Marijuana legalization: States send message, feds aren't listening
Category: Legalization | Posted on Tue, November, 13th 2012 by THCFinder
Voters in Washington and Colorado didn't just pass historic measures legalizing recreational marijuana use last week, they blew smoke in the face of Atty. Gen. Eric Holder and, by extension, President Obama. The bud stops at your desks, gentlemen.
Since the vote, legal experts and media analysts have focused speculation on how the feds will crack down on these two rogue states and show them who's boss. Will the Department of Justice file a lawsuit, seeking a ruling that federal law prevails and nullifying the results of the election? Or will the Drug Enforcement Agency start breaking down doors of pot shops in Denver and Seattle?
We'll probably get the answers in the next few weeks, but meanwhile I have a better question: When is the federal government going to get the message that the states are so desperately trying to send it?
Growing national acceptance of same-sex marriage attracts a lot of discussion, but the trend's got nothing on the changing attitudes on marijuana; although nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized gay unions, 26 states have either legalized medical marijuana use or passed laws minimizing or eliminating penalties for possession of small amounts of cannabis, or both. In Alaska, for example, it's legal to keep up to 4 ounces of marijuana in one's home (as a service for non-potheads, that represents a lot more weed than the average person could smoke in a month) and to cultivate up to 24 plants.
A Gallup poll last year, meanwhile, found that 50% of Americans think marijuana should be legalized for adult use. That's up 4% from the previous year and the highest percentage since Gallup starting tracking public attitudes on cannabis in 1969.
What's happening in the states is a backlash against federal cannabis laws seen as draconian and counterproductive in that, like the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s, they have created a non-taxed underground industry and clogged prisons while doing little to decrease marijuana consumption.
Most absurd of all is that under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it has no accepted medical uses and is as dangerous and addictive as heroin.
If there was ever a justification for this, it ended decades ago. Although cannabis is hardly the wonder cure that medical marijuana enthusiasts claim, there is ample evidence that it has valuable curative properties, particularly when it comes to appetite stimulation for cancer and HIV patients. Moreover, it's widely considered less addictive than alcohol or tobacco and less dangerous to consume.
Colo., Wash. await federal marijuana response
Category: Legalization | Posted on Fri, November, 9th 2012 by THCFinder
DENVER (AP) — Two states that approved recreational use of marijuana are waiting to hear how the federal government intends respond to the measures.
The governor of Colorado said he planned to talk by phone with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder about the measures that contradict federal law banning the use of pot.
Seventeen states and Washington, D.C., already allow marijuana use by people with certain medical conditions. Still, federal drug law outlaws use of the drug in all circumstances.
Voters in Colorado and Washington pushed the limits even further when they approved ballot measures Tuesday allowing adults over 21 to possess small amounts of marijuana under state regulation and taxation.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has said Colorado will respect the will of voters but added that he was awaiting word from the U.S. Department of Justice on how to proceed.
"In a situation like this, where our law is at loggerheads with federal law, my primary job is to listen first," the governor said.
Hickenlooper opposed the ballot measure and has downplayed the likelihood of a commercial marijuana market materializing in Colorado.
"Based on federal law, if it's still illegal under federal law, I can't imagine that 7-Eleven is ever going to sell it," he said.
Marijuana advocates hope the federal government maintains its current posture of mostly ignoring states that flout federal law by allowing medical use under certain circumstances.
The U.S. government has cracked down during the past two years on more than 500 marijuana dispensaries in several states, but no one has faced federal prosecution for personal use.
"It would certainly be a travesty if the Obama administration used its power to impose marijuana prohibition upon a state whose people have declared, through the democratic process, that they want it to end," said Brian Vicente, co-author of Colorado's marijuana measure.
Colorados vote to legalize marijuana fires up doubters
Category: Legalization | Posted on Thu, November, 8th 2012 by THCFinder
Don’t be surprised if a friend or relative soon announces a trip to Colorado.
It is pretty there. Rocky Mountains, old mining towns, ski resorts. Oh, and the state Tuesday became one of the first two in the country to legalize recreational marijuana.
Supposedly, you will soon be able to go into a store and buy pot like it’s a bag of 15-bean soup mix.
Denver could become like Amsterdam in the Netherlands. But then, so perhaps could the first farming town past Goodland, Kan., on Interstate 70. Just no canals. Maybe some irrigation.
Colorado’s Amendment 64 passed Tuesday with 53 percent approval. The new law allows anyone over 21 to go into a specialty retail store and buy up to an ounce of marijuana. Supporters in the state danced in the streets when the results became final.
They’re probably dancing elsewhere, too.
“You know people are going to drive to Colorado from Kansas City and a whole bunch of other places,” Larry Townsend told The Star on Wednesday.
He’s the sheriff of Wallace County in Kansas, right on the Colorado border. Don’t count him among the dancers.
“They will buy where it’s legal and as soon as they leave the state it’s going to be a crime. It’s going to be a terrible mess.”
Coulter deVries, a Kansas City lawyer who supports the legalization of marijuana, acknowledges that residents of other states will probably go to Colorado to stock up on pot, but he thinks what voters did there is a good thing. The new law also allows residents to grow up to six marijuana plants.
“Look, a lot of people smoke pot, and it’s ridiculous to throw them in jail when they get caught with it,” deVries said.
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