Will feds ease up on marijuana crackdowns?

marijuana.jpgHard to tell from today's pronouncement by the Justice Department that it will not interfere with laws in Colorado and Washington that allow the use of pot for recreational purposes. California and other states have legalized marijuana for medical reasons, but that hasn't stopped U.S. prosecutors from trying to uphold federal drug laws in the state. Not helping is the unwillingness by California legislators to buttress the medical marijuana laws, leaving enforcement in the hands of local jurisdictions. The L.A. situation is a complete mess. President Obama still doesn't support changing the laws regarding weed, which is treated as a dangerous substance with no medical purpose. Presumably, that means the Justice Department will continue its aggressive stance, especially against drug traffickers or those who sell marijuana to minors. From the LAT:

Dale Gieringer, a leading marijuana advocate in California, said he is encouraged by the new U.S. Justice Department memo, but he notes he has been encouraged by past memos only to see federal enforcement increase. "There are some weasel words in this," he said. "They're not going to make a priority to do something, but that doesn't mean they won't do it." The memo written by Deputy Atty. Gen. James M. Cole is a sharp turn from the last memo he wrote in 2011, in which he emphasized that commercial marijuana operations were not protected by their states' laws.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
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