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U.S. Senate Plans A Hearing To Discuss State Marijuana Legalization Victories


senate judiciary committee patrick leahy marijuana gil kerlikowskeSenate Judiciary Committee To Review State/Federal Marijuana Law Conflicts Next Year

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is planning a hearing next year to discuss federal policy towards Colorado and Washington State now that they have legalized marijuana. Senator Leahy also sent a letter to Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, asking for clarification on the issue. Below is the language from the letter sent to Mr. Kerlikowske from Senator Leahy:

Dear Director Kerlikowske:

Last month, voters in Colorado and Washington chose to legalize personal use of up to one ounce of marijuana and to enact licensing schemes for cultivation and distribution of the drug. As the states move to implement these new laws, marijuana remains a Schedule I controlled substance according to the Federal Government. Production, distribution, and possession of the drug are Federal criminal offenses punishable by imprisonment.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has a significant interest in the effect of these developments on Federal drug control policy. How does the Office of National Drug Control Policy intend to prioritize Federal resources, and what recommendations are you making to the Department of Justice and other agencies in light of the choice by citizens of Colorado and Washington to legalize personal use of small amounts of marijuana? What assurance can and will the
administration give to state officials involved in the licensing of marijuana retailers that they will not face Federal criminal penalties for carrying out duties assigned to them under state law?

Legislative options exist to resolve the differences between Federal and state law in this area and end the uncertainty that residents of Colorado and Washington now face. One option would be to amend the Federal Controlled Substances Act to allow possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, at least in jurisdictions where it is legal under state law. In order to give these options full consideration, the Committee needs to understand how the administration intends to respond to the decision of the voters in Colorado and Washington. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this matter.


Patrick Leahy


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  1. DavidTheExpert on

    No, dude. Those replies you get when you email or write letters to your representatives are basically form letters that their interns send out to you. It makes them seem involved without wasting even a second of their precious time. Interns are basically free labor, and they are in no short supply in the political world. If you’re lucky, if you write a really really interesting letter, those interns might decide to pass it on to their supervisor which might possibly make its way to your actual politician. But it would really have to be worth reading for that to happen.

  2. Indeed. I believe the hard handed approach to medical marijuana has been a miscalculation that led to the legalization in these two states.

    If the feds continue the assault, even more people and states will become pro-legalization. The feds attack will only speed up the process. Bring it on :).

  3. So true about the Republicans…they have that agenda as long as you do it ‘their way” Do you have aby idea how long it will take the Republican deep south to leagilize weed? They are still pissed over Slavery!

  4. y is it that you can get in more trouble for smoking in your home than if you get pulled over for drinking and driving now im no scientist but last time i checked no one has been killed by smoking pot in there home but millions have died from dui’s is this right

  5. Oh How uninformed…..when the Jack-booted thugs come and crash in your door and point automatic weapons at your elderly grandmother & your children..and you explain its just POT…they don’t give a shit, not even a dinkelberry of a shit,,,trust someone who knows, Sad but the TRUTH!!

  6. If that were only true….The Federal gov. can create a cluster FU^# in any state that does not “tow thw line” Many years ago when I got caught importing Columbian Gold from Freeport (Bahamas) and I explained that “It is only pot for Christ sake” The honorable judge sentenced me to 15 years in prison.. That was 1976 most likly B4 U were born……..

  7. There’s so much…..noise on this issue one thing I think you can take to the bank is that this will potentially take years – these fuckers move like winterfied molasses. So here in Washington state, the growers I know are just forging ahead with bump ups in both quality and quantity just to combat falling prices. $2400 pounds of top shelf bud are everywhere and if you don’t have quality to go you’ve been wasting your time. As they say, life’s to short for mediocre pot. Anyway, did you guys see this one??

  8. Not true. Patrick leahy’s strategy is to force the Feds to respond to calls of “what are you going to do about Colorado and Washington”. The Feds would prefer not to signal their intentions so as to have any number of options as to how to respond. He’s forcing their hand…… An excellent strategy.

  9. The thing is, the Republican party evolved out of the anti-federalist parties of early America, and one of the main selling points of the Republican party has always been states’ rights. Not so with the Democratic party, which evolved out of the federalist party. Yes, I agree that Democrats and Republicans should both support states’ rights — but only one party claim to push that agenda regularly, and that’s the Republicans, so their denial of states’ rights in this issue cannot be accurately compared with any Democratic stances.

  10. Writing to the Drug Czar trying to influence drug policy is about as effective writing to Ronald McDonald complaining about a bad burger. The Drug Czar is just a spokesperson/cheerleader for federal drug policy. He has about as much influence on federal drug law as Ronald McDonald has on hamburger quality.

  11. What will STOP then is when States DECRIMINALIZE marijuana, the Feds will have to conduct all these operations on their own. When the States just quit treating it like a crime, the Feds will have NO CHOICE because they don’t have the #’s of people to perform their Raids, nor will we HOUSE them, or assist in ANY manner! They’ll have to start concentrating their LIMITED $$$ towards stopping HEAVY DRUGS like they should be. But we the people KNOW when we’ve been “OKIE-DOKED” by their creation if a demon that doesn’t exist

  12. I really hope you are right. I don’t see it happening without a fight though. There are forces who stand to loose substantial funding if this continues. They will use pretty much any underhanded method to keep the status quo.

  13. This will be interesting to watch and we are the people of the United States of America and I myself choose to take stand against government if need be:
    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

  14. Living in Washington state, I pretty much say with certainty that they do not want to take this to the carpet with us. A clear majority voted in the democratic process. Period. I have heard smack from, mainly, republicans- which cracks me up. I guess they only bang the States’ Rights drum when it suits their agenda.

  15. Yes Kathy you are exactly right there is a movement underfoot and GOVCO can’t do a thing about it.Maybe if they hadn’t wasted the billions over the years our country would not be in such a bad state. This is why We need to push for term limits in Senate and Reps its good enough for Presidency why not them one reason this has went on all these years is because same old people still in their position They think they know better than CONSTITUTION was written for they have taken our RIGHTS away with each amendment to create a totalitarian dictatorship hiding behind all those trumped up amendments!!!

  16. government officials will slow realize that they have no power. that they will be kicked out on their asses if they don’t respect the Constitution of these United States. and the Constitutions of each State and the voices of the people that voted for legalization. It is a domino effect and each State will follow. You can’t fight the entire country. It is time to wake up and let it go folks. Or we will vote people in who will. and if you fix the voting, there will be a revolution. Golden Age bitches.

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