Justice Department Agrees Not to Challenge State Marijuana Laws
By Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall
According to Yahoo News, the Obama administration quietly legalized marijuana use last week – at least in states with medical and recreational marijuana laws.
In an abrupt about face, Deputy Attorney General James Cole notified all 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices that states with recreational and medical marijuana laws can now let people use it, grow it under license, and purchase it from retail facilities — so long as possession is prohibited in minors and it doesn’t end up on federal property or in the hands of gangs and criminal enterprises. Other high priority enforcement areas include prevention of drugged driving, the use of state-authorized marijuana activity as a cover for trafficking other illegal drugs, and the use of firearms in marijuana cultivation or distribution.
The memo elaborated that all states legalizing marijuana will be expected to enact rigorous regulatory regimes. If they fail to do so, the Justice Department will respond by challenging their regulatory structure, rather than prosecuting marijuana users – as they have done in the past.
A great victory for states rights, the move will boost legalization initiatives in states where marijuana is still illegal. Possession remains a felony offense in only 16 states. In the other 34 states, marijuana use has either been decriminalized or reduced to a misdemeanor. In Washington and Colorado, both possession and sales became legal (by voter initiative) last November.
photo credit: eggrole via photopin cc
Dr. Bramhall is a retired American child and adolescent psychiatrist, activist and political refugee in New Zealand.
Her first book The Most Revolutionary Act: Memoir of an American Refugee describes the circumstances that led her to leave the US in 2002. She has also published two young adult novels about political activism: The Battle for Tomorrow: A Fable
She is involved in the national leadership of the New Zealand Green Party and has a political blog at StuartJeanneBramhall.com