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Do You Really Believe That The Feds Will Respect State Marijuana Legalization Laws?


obama medical marijuana enforcementYesterday the marijuana world erupted with joy as the federal government gave it’s ‘official’ position on the marijuana legalization laws in Colorado and Washington. Headlines on marijuana websites and from marijuana activist organizations included ‘Federal government backing off war on marijuana!’ While I think it’s great that the federal government didn’t come out and say something like ‘ we are going to bring more hate than we ever have before,’ I think that celebrations within the marijuana reform community are premature.

After all, the Obama administration has stated before that it will back off marijuana enforcement (medical marijuana). In 2009, the Obama administration issued a memo stating that it would respect state medical marijuana laws. Literally the same time that they issued the memo, the feds were opening investigations against medical marijuana providers across the state. After making an empty promise to respect state medical marijuana laws, the Obama administration went on to raid more medical marijuana providers than the Bush administration. So forgive me if I don’t jump for joy, but I don’t believe anything that was said yesterday.

If the Obama administration was truly planning on respecting state marijuana legalization laws, it would issue an Executive Order stating as much. Instead, they sent out a glorified e-mail which more or less stated that while they respect marijuana laws in Colorado and Washington, they reserve the right to do whatever they want. Don’t be surprised when raids happen on legal marijuana outlets, and don’t be surprised when the feds refuse to reform tax laws and continue to pressure security companies, banks, and credit card companies to halt all business activities with marijuana businesses.

I hate bursting people’s bubbles, but as I always say, ‘actions speak louder than rhetoric.’ Remember what happened after the last rounds of marijuana memos from the Obama administration, and proceed with caution. The DEA is still lurking, the IRS is still enforcing 280e laws, and at this point, nothing has really changed except a memo has been sent out. You can read the memo for yourself here. What do readers think? Do you believe the White House? Do you truly think that the federal government is ‘backing off the war on marijuana?’ Or do you think that this is smoke and mirrors, and that there will still be raids? I look forward to reading your comments.


About Author

Johnny Green


  1. I want to know if Marijuana will ever be Federally legal. What if over the next 10 years over half of America’s states legalize it,what then? Marijuana only illegal because anyone can grow it and avoid paying any taxes if they were to make it federally legal. It all boils down to money.That makes me sick our Government operates like organized crime whenever any money is involved they want their cut.It’s like these Methadone clinics they’ll sell you their poison but if you buy it on the streets it’s illegal.Why do they allow folks to kill themselves with methadone but your not allowed to enjoy the most harmless drug in the world.I hope to see Marijuana as legal as Tomato plants we should have zero restrictions on any of mother nature’s gifts. It’s even getting to where some companies are getting patents on genetically modified seeds. I think it should be illegal to modify anything that comes from nature were destroying nature’s natural balance. Please vote yes on the legalization of Marijuana it will only make things better maybe folks will choose weed instead of booze.

  2. I know what you mean! You’re not the first person to talk about these project SAM types swaying the masses. I’m beginning to think this might be another Regan era backlash, if the third wayers have their way.

  3. I can’t get that picture out of my head… you know, the one with Lucy pulling the football away before Charlie Brown ever gets to kick it?

  4. We got medical. It’s solid. Like 5,000 years solid. Many people need the medical i think. That is the real fight, not recreational. Least not yet.

    Medical is the real battle i see out here. Trying to help our sick. Them first…. Right?

    According by what i hear and read – for some out there it might just be a life or death issue. I wish them well, but my hands are tied.

    We’ve had like 40 years and we’ve done what…. prove who it might just save? Yea, right. For 4,960 years it was medicine, then suddenly it was not? Sorry but I’m having trouble with that one.

    Medical marajuana needs to be proven to work then we need to except it as such. Thats how i see it anyway.

    Thats all i got

  5. The latest headlines are telling me the momentum is up right now. Now is the time for all the good to happen.

    Yea i know it’s a stretch, but i did enjoy reading it. Lol

  6. I’m embarrassed for having believed the news, and don’t see anything in the memo suggesting the DEA should back off. Right there in paragraph two, “Congress has determined that marijuana is a dangerous drug and that the illegal distribution and sale of marijuana is a serious crime”. It continues four pages of guidance regarding enforcement resources including prosecutions, “regardless of state law”. Was there some other announcement, other than the memo, or did the news break come from the same guy that gave news stations the names of the Korean Air pilots that crashed at SFO?

  7. The REAL THREAT isnt the FEDS raiding state legal Marijuana stores and growers! Im NOT worried about that. At least NOT NEARLY as MUCH as these new kinder gentler drug warriors CHANGING PUBLIC OPINION AGAINST US!

    We cannot lose support of the general public. The general public meaning the people who dont smoke pot, dont like pot, or dont care about pot. If those people start turning against us, its all over. Were gonna end up in the same place we were in the late 80s if things go unchecked.

  8. I’m sorry to hear that. You can only hope Gman is dumb enough to be physically located within the United States. If he is, he’ll be prosecuted — easily. Ymail is adminstrated by Yahoo.com. With a warrant, a law enforcement agency can subpoena Yahoo for the data logs associated with the Nfvv account, which would, without a doubt, include the IP address of the computer on which he/she logs into the ymail account. The IP address can be tracked to a physical location through the ISP — in a single afternoon.
    Gman may already be under non-physical surveillance to establish his/her identity. I’m sad to say, if law enforcement ever pins Gman down, you’ll probably never know about it. Take comfort in the knowledge that the tools exist, and that he may have given him/herself away, already. If you like, you can direct IC3 to this scam (the Internet Crime Complaint Center), anonymously.

  9. Battling Cancer on

    I feel like a fool, I am so ashamed to admit I sent Gman $800 bucks nearly 2 months ago and I have received nothing, I am really desperate because of a medical condition or I would not have done something so risky. Do not fall for this ripoff artist or you will be sorry! Gman I hope your karma is cursed forever.

  10. The best prediction of the future is the past. In the past the feds have done one thing and said another. This position does seem in line with the manpower and budget shortfalls with which DOJ is burdened. Certainly if they continue down the old path they will be getting the same thing they have gotten.
    It seems to me that anti-prohibition can now take the moral high ground; either DOJ does what it says it will do or in the full face of public scrutiny it doesn’t. In any case a watchful public should be kept loudly informed.
    This last few days has shown a change in dogma which will come very slowly. I would hope that other states will be made brave by this pronouncement. If the alcohol model is correct, we will see a patchwork of state regulation as we still see with ETOH. My theory is that there is much money on the table and as that money shifts from the illicit to the legal there will be increased lobbying for a legislative response. Once that money talks there will be sustainable change.
    As a side note: I now see that my local rep, who “spun” my request to her that she side with the people of this state on Marijuana legalization now takes credit for putting her signature on a letter asking the feds to back off. As far as putting her name to legislation to that effect as, I say, she “spun”; it was no concern of hers. However this does however show that public opinion is beginning to lap up the legs of legislators. Asking for bravery from such folks seems fairly absurd. However; one day, their constituency will have run ahead of them and being our leaders they will sign letters to demonstrate their courage and currency.
    DOJ’s position is good news; they have begun to blink. The several states need to treaty with DOJ in order to provide it’s lawful citizens some measure of protection. I have personally seen the whimsy that propels some drug prosecutions forward and it doesn’t take much to cause a ill conceived case to be charged. Such matters often turn on the judgment of one person who may have it wrong. Unless we have a passel of ink on these pronouncements no one is safe.
    So; Mr. Washington State Attorney General; you have made talk about defending 502 in court; what are you willing to do to protect your citizens? Since we can’t have legislation just this minute make the Federal government commit to it’s position by treaty so they can’t do whatever they want and at least have to show their work when storm the corner store.

  11. Yes and Yes. Of course there will be the nubies that think smoking to the max is great and though it is,,being responsible is the key.

  12. Its horrible that I live in the ‘backward’ state of tejas, but whats worse is I don’t see ANY F-IN LIGHT at the end of this tunnel. I did read that congress has a ‘conversation’ about med.m/j,and as for believing the feds,,hahahahahaha

  13. Just another thought:
    Colorado and Washington are now set up to be the “proving ground” of Cannabis reform. I can’t stress enough how critical it is for all of us that they do it right the first time. Enjoy and be responsible adults.

  14. It would be great for the administration to abolish the drug war in one fell swoop, but I don’t think it’s going to happen in that way. We’ll continue to see small steps (like this) in the direction of reason with many stumbles and fallbacks along the way. So we must not become complacent. At the same time, there’s no harm in enjoying the feelings of accomplishment when these small victories are won. Keep strong and keep on truckin’, cuz there’s still a long row to hoe before Cannabis can grow free in the sun again.

  15. I recall other states saying that they were withholding other similar ballot initiatives in different states until the feds decided wether or not to sue. Hopefully this is a big domino to fall and other states will follow suit. The legal and medical states could be looking a lot different in a few years . And then its too late to stop the tide. So point being maybe the best part about not suing CO and WA is what it means other states will set into motion now.

  16. If you actually read the four page letter it explicitly says that any ongoing prosecutions will continue. This means that the large dispensary in Oakland will continue to endure the wrath of Melissa Haag.

    It also explicitly says that it does not change any law, which obviously is what Congress and the President need to do. The only thing it does is suggest the use of prosecutorial discretion which will be completely ignored by federal prosecutors working to make a name for themselves.

  17. The feds talk a good game at times but don’t come through too often when pressed to actually do what they promised. Politicians learn quickly how to say what people want to hear without having any real intention of taking action on their words.

  18. Apparently sheriffs, police chiefs and drug enforcement agents believe Holder is serious. They signed a very indignant letter and sent it to the DOJ yesterday, predicting the end of civilization due to this change in federal policy. Sorry, boys. You might have to go out and look for a real job soon.

  19. As I’ve commented before, I’m totally with you on this one. I am not impressed. The way I see it, this was just a minute response to the Gupta story. Nothing more. It was the administrations easiest and most minimalistic approach to acknowledging that the states may possibly have a say in what happens in their own playgrounds if they can keep a handle on it. They had to respond in some way since it has been in the news, and this was it. It’s pathetic.

  20. Right. Hopefully, we can break the stranglehold the plutocracy and the two corrupt parties have on the media.

    Once people see what Johnson says, no one else even comes close.

  21. I hear you brother and I agree with your following statement 100%, Lets hope johnson creates a ground swell of support in the next few years, there are not many good options for the voting public.

  22. Yes. I had the same hopes for him – and the country. He’s been a big disappointment, but pretty much like every corrupt president we have had in the last few decades – except for Jimmy Carter.

    Our best hope now is Governor Gary Johnson.

  23. You cannot trust what smitty might do, he be saying one thing n doing another, as a black man I know this kind of shuck n jive brother, growd up with em in the hood. Man I was breaming with pride when he took office, now I ashamed I voted for him, he will go down in history as probily the worst president in recent history. Shit he done fucked up everything real good, After this I bet we never have another black president

  24. We need to start electing politicians with weed as part of their platform. Thats the only thing politicians understand.
    But, I hope Holder holds true to his word this time. I’m not holding my breath.

  25. I believe this is the leading edge of the fed’s finally bringing the war on marijuana consumers to a close.

    Obama knows he won office largely by support of marijuana reformers who believed his campaign promises to base policy on science, not politics. He has been keeping this huge group of supporters at arm’s length, but knows he can no longer do so.

    Colorado and Washington state changed everything. There’s no going back – without trashing our 235-year-old experiment in democracy and freedom.

    The prohibition-addicted fat cats have been hanging onto their vicious golden goose with a death-grip. But we have finally succeeded in prying their fingers loose.

    Now we need to kick them to the curb – permanently

  26. He’s to busy sneaking in EOs concerning WW2 era collector rifle imports and picking away at another of our rights, you know the one after the free speech we are loosing at a steady pace.

