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U.S.: Feds Have No Viable Legal Challenge To Marijuana Legalization, Admits Deputy A.G.

JamesColeDeputyAttorneyGeneral

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The U.S. Justice Department doesn't have a viable legal basis on which to challenge marijuana legalization laws in Colorado and Washington, Deputy Attorney General James Cole admitted on Sunday.

"It would be a very challenging lawsuit to bring," Deputy Attorney General Cole said while testifying at the first Congressional hearing on cannabis legalization in the two states, reports Jacob Sullum at Forbes.

Cole said that simply repealing state penalties for growing, possessing, and selling marijuana does not create a "positive conflict" with the Uniform Controlled Substances Act.

He argued that the feds would be on firmer legal ground if they tried to preempt state licensing and regulation of cannabis businesses which are newly legal under state law. But the deputy attorney general said that approach would mean that if such litigation were successful, it would leave the industry unregulated.

That's why the Department of Justice decided on the approach summarized in the memo Cole issued on August 29, limiting federal enforcement to cases that involve eight "federal concerns," including sales to minors, drugged driving, and diversion of marijuana to other states.

"We have reserved quite explicitly the right to go in and preempt at a later date," Cole said, summarizing the DOJ's policy as "trust, but verify."

Colorado: International Delegation Visits To Learn About Regulating Marijuana

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Government Officials and Legislators from Uruguay, México, and Canada will be briefed by Colorado and Washington officials on Regulations Being Put in Place in the States

With Colorado and Washington State launching the regulated marijuana markets approved by the voters in 2012, the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and the Drug Policy Alliance are hosting an international delegation in Denver this week to learn first hand from Colorado’s experience in regulating marijuana through enacting and implementing Amendment 64.

Comprised of government officials and legislators from Uruguay, México, and Canada, the delegation will be briefed by Colorado and Washington officials on the regulations being put in place in the states. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the delegation will visit cultivation facilities and dispensaries.

As Uruguay moves toward passage of legislation to regulate its domestic marijuana market and the debate over marijuana policy picks up pace in México and Canada, the pioneering steps being taken in Colorado and Washington are being watched closely.

A press conference featuring Jack Finlaw, chief legal counsel to Colorado Governor Hickenlooper, and Barbara Brohl, executive director of the Colorado Department of Revenue, as well as members of the international delegation to discuss the visit and their findings, will be at RiverRock dispensary at 4935 York Street, Denver, on Wednesday, October 23 at 3 p.m.

Colorado: Governor Signs Legislation Establishing Legal Marijuana Market For Adults

WelcomeToColoradoMarijuana

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper on Tuesday signed historic measures to implement marijuana legalization, establishing the Mile High State as the first legal, regulated and taxed marijuana market for adults since the United Nations Single Convention Treaty on Narcotic Drugs took effect in 1961.

Hickenlooper vocally opposed cannabis legalization last fall when Amendment 64 was on the ballot, saying "Colorado is known for many great things; marijuana should not be one of them." But he signed the bills that will start development of a regulatory framework for the legal marijuana industry, as well as for the cultivation, distribution and processing of industrial hemp, reports Matt Ferner at The Huffington Post.

"Recreational marijuana really is new territory," Hickenlooper said at Tuesday's signing ceremony. He called the bills "common sense," despite his vocal opposition in the past to legalization, reports Kristin Wyatt of The Associated Press.

The governor's chief legal counsel, Jack Finlaw, said although the Hickenlooper administration was opposed to marijuana legalization, "the will of the voters needed to be implemented."

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