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I like Congressman Jared Polis (D. CO-02) a lot for his strong stances on marijuana legalization and civil liberties.  So I'm going to give Polis a short but honorable diary with his remarks about the Department of Justice's decision not not to sue Colorado and Washington over their marijuana legalization laws:

“I am thrilled Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice are allowing Colorado and Washington to regulate their own state laws regarding recreational and medicinal marijuana," he said. "This is a big step in allowing small businesses to grow and succeed while following state and federal laws. I am hopeful that other states may see marijuana regulation as an opportunity to reduce crime, combat drug abuse, and enhance economic opportunity.”

He continued: "I fully support the eight priorities outlined by Attorney General Holder including prosecution for marijuana distribution to minors and protecting motorists from drugged drivers. This new sensible approach by the federal government will make all of us safer and respect the rights of states to determine how best to regulate marijuana within their borders." - TPM, 8/29/13

Here's a little more background info:

The United States government took a historic step back from its long-running drug war on Thursday, when Attorney General Eric Holder informed the governors of Washington and Colorado that the Department of Justice would allow the states to create a regime that would regulate and implement the ballot initiatives that legalized the use of marijuana for adults.

A Justice Department official said that Holder told the governors in a joint phone call early Thursday afternoon that the department would take a "trust but verify approach" to the state laws. DOJ is reserving its right to file a preemption lawsuit at a later date, since the states' regulation of marijuana is illegal under the Controlled Substances Act.

Deputy Attorney General James Cole also issued a three-and-a-half page memo to U.S. attorneys across the country. "The Department's guidance in this memorandum rests on its expectation that states and local governments that have enacted laws authorizing marijuana-related conduct will implement strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems that will address the threat those state laws could pose to public safety, public health and other law enforcement interests," it reads. "A system adequate to that task must not only contain robust controls and procedures on paper; it must also be effective in practice."

The memo also outlines eight 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.
The eight high-priority areas leave prosecutors bent on targeting marijuana businesses with a fair amount of leeway, especially the exception for "adverse public health consequences." And prosecutors have shown a willingness to aggressively interpret DOJ guidance in the past, as the many medical marijuana dispensary owners now behind bars can attest.

U.S. Attorneys will individually be responsible for interpreting the guidelines and how they apply to a case they intend to prosecute. A Justice Department official said, for example, that a U.S Attorney could go after marijuana distributors who used cartoon characters in their marketing because that could be interpreted as attempting to distribute marijuana to minors.

But the official stressed that the guidance was not optional, and that prosecutors would no longer be allowed to use the sheer volume of sales or the for-profit status of an operation as triggers for prosecution, though these factors could still affect their prosecutorial decisions. - Huffington Post, 8/29/13

This is still a good day for advocates of marijuana legalization and drug reform.  Hopefully this is just the beginning.

Originally posted to pdc on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 07:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Colorado COmmunity, The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, and DKos Cannabis Law and Drug War Reform.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Is Congressman Polis in a safe Dem district? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sceptical observer, Leftcandid
  •  Polis is the kind of candidate (6+ / 0-)

    I'd like to see more of in the Democratic party. I think he represents the kinds of views that are common among millenials: pro-legalization, pro-internet freedom, pro-civil liberties, pro-gay rights and anti-war. He is also a successful internet entrepreneur who understands technology, small business and the economy.

    •  The Reality Is (0+ / 0-)

      That Polis is a terrible candidate.  He won his initial primary by just burying a true liberal, first female Senate President who would have fought for the real liberal agenda.  Then, he's never had an election since.  This year, he totally ignored the new parts of his district.  I'm in the new part of the District and I'm an unaffiliated voter.  I didn't get squat from him.  He never asked for my vote.  Not even in a robocall.

  •  I'd like to see Polis as Speaker one day (4+ / 0-)

    That'd be neat.

    Leftist Mormon in Utah, Born in Washington State, live in UT-04 (Matheson).

    by Gygaxian on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 08:08:59 PM PDT

  •  FULL SPEED AHEAD ON HEMP. (0+ / 0-)

    I get that pot will always be the focus, but hemp is another, safer-for-investors economic engine to which the DoJ has just handed us keys.  

    This is exciting!!!  We'll make those Eastern Plains farmers librul yet.  Real economic opportunity is hemp fields with wind turbines.

    It's time to start letting sleeping dinosaurs lie, lest we join them in extinction by our consumption of them.

    by Leftcandid on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 05:54:27 AM PDT

  •  Ugh. Wrong and Wrong. (0+ / 0-)

    First, Polis is an asshole.  He's arrogant and impossible to work with.  Women especially who work with him absolutely just despise him.  So, don't be pushing him for anything.

    Second, how about the topic?  Is it really a good idea to support the idea of a President ignoring the law?  How about if it was a Republican President who said that the EPA has better things to do than enforce environmental laws?  In my view, if the President has the authority to ignore laws there is no President, there is a King/Queen, who can just ignore the will of Congress without any consequences.  This is a terrible idea in my view.  And, I'm one of the supporters of Amendment 64 in Colorado which legalized marijuana under state law.  Do you really want the situation where Mississippi can pass it's own laws which say that discrimination in housing is OK and then have a President who says, we are going to go with the will of the people?  That is literally what you have endorsed here.  No matter how much we'd like not to believe it, there will someday be another Republican President.  This is terrible.  I hope someone will challenge this in Court.

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