A Step Towards Marijuana Legalization? Feds Back Off Busts - New York News

A Step Towards Marijuana Legalization? Feds Back Off Busts

Posted: Updated:
Washington, D.C. -

(FOX 11 / AP) The Justice Department said Thursday it would not challenge state laws in Colorado and Washington that allow for the medical and recreational use of marijuana as long as drug sales don't conflict with a set of new federal enforcement policies.

The eight new enforcement policies range from preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors to preventing sales revenue from going to criminal enterprises, gangs and cartels. They also aim to prevent the diversion of marijuana outside of states where it is legal under state law.

Thursday's announcement follows comments President Obama made in December, when he said it does not make sense for the federal government to go after recreational drug users in a state that has legalized recreational use of small amounts of marijuana. 

States that had effectively legalized marijuana had been awaiting the guidance from the Justice Department. 

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said he understands how difficult the issue has been for federal officials. 

"Today's announcement shows the federal government is respecting the will of Colorado voters," he said in a statement.

Other top-priority enforcement areas include stopping state-authorized marijuana activity from being used as a cover for trafficking other illegal drugs and preventing violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana.

The announcement follows last year's first-in-the-nation legalization of recreational marijuana use by Colorado and Washington. In the aftermath of the moves by the two states, Attorney General Eric Holder launched a review of marijuana enforcement policy. The issue was whether the states should be blocked from operating marijuana markets on the grounds that actively regulating an illegal substance conflicts with federal drug law that bans it.

A Pew Research Center poll in March found that 60 percent of Americans think the federal government shouldn't enforce federal anti-marijuana laws in states where its use has been approved. Younger people, who tend to vote more Democratic, are especially prone to that view. But opponents are worried these moves will lead to more use by young people. Colorado and Washington were states that helped re-elect Obama.

Dan Riffle of the Marijuana Policy Project, the nation's largest marijuana policy organization, called the policy change "a major and historic step toward ending marijuana prohibition" and "a clear signal that states are free to determine their own policies."

Kevin Sabet, the director of Project Smart Approaches to Marijuana, an anti-legalization group, predicted the new Justice Department policy will accelerate a national discussion about legalization because people will see its harms -- including more drugged driving and higher high school dropout rates.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

READ the U.S. Department of Justice, Office Of The Deputy Attorney General's memo HERE.

From Gina Silva:

This could be the beginning of full marijuana legalizing.  It's being called a dramatic change in the federal Drug policy. Two states are legalizing marijuana not just for medical use but also for recreational use. 

The Justice Department says it won't meddle with any states that legalize marijuana as long as adequate regulations are in place. 

To date, 20 states including California allow for the medical use of cannabis.  Two states--Colorado and Washington allow for the licensed commercial production and recreational sale of marijuana. 

The Justice department is saying it's all ok as long as several regulations are met.

  • Cannabis can not be sold to minors...
  • Revenue can not go to criminal enterprises...
  • Legal marijuana can not be MOVED to states where it's illegal.
  • Driving while stoned is against the law.
  • And growing marijuana on public lands is also not allowed.

It is the first for the federal government and it could set the stage for more states to legalize marijuana in the future. Let us know what you think about this issue. 

  • Political NewsMore>>

  • Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's corruption case goes to jury

    Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's corruption case goes to jury

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 6:02 PM EDT2014-09-02 22:02:25 GMT
    The corruption case that could send former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife to federal prison was in the hands Tuesday of jurors who must decide whether the couple sold the influence of the office to a wealthy vitamin executive seeking legitimacy for his company's signature product.
    The corruption case that could send former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife to federal prison was in the hands Tuesday of jurors who must decide whether the couple sold the influence of the office to a wealthy vitamin executive seeking legitimacy for his company's signature product.
  • Ex-Va. Gov says he knows in heart he's innocent

    Ex-Va. Gov says he knows in heart he's innocent

    Friday, August 22 2014 6:33 PM EDT2014-08-22 22:33:08 GMT
    Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell says he knows in his heart he's innocent of the federal corruption charges he's facing.
    Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell says he knows in his heart he's innocent of the federal corruption charges he's facing.
  • Rolex passed among jurors in ex-Va. gov trial

