Sep 052013
 

Eric Holder senate hearing marijuanaI’m curious to see what questions are asked at the upcoming federal Senate hearing dealing with the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) approach to marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado. At the time the hearing was scheduled, no one knew anything about how the DOJ would respond. However, recently the DOJ issued a memo claiming that they would respect state laws on the matter. Of course, many marijuana activists are skeptical given a similar memo was issued in regards to state medical marijuana laws, yet raids continued. Below are questions from a letter that was sent from California NORML to Senator Dianne Feinstein in hopes that they will be asked at the hearing:

Dear Sen. Feinstein:

Here are some questions for the Department of Justice which we hope you will ask at the upcoming Judiciary Committee hearings on federal policy with regards to state marijuana laws. Cal NORML welcomes the A.G.’s announcement that DOJ will not seek to overturn state marijuana laws. We strongly support his proposed guidelines for federal enforcement and hope the state legislature will act expeditiously to enact a “strong and effective” regulation system in California, as called for by the A.G.

Questions FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL HOLDER:

(1) Will the DOJ and DEA stop pressuring banks and financial institutions to deny services to cannabis businesses that are operating legally under state law? Forcing cannabis businesses to deal in cash only invites crime. A DOJ official told the Huffington Post that DOJ would not prosecute banks for serving legitimate cannabis businesses, but this hasn’t been confirmed in writing, nor is it clear whether DOJ’s policy extends to the DEA or other federal agencies.

(2) Similarly, will the DEA desist from its recently reported policy of pressuring armed security services into not serving cannabis businesses?
(3) Will the DOJ direct DEA to stop sending threatening forfeiture letters to landlords of cannabis businesses that operate legally under state law?

(4) Will the DOJ direct the BATF to rescind its prohibition on gun sales to otherwise law-abiding medical marijuana users – especially after having given automatic weapons to Mexican narco-trafficantes under operation “Fast and Furious”.

(5) Will the DOJ rescind its threats to prosecute local officials who try to regulate marijuana, as happened in Mendocino County, where US attorneys coerced the county supervisors to repeal their path-breaking 9.31 outdoor cultivation ordinance that successfully promoted compliance with environmental, public safety, and land use laws, while raising over $600,000 in fees for the sheriff’s department?

(6) Will the DOJ direct DEA to reconsider its obsolescent, 40-year-old policy of treating marijuana as a Schedule I drug with no medical use? As you know, it has now been 17 years since Californians first voted to approve the medical use of marijuana. Since then, 20 states plus the District of Columbia have followed suit, along with such nations as Canada, Israel, Czechoslovakia, and the Netherlands.

In the meantime, there have been dozens of published studies showing medical benefits of marijuana, including several FDA-approved human studies by California’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research. When then-DEA administrator Asa Hutchinson was asked about rescheduling marijuana in 2002, he responded that would require studies of the kind then being planned by CMCR. Despite this, in denying the latest rescheduling petition by the Coalition to Reschedule Cannabis, the DEA totally disregarded the latest evidence from CMCR and other sources, claiming that it would only consider large-scale, Phase 3, FDA studies, which have been impossible to conduct due to the DEA’s own regulations.

(7) Will the DEA desist from obstructing scientific studies by denying access to marijuana for research purposes? The DEA has insisted on giving monopoly control over marijuana research to NIDA, rejecting an application by the University of Massachusetts to establish a medical cannabis research garden. Doing so, it overruled the decision of its own administrative law judge, Mary Ellen Bittner, that establishing such a garden would be in the public interest. The result has been to prevent any Phase 3 FDA studies from being conducted, since NIDA has repeatedly said it has no interest in letting its marijuana be used for such purposes. In effect, the DEA has created a Catch-22 situation, demanding that marijuana be proven through studies that it refuses to permit in the first place.

(7) Will the DEA eliminate obsolescent rules that prevent legitimate researchers from using marijuana that is legally produced under state laws? At present, DEA regulations preclude research with anything other than NIDA’s marijuana. This prevents research with the hundreds of new varieties that have been developed and are widely use in states like California. In order to properly evaluate the risks and benefits of these varieties, which include constituents not found in NIDA’s supply, it is essential that researchers have the same freedom to investigate them that legal users enjoy.

We believe the Attorney General’s new policy is on the right track, but needs to be followed up with appropriate action by the DEA and other federal agencies, as well as by Congressional legislation.

Sincerely,
Dale Gieringer, Director, Cal NORML

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About Johnny Green

Johnny Green is a marijuana activist from Oregon. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Public Policy. Follow Johnny Green on Facebook and Twitter. Also, feel free to email any concerns.
  • medcannabis1

    AG Holder and the Obama administration could simply learn an important lesson from Dr. Sanja Gupta by simply admitting they were misled by the very agencies designed to enforce laws governing cannabis. By executive order the President could reschedule cannabis and end this needless persecution of the sick and dying over an old racist law from 1937.
    Remove the politics from the discussion and let the sick and suffering have safe access and in doing so we end the American Slave Trade with the For-Profit Prison Industry.

    • HempShare

      Or they could admit…they are acting from personal experience of SMOKING POT and they have no knowledge of Cannabis as an herb, food, medicine and hemp as fiber, food, fuel & medicinal cures from a hygienic diet.

      How can anyone think Cannabis will get you high…unless they have been high.

      Pretty simple since there is NO THC in Cannabis. IT CAN ONLY GET YOU HIGH IF IT IS DECARBOXYLATED.

