Using Washington and Colorado as reason to push for federal change.

November 12, 2012
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We’ve seen numerous articles about the votes emboldening other countries.

Jeralyn at TalkLeft has an excellent article about Colorado Representatives drafting bills to keep the feds out of state marijuana laws: CO Reps to Introduce Bill on Marijuana to Protect Amendment 64

Rep. Diana DeGette says she is putting the final touches on a bill that would amend the preemption section of federal drug law to add a clause that excludes state marijuana laws. The Denver Post, in an editorial, applauds her for taking action and for urging the Justice Department to “show restraint.” Reps. Jared Polis and Ed Perlmutter are also working, with DeGette and independently, on federal bills that would allow Amendment 64 to proceed, rather than waiting for an answer from D.O.J.

Jeralyn also points out passages in the U.S. Attorney’s manual that are extremely relevant to prosecutorial decisions as they may relate to going after marijuana offenses:

Nature and Seriousness of Offense. It is important that limited Federal resources not be wasted in prosecuting inconsequential cases or cases in which the violation is only technical. Thus, in determining whether a substantial Federal interest exists that requires prosecution, the attorney for the government should consider the nature and seriousness of the offense involved. A number of factors may be relevant. One factor that is obviously of primary importance is the actual or potential impact of the offense on the community….

The impact of an offense on the community in which it is committed can be measured in several ways…. In assessing the seriousness of the offense in these terms, the prosecutor may properly weigh such questions as….what the public attitude is toward prosecution under the circumstances of the case. The public may be indifferent, or even opposed, to enforcement of the controlling statute whether on substantive grounds, or because of a history of non-enforcement, or because the offense involves essentially a minor matter of private concern.

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Pete Guither is the editor of drugwarrant.com

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