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Marijuana None Of Fed's Business

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#1 Herb Cannabis

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 09:48 AM

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Published: Dec. 13, 2012 Updated: 11:26 p.m.

Rob Kampia: Marijuana none of fed's business

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By ROB KAMPIA / For The Register
In the weeks since 55 percent of Colorado and Washington voters passed a pair of ballot initiatives legalizing marijuana, the question on many people's minds is, "How will the federal government respond?" Before Election Day, the U.S. Justice Department was completely silent, despite the fact that all nine former heads of the Drug Enforcement Administration sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder in September, asking him to publicly oppose both initiatives.
And since the election, three areas within the Obama administration – the White House, the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the DOJ – continue to be silent. The only public comments so far were made by a DOJ spokesperson, who said DOJ is "reviewing" both state laws, and ONDCP director Gil Kerlikowske, who repeated that DOJ was reviewing the matter. This is good news.

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Gerald Thompson holds up a bag of marijuana on the steps of the State Capitol in Denver on Monday, Dec. 10, 2012. Marijuana for recreational use became legal in Colorado Monday, when the governor took a purposely low-key procedural step of declaring the voter-approved change part of the state constitution.


Members of the U.S. House of Representatives have been more active. This, too, is good news. Specifically, on Nov. 16, 18 members of the House, including the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), sent a letter to Holder and DEA administrator Michele Leonhart, urging the DOJ to respect the voters of Colorado and Washington.
And, on Nov. 27, Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) and nine other House members, including Republican Reps. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Michael Coffman (R-Colo.), introduced legislation to clarify that federal law does not prevent states from legalizing marijuana.
More significantly, it's worth remembering that a more muscular bill to de-federalize virtually all marijuana laws had attracted 21 sponsors even before Election Day. This bill is the ideal, ultimate bill, because it would mostly take the federal government out of the business of prohibiting marijuana. This bill was introduced by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who is retiring, so there will be a new lead sponsor early next year.
There's now also movement to introduce a new bill to treat marijuana like alcohol and tobacco on the federal level, which means allowing states to determine their own marijuana policies without federal interference, and imposing a federal marijuana tax that's similar to the federal taxes on alcohol and tobacco.
This new proposal, if it's introduced, could have legs. Currently, alcohol, tobacco and gasoline sales generate more than $6 billion, $17 billion, and $20 billion for the federal government annually. Given projected models of what a taxed and regulated marijuana market might look like, it's safe to assume that marijuana sales would generate perhaps $2 billion to $3 billion for the federal government annually.
And this doesn't even include federal income tax revenues from newly employed marijuana workers, nor does it include tax revenues for local and state governments, nor does it include criminal justice savings on every level of government.
Predictably, the U.S. Senate has been much quieter. In the history of the Senate, only one medical marijuana bill has been introduced, and that was by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) in 2004.
But Democrats increased their majority in the Senate on Election Day, and Democrats are overwhelmingly more supportive of marijuana policy reform than are Republicans, so we hope to work with friendly Senate Democrats, along with limited government Republicans like Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), to put marijuana policy on the Senate's agenda next year.
Going back to medical marijuana, it's worth noting that 163 members of the House voted in May of this year to prohibit DOJ (which includes the DEA) from spending any taxpayer money to interfere with state-level medical marijuana laws, including in California.
In a 435-member House, this amendment needs only 218 votes to pass, so 163 "yes" votes is pretty impressive, given that the amendment was called with less than two days' notice, and especially given that precisely 20 percent of the House was composed of freshmen Republicans (supposedly ultra-conservative "Tea Party" people).
Clearly, the federal government has been the biggest obstacle to sane marijuana laws since President Richard Nixon declared a domestic war on some drug users in 1971. But the feds aren't all bad, as evidenced by the fact that they have allowed legitimate medical marijuana businesses to help people for years in states like Colorado, Maine, and New Mexico.
Looking toward the next few months, the U.S. Senate should hold hearings and possibly even pass a marijuana de-federalization bill through the Senate Judiciary Committee. And the Obama administration should simply do nothing.
Rob Kampia is co-founder
and executive director of the
Marijuana Policy Project.

#2 bobandtorey


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Posted 14 December 2012 - 05:49 PM

So the president today said he wont go after the States that have legal mj like col and wash

#3 Mr. Wilson

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 12:56 AM

Obama lied before about not going after states. Maybe he can actually follow through, now that he has won again.

We'll see.

If he can get some balls to really do what he said, then hopefully the domino effect comes into play on State legalization.

#4 kzoocares


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Posted 15 December 2012 - 02:16 AM

the ball is still rolling in the right direction... for now. he could of said something a lot worse... but he has a track record of not doing what he says, you are right about that MrW

#5 hic


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Posted 17 December 2012 - 08:34 AM

Obama lied before about not going after states. Maybe he can actually follow through, now that he has won again.

We'll see.

If he can get some balls to really do what he said, then hopefully the domino effect comes into play on State legalization.

I feel the new election changed Obama...something changed him? He does not appear the same as he once was. Renewed the American Leader is.

He will leave marijuana alone there are more important matters to attend to anyway currently.

#6 t-pain


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Posted 17 December 2012 - 09:48 PM

obama says he would leave users and patients alone.
same thing he said in 2008 and 2009 ogden memo.
then the dispensary raids came and the people with so and so plants got fed time in prison.

so really, nothing has changed. obama is on message. feds in medical and legal states will continue to hunt people for marijuana.
the war on drugs aint over people, they're just trying to change the name lol

i think what everyone is forgetting is that obama is a harvard law professor and lawyer. he knows the darn CSA and that he has executive order power to change marijuana scheduling. multiple people have told him. yet he changes nothing. he smoked and says he is against legalization. hes a hipocrite like all the rest.

if you asked me, i'd bet that the only time he would change marijuana legal status is on his last day in office. like all the rest of the hipocrites. they wait until the last day. just so they dont burn those political bridges until they are out the door. thats why these senators that are retiring are sponsoring these bills. thats why EX-presidents of latin american countries are supporting legalization now, but not before.

look at history. AFTER hes not the president, he'll change his tune. why? no idea.

Edited by t-pain, 17 December 2012 - 09:55 PM.

#7 wingdings


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Posted 18 December 2012 - 08:06 PM

I laughed at the pic. Even if obama legalized it, he would still be ridiculed by pro cannabis republicans for something else.

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