obama medical marijuana enforcement
Ending Marijuana Prohibition Medical Marijuana Policy

Senators Press Obama Administration On Marijuana Policies

obama medical marijuana enforcementThe Obama Administration has been very disappointing in regards to marijuana policy, to say the least. Going into his first term, marijuana reformers were hopeful that Obama would make much needed changes to federal marijuana policy. Sadly, all he has done is issue vague orders that are immediately backed up by more enforcement and raids. Even after The New York Times endorsed marijuana legalization over the weekend, the Obama Administration doubled down on marijuana prohibition by issuing a statement saying that nothing would change.

Obama’s policies have prompted Senators from Colorado and Washington to issue a letter urging the President to set clear, consistent marijuana policies. See below:

Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Mark Udall (D-CO), and Michael Bennet (D-CO) sent a letter to White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and Attorney General Eric Holder urging the Obama Administration to ensure consistent and uniform application of federal laws that could impact licensed marijuana businesses, dispensaries, and growers in Washington state and Colorado.

“We believe the federal government should support Colorado and Washington state’s effort to establish a successful regulatory framework in a way that achieves greater certainty for local officials, citizens, and business owners as they tackle this complicated and important task. At times, however, certain federal agencies have taken different approaches that seem to be at odds with one another and may undermine our states’ ability to regulate the industry adequately,” the Senators wrote. “…We believe it is appropriate for the White House to assume a central and coordinating role for this government-wide approach. We therefore believe it is incumbent upon the Administration to work with all federal departments and agencies setting forth a clear, consistent and uniform interpretation and application of the CSA and other federal laws that could affect the industry. Such guidance should reflect the same deference to our state laws as does the Cole memorandum.”

Full text of the letter below:

July 28, 2014

Dear Mr. McDonough and Attorney General Holder:

We write to request that the Administration provide guidance to departments and agencies ensuring a consistent and uniform application of federal laws that could affect licensed marijuana businesses, dispensaries, and growers in Washington state and Colorado.

As you know, our states are implementing regulatory and licensing schemes to ensure any production and sale of marijuana is in accord with state law, and is conducted in a manner that preserves public health and safety. In working toward this goal, in some instances, our states will have to react to new information and evolving circumstances as this process moves forward. We believe the federal government should support Colorado and Washington state’s effort to establish a successful regulatory framework in a way that achieves greater certainty for local officials, citizens, and business owners as they tackle this complicated and important task. At times, however, certain federal agencies have taken different approaches that seem to be at odds with one another and may undermine our states’ ability to regulate the industry adequately.

In order to provide more regulatory clarity, we believe that the Administration should provide consistent and uniform guidance to departments and agencies regarding the interpretation and application of the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”) and other federal laws that could impact the marijuana industries in our states. Without such guidance, our states’ citizens face uncertainty and risk the inconsistent application of federal law in Colorado and Washington state, including the potential for selective enforcement actions and prosecution.

The Justice and Treasury Departments have issued guidance regarding federal enforcement priorities under the CSA and the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”). Specifically, state governments, businesses and citizens can now rely upon the August 29, 2013 Cole Memorandum to all United States Attorneys. We understand the Cole memorandum to recommend enforcement of the CSA only when a business fails to satisfy one or more of its eight criteria. In addition, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) issued its February 14, 2014 guidance that sought to establish the framework to allow legal marijuana businesses to access the banking system under limited circumstances. While it is not yet clear whether the FinCEN guidance will be successful, it represents an attempt to achieve at least some degree of consistency with the Cole Memorandum.

In contrast, the Bureau of Reclamation recently interpreted its legal duty under the CSA to affirmatively apply to its water-related contracts in Washington state, Colorado, and elsewhere. Under the Bureau’s interpretation of its legal duty, it “will not approve use of Reclamation facilities or water in the cultivation of marijuana” and reclamation facilities are required to notify the Department of Justice of any such use. Yet in this same policy, the Bureau acknowledges it “does not have a responsibility or designated role in actively seeking enforcement of the CSA.”

While recognizing the multi-faceted responsibilities of the Bureau, including meeting tribal treaty rights and management of natural resources, the Bureau’s interpretation of its legal duty under the CSA raises the question of whether another department may interpret its responsibilities differently. The potential for these differing approaches underscores the need for a consistent and uniform interpretation and application of federal marijuana-related laws across all departments and agencies.