    Rolex passed among jurors in ex-Va. gov trial

    Thursday, July 31 2014 7:08 PM EDT2014-07-31 23:08:18 GMT
    The requests for lavish gifts were frequent. Jonnie Williams — the star witness in a corruption trial against the former Virginia governor and his wife — was being asked for everything from a joy ride in his Ferrari to stock in the company he led.
    The requests for lavish gifts were frequent. Jonnie Williams — the star witness in a corruption trial against the former Virginia governor and his wife — was being asked for everything from a joy ride in his Ferrari to stock in the company he led.
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Notes with swastikas and 'Uber' found in Brooklyn

    Notes with swastikas and 'Uber' found in Brooklyn

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 10:05 PM EDT2014-09-17 02:05:20 GMT
    The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is working to track down whoever posted dozens of stickers and fliers with swastikas and the word "Uber" in Brooklyn. The stickers and flyers filled with images of hate were placed outside a Jewish boys' school on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn. A Shomrim safety patrol spotted the stickers on the sidewalk and in the gutters, police said.
    The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is working to track down whoever posted dozens of stickers and fliers with swastikas and the word "Uber" in Brooklyn. The stickers and flyers filled with images of hate were placed outside a Jewish boys' school on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn. A Shomrim safety patrol spotted the stickers on the sidewalk and in the gutters, police said.
  • Bratton: Islamic State group threat expanding

    Bratton: Islamic State group threat expanding

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 8:43 PM EDT2014-09-17 00:43:17 GMT
    New York City has entered a "new era" of potential terror threats as hostilities between the United States and extremists from the Islamic State group intensify, Police Commissioner William Bratton said Tuesday. Bratton told reporters that there is no current information pointing to a specific threat against the city.
    New York City has entered a "new era" of potential terror threats as hostilities between the United States and extremists from the Islamic State group intensify, Police Commissioner William Bratton said Tuesday. Bratton told reporters that there is no current information pointing to a specific threat against the city.
  • High-fiving strangers in NYC

    High-fiving strangers in NYC

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 6:01 PM EDT2014-09-16 22:01:29 GMT
    Looking for a taxi cab is a common sight in the city. For some people, an outstretched arm is usually the sign for hailing a cab. A few other folks see it as something else.Meet Meir Kalmanson. He sees a hand in the air as an opportunity to lighten up a person's serious or frantic state. Meir decided to high-five his way down Fifth Avenue. The video of his rebellion of social norms has gone viral.
    Looking for a taxi cab is a common sight in the city. For some people, an outstretched arm is usually the sign for hailing a cab. A few other folks see it as something else.Meet Meir Kalmanson. He sees a hand in the air as an opportunity to lighten up a person's serious or frantic state. Meir decided to high-five his way down Fifth Avenue. The video of his rebellion of social norms has gone viral.
  • PoliticsMore>>

  • Hagel, Dempsey Defend US Plan To Target Islamic Extremists

    Hagel, Dempsey Defend US Plan To Target Islamic Extremists

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 10:34 AM EDT2014-09-16 14:34:56 GMT
    The nation's top military leader told Congress on Tuesday that if President Barack Obama's expanded military campaign to destroy Islamic extremists fails, he would recommend that the United States consider deploying American ground forces to Iraq.
    The nation's top military leader told Congress on Tuesday that if President Barack Obama's expanded military campaign to destroy Islamic extremists fails, he would recommend that the United States consider deploying American ground forces to Iraq.
  • Mideast Complexities Confound US Coalition Effort

    Mideast Complexities Confound US Coalition Effort

    Monday, September 15 2014 10:23 AM EDT2014-09-15 14:23:05 GMT
    The Middle East has confounded outsiders for years, so it is no surprise that another U.S.-led project with a straightforward goal - destroying a marauding organization of extremists - is bumping up against age-old rivalries and a nod-and-a-wink-style political culture.
    The Middle East has confounded outsiders for years, so it is no surprise that another U.S.-led project with a straightforward goal - destroying a marauding organization of extremists - is bumping up against age-old rivalries and a nod-and-a-wink-style political culture.
  • Can President Obama Wage War Without Consent Of Congress?

    Can President Obama Wage War Without Consent Of Congress?

    Friday, September 12 2014 10:38 AM EDT2014-09-12 14:38:11 GMT
    As a U.S. senator from Illinois running for the White House in 2007, Barack Obama sponsored a resolution to prohibit President George W. Bush's administration from taking military action against Iran unless it was explicitly authorized by Congress.
    As a U.S. senator from Illinois running for the White House in 2007, Barack Obama sponsored a resolution to prohibit President George W. Bush's administration from taking military action against Iran unless it was explicitly authorized by Congress.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices