BREAKING: Department of Justice Announcing Marijuana Guidelines for the States Today?

EricHolderThe Department of Justice is expected to announce guidance Thursday on how it will handle disparities between federal and state drug laws nine months after Colorado and Washington state voters approved the legalization of recreational marijuana, sources on Capitol Hill told The Denver Post.

Since last year, state officials and lawmakers have begged for guidance from the feds on how to handle new state recreational marijuana laws that are at odds with federal law, which considers possession, cultivation and distribution of pot a crime.

The Obama administration has sent mixed signals to Colorado and Washington state, which were the first two states to approve the legalization of recreational marijuana. Nearly 20 other jurisdictions have medical marijuana laws on the books across the country.

The non-partisan Congressional Research Service said earlier this year said the Department of Justice would be limited in it its prosecution scope due to the Tenth Amendment.

“The federal government may use its power of the purse to encourage states to adopt certain criminal laws … it … is limited in its ability to directly influence state policy by the Tenth Amendment,” its report said.

President Barack Obama signaled in December that it was time to “have a conversation” about what to do about enforcing federal drug laws, when states and other municipalities are passing their own legalization laws.

Then the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy said April 17 that he believed in upholding prohibition and maintaining the war on drugs.

There are several pending bills in Congress dealing with the legalization of marijuana, including one introduced by Rep. Jared Polis, a Boulder Democrat, that removes marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and shifts it from the Drug Enforcement Agency to be regulated by the renamed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Marijuana and Firearms.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Jefferson County, has also introduced legislation that would allow marijuana-related businesses obtain commercial banking accounts.
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(BREAKING: Department of Justice Announcing Marijuana Guidelines for the States Today? / Credit: Denver Post’s  Allison Sherry:  202-662-8907 , or