To ensure such consistency and uniformity, we believe it is appropriate for the White House to assume a central and coordinating role for this government-wide approach. We therefore believe it is incumbent upon the Administration to work with all federal departments and agencies setting forth a clear, consistent and uniform interpretation and application of the CSA and other federal laws that could affect the industry. Such guidance should reflect the same deference to our state laws as does the Cole memorandum.

We understand the legal complexity of this issue and appreciate the Administration’s efforts thus far to provide certainty about federal enforcement priorities under federal laws as they relate to marijuana. We look forward to your timely response to this letter and working with you as Colorado and Washington state continue their work to implement their respective state initiatives.

Sincerely,

U.S. Senator Patty Murray
U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell
U.S. Senator Mark Udall
U.S. Senator Michael Bennet

Source: Patty Murray Website

  • shelly

    In other words, Get your shit together before you go poppin off to the people!

  • wowFAD

    I was pleased to hear of this letter, despite the fact that I think it came roughly 18 months LATE. It boggles my mind why the Senators from CO and WA have been warming the pine on this issue for a year and a half. Why did it take a decision from the New York Times, clear across the country, to spur these Senators into action?

    Or were they simply ebbing to Rand Paul’s flow? Were I a Senator from CO or WA, I’d be ashamed of myself if the junior Senator from Kentucky was doing more to represent the will of my constituency at the Federal level than me.

    While I appreciate the sentiment of a poignantly-worded letter, I’m afraid that’s all it’s worth — the sentiment. For goodness sakes, “consistent messaging” is not nearly as important as CONSISTENT ACTION. As United States Senators, these four individuals are not *powerless* to act. As I alluded before, Rand Paul has been taking action — he amended the jobs bill currently under debate on the Senate floor to prevent prosecution of medical cannabis patients and physicians and he also proposed stand-alone legislation to reschedule cannabis, federally. There is no good reason why the junior Senator from Kentucky took either of those actions before *one* (if not all four) of the Senators from CO and WA, who represent constituencies for whom these actions matter most.

    How about writing legislation (you know, like your JOBS entail) for comprehensive cannabis law reform? One bill could reschedule cannabis in the CSA to Schedule 3, protect the rights of current/future cannabis businesses, nationally decriminalize, AND remove all language from the legal code mandating the ONDCP to oppose legalization efforts. There are laws that justify the ONDCP bald-facedly LYING to the taxpayers, who give the ONDCP $25 billion a year for the privilege of being systematically misled and deceived. All of these changes (and more, I’m sure) could be bundled into a bill they could call the Cannabis Law Reform Act of 2015. I’m aware our Congressmen are all doing what’s *really* most important to them (fundraising to get re-elected), so they wouldn’t be back in session to vote on it before the next year. That doesn’t mean their fingers are broken, however — nothing stops them from working *a little bit* during their five month vacation.

    Midterms are fast-approaching. Now is the time to hold our representatives in the House and Senate responsible for their (in)actions. No one should be elected to office this year without weighing in on the issue of reforming our cannabis laws. Not one.

    • David

      Dear WowFAD from Kentucky. Fuck You! Seattle.

      • wowFAD

        Dear David. I’m not from Kentucky, nor am I a Rand Paul supporter.
        Sincerely, Fuck-you-too.

  • united socialist states

    Fuck Censorship! What happened to freedom of speech?

    • wowFAD

      To my knowledge, what happened to Freedom of Speech was that people have mischaracterized that particular First Amendment right as a pass to say whatever they want in any forum. Sadly, that’s a far cry from what the First Amendment actually says, which is that the government cannot punish/persecute you in any way for any statement you make.

      So, if your comment (I’m assuming it’s the one that starts out talking about Hitler) takes several moments to make it through moderation (probably because the first word was “Hitler”), your First Amendment rights have not been violated (unless of course the forum moderator is working at the behest of the state).

      I’m pretty sure that’s what happened to Freedom of Speech. Its true meaning has been lost in a flood of indignation.

      • United Socialist states

        I’m baffled? no mention of Adolf

        • wowFAD

          So the comment made 23 minutes ago that starts with the line “hitler too killed people on a mass scale” was posted by another ted mishler?

