Dept. of Justice Won’t Block State Marijuana Laws


The U.S. Department of Justice announced on Thursday that it will not sue to block state laws legalizing marijuana.

A memorandum issued to U.S. Attorneys by Deputy Attorney General James Cole, outlined the Department of Justice’s new policy. The federal government will primarily rely on local authorities for narcotics enforcement, but will continue to monitor the practices of legal marijuana dispensaries for certain federal priorities, including: distribution to minors, drug cartel revenue, trafficking to states where marijuana is illegal, drug-related violence, drugged driving, growing marijuana on public lands and possession of marijuana on federal property.

Voters in Washington and Colorado approved ballots last year that legalized small amounts of marijuana. 18 other states and Washington, D.C. currently allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

In the months since those ballots were approved, many elected officials have sought clarification from the White House on how the federal government would approach enforcement in states with legal marijuana. Last week, the White House announced that it does not support changing federal marijuana laws, which treat the drug as a highly dangerous.

Cole noted in his memorandum that the Department of Justice expects Washington and Colorado to enact strict regulatory schemes.

“The Department’s (policy) rests on its expectation that states and local governments that have enacted laws authorizing marijuana-related conduct will implement strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems,” Cole wrote in the memorandum.

Read Cole’s Memorandum Below:

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