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View Diary: Senate Judiciary chair Pat Leahy floats federal marijuana legalization (181 comments)

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  •  All the Justice Department gas to do is... (47+ / 0-)

    lower the priority, effectively leaving all enforcement/regulation to the individual states.

    President  Obama could easily lower the priorities much like he did with deportations of young "dreamers" last summer.

    This is a matter of Executive branch discretion.

    Myself, I call it a step forward.

    "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

    by markthshark on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 06:30:31 PM PST

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    •  Um, that should be "has to do" lol (12+ / 0-)

      "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

      by markthshark on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 06:32:15 PM PST

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    •  Out Of DOJ's Control. (30+ / 0-)

      The people of CO have made this all an academic issue for the federal bureaucrats and lawyers in DC -- at least in CO. Being able to grow your own - hemp is after all a weed - has busted it wide open. You can't sell it, and the feds may be able to stop the state from allowing it to be sold, but you can grow your own, and even lay up to an ounce of it on any of your buds.

      That's a lot of backyards in Denver and Boulder that won't have any cops looking over the fence -- not to mention the rural plots where people live in the mountains and on the plains.

      The feds can ponder all they want. This cat is out of the legal bag and running loose in Colorado.

      “I’m able to fly, do what I want, essentially. I guess that’s what freedom is — no limits.” Marybeth Onyeukwu -- Brooklyn DREAMer.

      by chuco35 on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 07:30:17 PM PST

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      •  Then I'm definitely right in saying... (23+ / 0-)
        Myself, I call it a step forward.
        Interesting times ahead of us. I know big-moneyed interests are going to weigh in before it's all said and done. But for the meantime, not only will people now have access to marijuana for both medicinal and recreational use but every curious grad student with access to a chem lab will be analyzing and exploring the plant's potential.

        I hope legislation like Colorado's and Washington state's grows and spreads... well, like a weed. lol

        "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

        by markthshark on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 07:56:36 PM PST

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        •  And the big money interests (7+ / 0-)

          Will want it legal. Totally legal. They know it will be a huge business, and they have a leg up. They'll be able to get licenses to grow and sell wholesale, and the current illegal dealers won't. They have the distribution networks, all legal, and the illegal dealers don't.

          The big money isn't stupid, and they're not ideologues. They see money. They'll want in, and they get in if there are procedures for large scale growing and distribution, not if it winds up that everybody has a pot plant.

          Some people will, but growing any plant that you want to harvest and/or is valuable takes some effort. Not a lot, but more than a lot of people want to deal with. They'd be happy to be able to stop by a store and buy what they want.

          Maybe, just maybe, the Feds will start seeing the drug war the same way they came to see prohibition - a losing battle that's costing way, way, WAY too much money and resources.

          •  Eventually, they will... (3+ / 0-)
            And the big money interests (4+ / 0-)

            Will want it legal. Totally legal.

            But as far as corporate support goes, there are many more aspects to legalization of marijuana to consider than just recreational use. And the development and marketability of all those aspects will force corporations to reverse, retool and reinvent the processes and manufacturing infrastructure of all their various product lines, likely made obsolete in the very near future as more and more funded research reveals the mostly still untapped potential of this plant. We already know that with hemp, we can make rope, cloth fabric, paper, certain types of oil and even foodstuffs, just to name a few.

            Add all that to recreational and medicinal uses for the plant and the possibilities are literally endless.

            But considering the fact that most CEOs of large corporations are politically conservative and the very meaning of "conservative" is resistance to change don't count on corporations coming out for legalization right away.

            There's no doubt that marijuana's going to change the world in the 21st Century. Now we just have to drag the plutocrats outta the 20th.

            And you can bet they'll go kickin' & screamin' all the way.

            "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

            by markthshark on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 08:22:06 AM PST

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            •  Of course (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              DoctorWho, markthshark

              as soon as the big companies figure out how they can make money, they'll be the ones pushing for legalization.

              Just like the alternate energy technologies. The big reason they haven't been more widely adopted, especially for transportation, is because the big energy companies haven't figured out how they can make money.

              As soon as they get that part worked out (and you know they're working on it, they're not totally ignorant) you'll see a lot more options in vehicles.