          • United socialist states

            I did not see that post Wowfad, so I don’t know?

          • wowFAD

            It appears as though it has been removed when I refresh my page, along with the other five or six postings accusing the moderator of violating your First Amendment rights.

            It was removed along with the post you made that was full of ethnic slurs.

            And stranger still — your username has transformed from ted mishler to “United socialist states.”

          • united socialist states

            The point I am trying to make is that the n word is the only racial slur that will not make it through, i guess they the moderator is more sensitive to it, as a black man it bounces of me like a superball, I feel the we blacks get special treatment it that regard, wonder if native americans would in this case too?

          • wowFAD

            I suppose I’ll have to take your word on that. I have to say, however, I’ve never met a black man who believes, let alone says “I feel we blacks get special treatment.”

            On the other hand, I have met a lot of white people who think that way.

          • United Socialist states

            Well now you have, I was adopted and raised by a white family, I think I have a unique perspective than most blacks, I just refreshed and all the mishler stuff is gone, most of my rants are still intact

          • wowFAD

            That certainly would explain why you keep calling them “the blacks.” Usually, you have to be pretty far removed from the culture to refer to people that way. For example, I don’t have any Jewish friends who collectively refer to themselves as “The Jews.”

          • Wigger

            I have jewish friends that call some of their friends jews, slomo is such a jew, etc

          • wowFAD

            Sure, but you don’t hear a Jewish person make a statement like “The Jews are _____.” Usually, they choose their words to be the least tacitly stigmatizing as possible, by phrasing things like “The Jewish people are _____.”

            Likewise, “black” isn’t a noun to black people, it’s an adjective. They’re people, first — black is the modifier. When it comes to choice of phrasing, I’ve heard “black folks,” “black people,” even the full “African American people” (from those who are being especially formal and/or politically correct). But I’ve never heard any black person say “the blacks” or “a black” when talking about themselves or others, conversationally.

            The only type of person I’ve heard use the phrasing “the blacks” or “the Jews” has always been a white person who is usually about to say something offensive.

          • Big Johnson “yes it is”

            We african americans usually start our hating on whites with stuff like this stupid white cracker mother phucker etc
            Every race on the planet has racism toward some other group of people everywhere you go

          • klaus

            Its True, I have traveled the world for many years, racism is everywhere. Everyone has the right to like who they want or not.

          • David

            Great point

          • ted mshler

            what? speaking about me?
            unknown conflict
            dont know what the topic is about

          • United Socialist states

            Gotta go get some fried chicken for dinner, FOR REAL!

          • David

            Using a picture avatar does lend credibility.

          • David

            Then simply don’t post racial slurs regardless what your ethnicity happens to be..

          • united socialist states

            Now you are getting paranoid on me Wowfad, It has been me under the socialist states name the whole time. This is the first I have posted, I usually just read, by the way you seem to be the most eloquent blogger on here. But I am not “”Ted the unibummer” mishler

          • wowFAD

            No, seriously, I’m genuinely confused.

            One moment, the thread is filling up with comments posted under “ted mishler” (that name means nothing to me, at all). I replied to a comment from ted mishler about censorship and the First Amendment. However, when I refreshed the page, every comment (that’s still here) by that username was suddenly under “united socialist states” and I have no idea why.

          • ted mishler

            not my typing, as that is not my name
            someone must have been pulling your leg
            the name black offend you?
            white offends me too, but thats what common people labeled us, i didnt make up the word, and ifail to see what your beef it, and i am not going to read all the comments to find out either

          • David

            He’s a paid Republican troll. Please don’t feed him. They only eat shit anyway, Thanks

          • wowFAD

            Can you please make up your mind? Are you going to agree with me and be polite, or are you going to disagree and be rude?

            You’ve done *both* in several locations. Do not misinterpret any objective political observation I make as a tacit endorsement of any particular party or candidate.

            I’m not a Republican. I’m not a Democrat. I’m simply a voter. It would take you all of two minutes to click on my username to see comments I’ve made fervently disagreeing with the Paul-bots who have started frequenting the blog, lately. I can praise Rand Paul *on this issue* while acknowledging the complete insanity of his other policy positions, thank you very much. Likewise, I’m capable of criticizing the inaction of your Senators without pledging my undying loyalty to the GOP. I’m not the binary creature you’ve mistaken me for, and I resent the implication.

