Yesterday the marijuana world erupted with joy as the federal government gave it’s ‘official’ position on the marijuana legalization laws in Colorado and Washington. Headlines on marijuana websites and from marijuana activist organizations included ‘Federal government backing off war on marijuana!’ While I think it’s great that the federal government didn’t come out and say something like ‘ we are going to bring more hate than we ever have before,’ I think that celebrations within the marijuana reform community are premature.
After all, the Obama administration has stated before that it will back off marijuana enforcement (medical marijuana). In 2009, the Obama administration issued a memo stating that it would respect state medical marijuana laws. Literally the same time that they issued the memo, the feds were opening investigations against medical marijuana providers across the state. After making an empty promise to respect state medical marijuana laws, the Obama administration went on to raid more medical marijuana providers than the Bush administration. So forgive me if I don’t jump for joy, but I don’t believe anything that was said yesterday.
If the Obama administration was truly planning on respecting state marijuana legalization laws, it would issue an Executive Order stating as much. Instead, they sent out a glorified e-mail which more or less stated that while they respect marijuana laws in Colorado and Washington, they reserve the right to do whatever they want. Don’t be surprised when raids happen on legal marijuana outlets, and don’t be surprised when the feds refuse to reform tax laws and continue to pressure security companies, banks, and credit card companies to halt all business activities with marijuana businesses.
I hate bursting people’s bubbles, but as I always say, ‘actions speak louder than rhetoric.’ Remember what happened after the last rounds of marijuana memos from the Obama administration, and proceed with caution. The DEA is still lurking, the IRS is still enforcing 280e laws, and at this point, nothing has really changed except a memo has been sent out. You can read the memo for yourself here. What do readers think? Do you believe the White House? Do you truly think that the federal government is ‘backing off the war on marijuana?’ Or do you think that this is smoke and mirrors, and that there will still be raids? I look forward to reading your comments.