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November 2012
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Using Washington and Colorado as reason to push for federal change.

We’ve seen numerous articles about the votes emboldening other countries.

Jeralyn at TalkLeft has an excellent article about Colorado Representatives drafting bills to keep the feds out of state marijuana laws: CO Reps to Introduce Bill on Marijuana to Protect Amendment 64

Rep. Diana DeGette says she is putting the final touches on a bill that would amend the preemption section of federal drug law to add a clause that excludes state marijuana laws. The Denver Post, in an editorial, applauds her for taking action and for urging the Justice Department to “show restraint.” Reps. Jared Polis and Ed Perlmutter are also working, with DeGette and independently, on federal bills that would allow Amendment 64 to proceed, rather than waiting for an answer from D.O.J.

Jeralyn also points out passages in the U.S. Attorney’s manual that are extremely relevant to prosecutorial decisions as they may relate to going after marijuana offenses:

Nature and Seriousness of Offense. It is important that limited Federal resources not be wasted in prosecuting inconsequential cases or cases in which the violation is only technical. Thus, in determining whether a substantial Federal interest exists that requires prosecution, the attorney for the government should consider the nature and seriousness of the offense involved. A number of factors may be relevant. One factor that is obviously of primary importance is the actual or potential impact of the offense on the community….

The impact of an offense on the community in which it is committed can be measured in several ways…. In assessing the seriousness of the offense in these terms, the prosecutor may properly weigh such questions as….what the public attitude is toward prosecution under the circumstances of the case. The public may be indifferent, or even opposed, to enforcement of the controlling statute whether on substantive grounds, or because of a history of non-enforcement, or because the offense involves essentially a minor matter of private concern.

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19 comments to Using Washington and Colorado as reason to push for federal change.

  • DonDig

    The width and breadth of the reactions I’ve read about this vote have been stunning really. I almost expected Washington to flip out on the one hand, but on the other I think they may well have been offered a way out of the prohibition which has the writing on the wall at this point. Now there is a way for them to do it gradually, without losing face, and by watching what the effects are in the laboratory of the two states involved. When the world does not end, and all progresses more or less normally, no emotional or physical bloodshed, they may well be glad this opportunity to back off has been offered, and fall in behind it. The wall is already crumbling!

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  • When the wall in Berlin came down I can remember the picture of the East Berliners tearing pieces and sections of the wall down as they clambered through the holes. It wasn’t long before there was no wall.

    Washington and Colorado are representative of a wall that came tumbling down on the 6th of November, 2012 with no less import than the wall that fell in Germany.

    A people divided by fear and lies, whose masters built that wall to keep them put, will not be stopping with a crumbled section.

    Mr Obama, tear that wall down!

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  • claygooding

    We keep hoping our elected representatives will have an epiphany and realize that prohibition will never work because it has failed by every regime or government that has attempted to enforce one but too many are receiving lobby money from the benefactors of prohibition.

    They have ignored us for the last 4 years while every public input forum has been dominated with legalization questions and petitions but these initiatives and the worlds reaction to them should at least get a mention in congress and until we get the federal legislators talking about marijuana nothing is going to change.

    While our petitions and questions may have fallen on money deafened ears the actions by the other countries around the world should at least start a discussion.

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    • kaptinemo

      Well, it looks like the passage of the two initiatives is causing some pols to find their long-missing spines on the issue:

      Gov. Brown tells the Obama administration to back off on marijuana

      Obama didn’t listen to Pelosi when she made the same ‘suggestion’ before the election; he just sent out more goons to attack dispensaries. His people tried to ignore the protests outside his campaign HQs in CA. Which only pissed off REAL progressives even more.

      Now, that ‘suggestion’ carries political and social force behind it. It’s no accident that many of the pro-reform pols in CO like Jared Polis are being returned to Congress; they heard the voice of the people, loud and clear.

      It remains to be seen if Obama still needs to be fitted with a political ‘Miracle Ear’…

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      • Duncan20903

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        Jerry Brown has never had a personal opinion in his life. He believes whatever the voters want him to believe. I don’t think there’s any better example of a political whore than is Mr. Brown. While I am denigrating Mr. Brown it is a very good sign for us that he’s saying that. He’s not just a political whore, he’s a very successful political whore. The latter requires that he have an excellent grasp on whatever the voters believe.

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        • Windy

          I am facebook friends with Steve Kubby who suggested in his status update that CA secede, others on his thread said it should be the whole west coast, quoting Steve:
          “If the Feds are going to piss on any attempt to legalize marijuana, then why waste our time with initiatives to legalize. Instead, we should spend our limited resources on seeking succession (sic), since federal tyranny, not marijuana, is the real threat to our freedom and safety.
          “If the Feds are going to ignore our state elections and trample our inalienable (sic) rights, then we need to grow some balls and stand up to these bullies.”

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  • ezrydn

    Many here don’t remember when he was called “Gov. Moonbeam” nor why. And there’s been no change in him since then.

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  • Bill Maher Talks with Mason Tvert about Marijuana Legalization in Colorado

    http://tinyurl.com/a3quahd

    http://youtu.be/gHm6CuZ_RFI

    You gotta hear this.

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    • Windy

      Bill Maher claims to be libertarian but he’s really only libertarian on this one issue. I have no respect for him.

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  • d

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention. If anyone is interested, here is the applicable USAM section,

    http://www.justice.gov/usao/eousa/foia_reading_room/usam/title9/27mcrm.htm

    Go to 9-27.230, Initiating and Declining Charges—Substantial Federal Interest, Part B, Comment.

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  • oh my oh my…

    And now the President of Costa Rica is joining the chorus:

    Laura Chinchilla questions war on drugs after legalization in US states

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  • Duncan20903

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    Here’s something I sure never thought might happen…the Jews are proud of their man Mason Tvert. You know, if I weren’t such a hard core atheist I’d have to seriously consider converting to Judaism.

    I really liked the part where he challenged the drinking alcohol pushers to a duel to the death.

    Jewish pot activist Mason Tvert hits new high with marijuana legalization vote in Colorado

    By Ben Harris · November 12, 2012

    NEW YORK (JTA) — Say what you will about Mason Tvert, the Jewish activist behind the marijuana legalization campaign that passed in Colorado, the man clearly has a sense of humor.

    Some years ago, in his efforts to persuade the public that marijuana is far less of a health menace than alcohol, Tvert famously challenged both the mayor of Denver and the heir to the Coors brewing fortune to a sort of intoxication duel: Tvert would smoke pot while the others drank, and they would see who dropped dead first.

    Neither man took up Tvert on his offer.

    But after Colorado voters on Nov. 6 adopted a newly permissive approach to marijuana following a campaign for which the 30-year-old was the public face and a leading strategist, Tvert’s tomfoolery is no longer just a laughing matter. The measure, and a similar one adopted last week in Washington state, is a watershed, permitting residents over 21 to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and to grow up to six plants for recreational use.
    /snip/

    Wow, did you know that Mr. Tvert had to suffer having his stomach pumped at the emergency room after taking an overdose of drinking alcohol? I guess that his argument that cannabis is safer than drinking alcohol isn’t just an academic position.

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  • There is a data point in one of Douglas Husack’s books that when polled on how strongly they agree that drug use should be prohibited half say they strongly agree,and the other 50% are distributed among lower levels of agreement, uncertainty and disagreement. In none of our other prohibitions such as theft,assault, rape, etc. is there such ambiguity of acceptance of law.

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