      No DECARBOXYLATION = SAFE for Infants & Children.

  • wowFAD

    (9) Will the DEA continue to flout the 4th Amendment of the US Constitution by circumventing the legal requirement of judge-issued warrants for wiretaps through housing AT&T employees, on-site, in DEA offices who are subject to frequent “administrative subpeonas” (no judge) for telecommunications data on American citizens? Data that allegedly goes as far back as 1987, dwarfing the NSA’s own warrantless wiretapping scandal?
    (10) How many millions of dollars have been paid out of federal coffers for the DEA’s many, many criminal violations of others’ rights, ranging from shooting innocents (people and pets) to locking a student in a windowless cell for five days with no food or water (just a bag of meth)?

    (11) The DEA has, slowly but surely, approved a gradual 1200% increase in production of opiate painkillers in the United States over the last two decades. Also, the number of accidental deaths due to opiate painkiller overdose has more-than tripled since 1990. This past year, death due to drug overdose (36k per year) has become the #1 cause of accidental death, outpacing every other cause of death due to accident/injury, including deaths involving a vehicle (33k) and shootings (31k). Despite these alarming statistics, cannabis enforcement represents 70% of the DEA’s worload — even though cannabis has never been responsible for a single overdose — ever. Why does the DEA continue to prioritize a substance that has never killed anyone, despite the fact that deaths due to overdose have risen to an all-time high?
    (12) How much of the DEA’s expenditures are covered through property seizures that occur with or *without* a conviction? Is this not also a violation of the 4th Amendment, which protects American citizens from illegal search AND *seizure*???
    (13) Does the DEA have a hiring policy for sociopaths, or do you think a 19 year old girl, asleep, needs to be woken by 12 men in SWAT gear for possessing less than 3 grams of cannabis? Why did your agents shoot and kill an unarmed, wheelchair-bound VETERAN?

    • HempShare

      The DEA and NSA are a greater collective threat to quality of life in the United States than the peace-loving religion Islam EVER COULD BE.

      It is time to disband both of these groups and LET US USE NSA BACKUP & ARCHIVAL TECHNOLOGY FOR PEACE & GOOD RATHER THAN EVIL SPYING.

  • Gary

    I would as if the Attorney general himself will consider licensing the states to manufacture and distribute marijuana, under the rules and regulations already setup.

  • joe

    I haven’t heard anything about drug testing for marijuana being changed in all of the latest rhetoric. I’d absolutely love to medicate or just get high but def can’t lose my job in doing so.I follow lots of different sites and also read Holders ALLEGED new “policy” and can’t find a single thing about testing.

    • HempShare

      So you accept the enslavement. Is that even “living”? Think about it? “Can’t lose your job…” Why because you can’t afford Fiber, Food, Fuel & Medicine without a job? What if you could grow Clothing, Food, Fuel & Medicine in your garden. Would you even have to “go to work” then?

      The meek will inherit hemp, then they will inherit the Earth.

      • HempShare

        This is also expressly their plan. They drug their feet so the insurance companies and employers can discriminate against the Cannabis user and force you to work along side some one chomping down anti-depressants. (Postman & AK47 comes to mind), but yet you can’t use plant medicine or slightly intoxicate your self with cannabis. Gladly get smashed on all the alcohol you care to. Even come into work hungover (most hungover would fail 0.08 BAC). So they are technically Working While Intoxicated. Not to mention they jeopardize your safety.

        So accepting the psychotic “work” options of the ESTABLISHMENT is the first means to destroying your options.

        Success, Failure and the Law of Time (having to be to work on an unnatural schedule) is the death of the human psyche.

  • HempShare

    Why accept defeat? Why compromise? Hemp cannot physically be used as a drug, yet ALL activists seem to be happy that Hemp IS NOW IN CORPORATE HANDS via University & College Possession.

    Think about it…Universities & Colleges only get their funding from Government & Corporations…

    So, Universities & Colleges studying hemp (again) is the wink, wink to Congress’ corporate handlers.

    Then take Cannabis. There is NO THC in Cannabis. NO PSYCHO-ACTIVE compounds are present.

    No THC = No High = No Psychosis = Herb = No different than Parsley, Sage, Rosemary or Thyme.

    No amount of indoctrination, nor brainwashing can make Cannabis dangerous.

    Lifting Adult Prohibition AND requiring a PRESCRIPTION for Minors to DECARBOXYLATE THC-A into THC is the ONLY SOLUTION.

    EVERY OTHER PROPOSAL IS A COMPROMISE AND A LIE.

    Stop lying to your self about Cannabis and maybe people will StandUp4Cannabis.org.

    It is time to steamroll these idiots and Hydro-seed the Country with Hemp to NEVER BE ERADICATED FROM HUMANITY EVER AGAIN.

    Anything less is defeat and you will remain enslaved as the Civil War successfully “freed” the black man, while “enslaving” ALL citizens on earth as the Industrialists agreed to sequester Hemp.

    Take a gander. Choice and Freedom began to erode in earnest after the “Second Hemp Revolutionary War” (Civil War).

    The approaching Civil War that will take place in 2017 in America will actually be our Third Hemp Revolutionary War.

    Can it please be our last?

  • http://churchofsmoke.org/ Jose

    At 80 years old, maybe Feinstein will have a heart attack when she realizes that the war on marijuana is lost and her life long ambition to keep marijuana illegal is a failure.

    It will be amazing to get one question answered.