              My thought is they're trying to figure out how to manufacture reasonably priced, easy to refill or swap, fuel cells. Once they have that done in a way that gets hooked up like a the tank on a gas grill, it would be dead easy to sell it to the general public. Refueling would take minutes, be no more expensive than gasoline, and readily available.

              Yes, it's easy to plug in an electric, but charging takes hours. Not helpful if you're driving a long distance and need to go more than 50 mi in a day.

              But if you could just swap a tank... anybody can do that, and it doesn't take 8 hrs.

        •  tobacco giants are already set to go (5+ / 0-)

          Heard a discussion recently on Thom Hartmann's show about how the tobacco companies have preemptively positioned themselves for entry into the marijuana market. they stand to make billions.
          Marley brand is already copyrighted, over the objections of the Bob Marley estate.
          'nuff said.

          Stand for something, or you'll fall for anything - Malcolm X via Skindred

          by kamarvt on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 05:49:05 AM PST

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          •  Not to rain on your parade, (5+ / 0-)

            but I've been hearing this for forty years.  

            I don't doubt it, actually -- it does stand to reason that those in the position to profit most from reformed marijuana laws would be champing at the bit for reform.  And maybe they even are, but it plainly hasn't been enough to get them to mount a full-court lobbying press for it.  Or, at the very least, not a successful one.  

            •  Allow me.... (6+ / 0-)

     thank you for saying "champing."  If I had a dollar for every time I've ground my teeth in frustration when someone says "chomping at the bit," I'd be able to buy several good books.

              Freedom isn't "on the march." Freedom dances.

              by WarrenS on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 07:02:18 AM PST

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            •  oh. it's no parade (3+ / 0-)

              I have no love for the tobacco industry, and don't for a minute think they will be at the tip of the spear on this divisive (for now) issue. I wouldn't want Philip Morris to be the face of marijuana reform, and would expect NORML feels the same way.
              They are merely positioning themsleves to make a truckload of money once the legal issues are resolved and their corporate risk is minimized. The tobacco industry will do nothing to reform our laws, and nothing to speed up that reform. But they will be there to dilute the THC content, add carcinogens and addictive substances, and sully the names of every pot-smoking icon you can think of. Count on that.

              Stand for something, or you'll fall for anything - Malcolm X via Skindred

              by kamarvt on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 07:33:19 AM PST

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              •  I don't doubt any of that, either, (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                WarrenS, MichaelNY

                but if they really stand to reap immense profits from legalization, then it doesn't follow that they'd stand idly by while others wrangle out the legal issues.  It not only doesn't follow, it doesn't make sense.  A nation where legalized marijuana is controlled lock, stock and barrel by the tobacco industry is only one possible outcome of reform, and (if I'm any judge) not even particularly one of the likelier ones.  By logic, the tobacco companies have every motive to push for a brand of reform which gives them the most control, and they ought to be doing that.  But they're not, at least not visibly.  Why not?  

      •  Colorado pot legalization: 30 questions (11+ / 0-)

        and answers.

        Q: Can I grow marijuana in my backyard?

        A: It's unclear, but very likely no. Marijuana home growing has to be done "in an enclosed, locked space" and "not conducted openly or publicly," according to the amendment. That may create wiggle room for marijuana to be grown in outdoor greenhouses, but it is unlikely to allow you to plant pot next to your rose bushes.

        Read more: Colorado pot legalization: 30 questions (and answers) - The Denver Post
        Read The Denver Post's Terms of Use of its content:

        Granny Storm Crow's MMJ Reference List-686 pages of hyperlinks in PDF format Yesterday's history, tomorrow's a mystery. Today is a gift and that's why it's called "The Present".

        by elkhunter on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 09:51:16 PM PST

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        •  In an enclosed locked space not conducted openly (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          S F Hippie, CS in AZ, MichaelNY, rlochow

          or publicly simply means a high fence that has a locked gate. Like my backyard which is not open to the public -- you've gotta climb up it to look into my yard.

          “I’m able to fly, do what I want, essentially. I guess that’s what freedom is — no limits.” Marybeth Onyeukwu -- Brooklyn DREAMer.

          by chuco35 on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 07:09:18 AM PST

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      •  DA here in norcal said 15 plants max, then changed (5+ / 0-)

        to 25 plants max, no cops, no bust...that was a norcal DA overwhelmed with house and trespass grows with his underfunded inept thumb in the dike.

