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Senators Press Obama Administration On Marijuana Policies

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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

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  • 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

  • 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

    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

  • 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

  • ted mshler

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

  • 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

  • Maninder Sandhu
  • 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.

  • wowFAD

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

  • David

    Dear WowFAD from Kentucky. Fuck You! Seattle.

  • David

    Great point

  • David

    Using a picture avatar does lend credibility.

  • David

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

  • David

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

  • David

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

  • David

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

  • David

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

  • David

    Meaning?

  • David

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

  • David

    I’m sure your days ruined now.

  • David

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

  • David

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