a future date. That’s a major component of the DOJ’s announcement — the need for proper regulation.

          I may not have made that clear here, but you referenced the source link and misinterpreted it.

          “More educated and intelligent.” Right…

          • blair houghton

            Two things:

            1. You’re wrong. I didn’t misread it. I read it. They can bring the case at their own pleasure; you’re imagining there are conditions on that; there are none.

            2. This is not a one-party government. If the executive changes hands, that reserved right becomes a dead-certain guarantee.

            Stop voting for republicans, and stop giving them ammunition.

        • mrbrink

          Good god, man. You’ve never seen so much legal weed in your life and it’s still not good enough? This administration’s war on weed has stopped just short of toking up with you outside Denny’s.

  • Razor

    “Just like Bush!”

  • WiscoJoe

    “This will rob a great many people of one of their favorite anti-Obama talking points.”

    Nah, they’ll just move the goalposts. For example, did you know that Obama is trying to prevent the distribution of marijuana to minors? Fascism! Trying to prevent the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana is a clear violation of the 2nd Amendment and is the worst tyranny this country has ever faced. Why does Obama hate the Constitution?

    Besides this is just meant to distract us from the real issue which is legalization of heroin.

    • nathkatun7

      Yep! blair houghton above did exactly what you predicted.

  • blackdaug

    deeep…draw……Cool.

    • joe blow

      cool

    • stacib23

      Okay, this one cracked me up.