        The Feds would have to, but they aren't likely the temptation to have several of the legal grows is pretty high and the money is worth the risk to many who sell. I see them busting larger and more annoying to somebody growers and workers...not home grows in any small scale. Just don't be an obvious and annoying person and you are less likely to have a it seems now.

        Home users have little to fear except the usual home invasions, burglaries, and rip offs. other than that...

        Calif actually led the way and paid a price with their medical MJ laws, and the feds are now in a much weaker position having overreached against by and large legal  MJ medical  places.
          If there was any strategy here by the ebil PBO it was to have the Feds apply the law pretty much out there in the most public way possible...and eroding MJ prohibitions..intentional...maybe, he's tricky enough.
         ymmv. :>

        That will change.

        This machine kills Fascists.

        by KenBee on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 11:41:17 PM PST

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      •  People were growig pot in their back yards (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueoasis, KenBee, JesseCW, mkor7

        Here in Santa Rosa, California, the DOJ, the DEA, ICE and local police continue to go after people. The local  police were serving a warrant on someone, and they noticed that a lot of yards had marijuana plants, so 32 people got arrested. Adults handcufed and sitting on the curb, and the kids running up and downthe street crying.This was on September 27th 2012.

        If Obama wanted pot to be legal, he could instruct Eric Holder to re-schedule it so it is no longer  included inside the most criminal schedules of  drugs. But Obama has no intention of legalizing pot. He has promised Big Pharma and also Big Prison Industry to keep it illegal.

        I am glad to read this article, and hope that Leahy starts to get support for the Senate to do something. Here is what is going on in side the House of Reps - A bill presented in Congress re: Marijuana for the States

        Here is an email I recently received. I don’t know the in’s and out’s of “Bill Language” so smarter people than me will have to inform us on what the bill(s) actually means.

        1:38 AM
        FROM: Jasmine Tyler, DPA
        To: TrueDelphi
        SUBJECT: New Bill in Congress to Protect Marijuana Legalization

        Drug Policy Alliance email to TrueDelphi

        Urge your representative to support a new bill that would protect marijuana legalization!
        Take Action. Be sure and contact your representative today.

        Even as the drug policy reform movement celebrates our historic victories legalizing marijuana in Colorado and Washington, and also letting citizens in Massachusetts have medical marijuana, we still have to ensure that the states can implement their laws without federal interference.

        Several U.S. representatives from Colorado recently introduced a bipartisan bill to help protect our victories by giving the states room to implement the new laws. Tell your U.S. representative to support the bill that would enable the states to make their own marijuana laws.

        The Respect States’ and Citizens’ Rights Act would affirm the ability for states to establish their own marijuana laws free from federal interference.

        This bill’s primary sponsor, Democratic Congresswoman Diana Degette from Denver, was joined by her fellow Colorado Republican Congressman Mike Coffman — who voted against Amendment 64 but still wants to ensure that the federal government respects the will of voters.

        Although Colorado and Washington voted to regulate and tax marijuana, these ballot initiatives are not going to implement themselves. We need to do everything we can to ensure the federal government plays a constructive — rather than destructive — role.

        This is just the beginning of the end of marijuana prohibition. We still have our work cut out for us. And we need your help!

        Urge your representative to support the new bill in Congress that would enable the states to implement their own marijuana laws free from federal interference.


        Jasmine Tyler
        Acting Director, Office of National Affairs
        comment on this6 Comments Recommend Edit

        Offer your heart some Joy every day of your life, and spread it along to others.

        by Truedelphi on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 12:04:51 AM PST

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    •  No (4+ / 0-)

      It being officially illegal under federal law means you are technically still committing a federal crime using the substance.

      That is unacceptable, even with a wink-nudge from the DOJ.

      It's either legal or it isn't. Laws that aren't enforced are ripe for abuse. I think DOJ turning a blind eye is a worse outcome than fighting it tooth and nail. At least then as a citizen you know the position of your own government on the matter.

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 05:19:52 AM PST

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    •  how about touting that as (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY, isabelle hayes

      a form of cutting government spending?

      how you like them cuts, Republicans?

      A thousand Sharkeys are invading a thousand Shires every day across our country.--James Wells

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 08:25:31 AM PST

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