          • David

            I’m sure your days ruined now.

          • ted mishler

            actually, that does sound like something i would say, hitler did kill people on a mass scale, whats your problem?
            ethnic slurs? not me, i am not into that kind of thing, as its a waste of time
            someone i guess posted stuff somehow in my name, strange

        • David

          You’re either a paid Republican Troll, or just a fuckin idiot.

        • David

          If you aren’t the person who posted the earlier racial slur, my apologies.

    • David

      That depends upon which subject you’re referring to I suppose.

  • united socialist states

    Shit

  • united social states

    The point is the N word is the only racial slur not allowed here

    • Home skillet

      The moderator must be in Atlanta GA

      • David

        Meaning?

    • David

      There appears to be more trolls than usual today. Rupert must have forgotten to pay them for last weeks idiocy.

  • Toxic Mega Fro

    ohbummer is such a niger with a extra g!

    • David

      Any you’re a racist dipshit. Why aren’t you noodling, or at a tractor pull.?

  • mike1188

    The white house had a chance to make history doing a lot of good. But now because of one inconsistent government plan to improve Americans lives have fallen apart. More than half of Americans believe the president is doing a poor job. Come on Mr President don’t waste your last few years making poor choice of government policy. People want marijuana laws to change. There is more than enough people to call legalization to a vote. Please listen to the peopl and be a better President. Thank you.

    • David

      Are you talking about the ACA ? It’s becoming more popular every day. Worked great for me.

  • Fritz the Cat

    How is that “hope and change” working out for you folks?

    • Valient

      A lot better than it would have been had his opponents gotten into office, that’s for sure.

    • David

      Fantastic, my nephews and nieces are now safely home from Bush’s war’s.

  • Danny Noonan-Miss

    The Obama White House is the worst presidential administration ever (by a long shot). The Dim’s continue to pretend that they are pro-pot to get the votes of people who use cannabis, but it is all a ruse. They don’t want to give up their power over the people….let’s face it. They had 80 years with multiple opportunities to legalize cannabis, and the Dim’s never made an effort to legalize, as they were opposed to cannabis. They are political opportunists, so that is why all of a sudden now that polls are higher for legalization, “well by golly, now we’re for legalization and us Dim’s were always for it”. NOT! The most ardent anti-pot politician is a Democrat – Kennedy (D) Connecticut.

    • David

      Ignore this Mississippi Tea-Party PAID
      troll

    • David

      The “miss” tells me where this tea-bagger hack lives. Keep your Tea-Party Republican Bull-Shit where it belongs, in Mississippi.

  • Maninder Sandhu
  • ted mishler

    indica will not produce a religious experience
    its as though the usa wants to ban the only true religion
    SATIVA
    where is the sativa?
    i buy shake cause it is the only thing i can afford
    shake comes from the joints rolled for the customers, now i know the customers are toking mostly indica
    you buy indica
    you buy sleep
    you will not have any religious experience if you are asleep

    why does the usa hate religion

    why does the usa hate for the cannabis community to be entitled to the fruits of the constitution?

    who is going to change the corrupt nature the feral nature, the secretive nature of the liars, the thief’s, the mobsters, the charlie leeches, of society?

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0523086/

    think im crazy??
    then you think that truth is crazy, which makes you crazy and stupid

    • ted mishler

      evidently, someone removed the youtube link i originally post to that bewitched show, and replaced the link with another one
      how did they do that?
      someone has been tampering with our texts, fact
      i remeber putting up the bewitched show that has charlie leech in it from youtube, so someone has been tampering with our posts some how

      • ted mishler

        this thread is showing me proof that people are deliberately tampering with our texts
        i didn’t know they could even do that, maybe i shouldn’t even post anymore
        i never do say things that makes people sore, unless they are against weed, or are pro cannabis community imprisonment, enslavement, but i dont do ethnic slurs, or racist either, but if people really do have the ability to alter our posts, and they did mine, then really, our true intentions of the sentences we write, can be altered in which ever way the hacker culprits like
        that is creepy if you ask me, and i really do not like
        as that means our characters all can be tarnished by any jerk
        be warned of the possibility of those who do not like what we write on here and try their mischief on our posts, just to get people going, well, wonder what else they changed in my name? all other posters should do a web check search to see for themselves too