A Colorado CBS local affiliate reported that the Obama administration has announced that it will not sue states like Washington and Colorado for violating federal law, although it "reserves the right" to sue them later if it wants.
The Denver Post cites an official memo that was sent out. You can read the memo for yourself here, but it essentially represented a declaration from Attorney General Eric Holder's office that closing down recreational or medicinal marijuana dispensaries would not be a priority if the dispensaries followed the new rules outlined in the memo. Getting high should now be nice and simple, right?
Not exactly. The states that have legalized must comply with a new series of rules regarding marijuana's regulation. The memorandum sent out included eight official guidelines, which were:
• preventing marijuana distribution to minors,
• preventing money from sales from going to criminal groups,
• preventing the diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal to states where it is illegal,
• preventing criminal groups from using state laws as cover for trafficking of other illegal drugs,
• preventing violence and the use of illegal firearms,
• preventing drugged driving,
• preventing the growing of marijuana on public lands,
• and preventing marijuana possession or use on federal property.
Prosecutors have said that they won't target pot smokers or legal pot businesses, but the kids just cannot be allowed anywhere near the stuff, and criminal gangs are not to be involved at any level of the process.
Thankfully, none of the official concerns are outside of the realm of expectations held by Colorado voters. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said "today's announcement shows the federal government is respecting the will of Colorado voters... we share with the federal government its priorities going forward." Hickenlooper had spoken with Attorney General Holder and Washington Governor Jay Inslee in a phone conversation around noon today that cleared the smoky air regarding the federal government's intervention in marijuana legislation.
The memorandum is hardly indicative of President Obama's firm federal support for the measure, but Kevin Sabet, formerly with the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said it best when he quipped that "This is not the end of the story... this is the beginning, [but] this is not a free pass for states. I think they [Colorado and Washington] are going to have to be very careful in setting up their regimes."[Image via a Reason TV Youtube about Colorado's marijuana legalization]