  27. MrPC, please pause your copy of Reefer Madness and step away from the remote. Go get some fresh air. You appear to have fallen victim to the subliminal messaging embedded in the movie. I to have been in your shoes while smoking a bowl and LMAO at the show. But suddenly I sat up and realized that I was begining to believe what they were spewing. Grab another bowl and switch to something more benign on the TV, maybe JudgeJudy or O’Reily ( they are way less dangerous than government propaganda in full force. :)

  28. ….simply put…..NO.
    When they actually do e x a c t l y what they say they are going to do (and what is right) I might consider supporting and believing them. Everything they have said has had a ‘but’ attached to it and nothing they have done has worked out like they said it would. They have smiled to our faces and then stabbed us in the back as we walk away. No they keep saying that We the People that do not like being lied to and manipulated are potential domestic trouble makers. Patriots and constitutionalists and libertarians and preppers and cannabis consumers and everyone else that does not fit into their tightly controlled little box called sheeple are their enemy. Last I checked we dont start shit with them but they sure do enjoy trying to legislate and regulate everything we do, say, eat, think, feel, fuck and marry and there is no sign it will end anytime soon.
    So again …. NO.

  29. I can just see it now – soon as they bust the first grower/user and get to court and their attorney says something about dismissing the charges due to what was said yesterday by US govt officials and the govt prosecutor says something like….”can you show us that on paper somewhere please where that’s the law of the land?? Because otherwise THAT didn’t happen your honor. We NEVER gave a written approval of anything to do with marijuana and we NEVER would – we’re the govt…”
    Like I’ve always said, soon as the Fed’s go along with the state on MJ I’m looking for the big announcement that tells everyone that “the state has now decided that BIG Ag is coming in to do their growing. Thanks but the state of Washington doesn’t need 1000+ new growers when we can get a handful that will do exactly as we say and grow what & how much we want”. But wait BIG Ag has yet to make a statement on this issue. What does that tell us?? NOTHING has changed as far as they’re concerned. Mom & pop growers will continue to be cannon fodder for wayward US govt prosecutors continuing to deciphering a myriad of MJ laws any which way they want.
    You watch – it’s coming. All they know how to do is lie. This ain’t done yet….

  30. Why the President does not use the power of executive order to remove cannabis from the schedule 1 list by stating that it is past time to end the racist prohibition is beyond me. Nixon used the executive order to create the DEA when the Treasury Dept already had The Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. Nixon had political reasons to demonize cannabis and we are still suffering from that crooks bad doings.

  31. They will reverse themselves and impose SWAT Team-enforced order when Colorado and Washington become hotbeds of decadence, with pre-schoolers munching Toklas brownies on their way to morning classes, hopped-up hippies driving psychedelic VW buses onto crowded sidewalks, octogenarians lynching the local cartel leader for providing poor quality reefer and crazed suburban moms and dads standing naked in their driveways, gorging on Cheetos and cackling madly. Otherwise, I think they will leave us alone.

  32. Giant Dragnet…they will intern all cannabis users/growers /profiteers as enemies of the state…its coming…. and we will lose our heads :(
    I am Willing to Martyr are you? I will stand with you when the time comes…Aloha

  33. so when it gets the courts ( after continued raids) just what are the judges going to do. look to there government leaders and ask why put out a (memo) and create this mess when ignoring there very own directive.

  34. Capt Cosmo, Retired on

    As far as I am concerned, if his lips are moving he is lying (again)

    Did I mention AGAIN??

  35. It will be totally legal nation wide…soon. We are in the longest series of wars and “depression”, in our history. This is low on the toduem pole of world situation . They can’t get their arms around it, just yet.
    Obama, is a puppet, like all Presidents since the Kennedy administration.
    He smoked it and loved it. My friends did, I did, I would and I will.
    It helps so many ailments, illness’ and conditions! I need and can’t wait to saw bah-bye to Merck, Forest and Pfizer. And breath in deeply some Purple Haze or Strawberry Fuzz.

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