Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A small surrender in one of the battles in "the war on drugs": DoJ allows marijuana legalization to proceed in Washington and Colorado

By Mona Goldwater, Jurisprudence Ed.

Attorney General Eric Holder recently let the governors of Washington and Colorado know that the Department of Justice was backing down from their earlier statements and would allow the states to implement the ballot initiatives that legalized the use of marijuana.

Holder's memo outlines the priorities for federal prosecutors enforcing marijuana laws. According to the guidance, DoJ will still prosecute individuals or entities to prevent:
  • 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.


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