Feds: States Can Keep Their Pot Laws
Justice Department gives them official leeway
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 29, 2013 6:30 PM CDT
File photo of a marijuana plant.   (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico, File)

(Newser) – Despite 75 years of federal marijuana prohibition, the Justice Department said today that states can let people use the drug, license people to grow it, and even allow adults to stroll into stores and buy it. The only thing they must do is keep it away from kids, the black market, and federal property. In a sweeping new policy statement prompted by pot legalization votes in Washington and Colorado last fall, the department gave the green light to states to adopt tight regulatory schemes to oversee the medical and recreational marijuana industries burgeoning across the country.

The action, welcomed by supporters of legalization, could set the stage for more states to legalize marijuana. Alaska could vote on the question next year, and a few other states plan similar votes in 2016. The policy change embraces what Justice Department officials called a "trust but verify" approach between the federal government and states that enact recreational drug use. In a memo to all 94 US attorneys' offices around the country, Deputy Attorney General James Cole said the federal government expects that states and local governments authorizing "marijuana-related conduct" will implement strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems that address the threat those state laws could pose to public health and safety. (A new survey finds that pot is the most popular illegal drug of all.)

Copyright 2016 Newser, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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Showing 3 of 144 comments
westside
Aug 30, 2013 10:44 PM CDT
I'm sure Obama enjoys a blunt...
saucier111
Aug 30, 2013 10:52 AM CDT
Go to youtube and type in, [ Cannabis cured cancer run from the cure- the rick simpson story ]
1freeusa
Aug 30, 2013 8:05 AM CDT
Glad to know the federal government is realizing that they are not all invincible to the will of the american people. Just a small chip in the wall, but it is a start.