U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner of Sacramento tells the Sacramento Bee that marijuana-legalization votes in Washington state and Colorado won’t have any immediate impact on federal enforcement efforts in California. Said Wagner: “We’re not really in the business of trying to shape state legislation or state policy. We’re in the business of enforcing federal law, and so long as conditions in California stay the same, our enforcement efforts are going to be pretty much the same.”
Compared with California – where Wagner has called the medical marijuana industry an “unregulated free-for-all” – federal crackdowns on medical marijuana outlets in Colorado have been considerably more restrained. That is credited in large part to Colorado’s efforts to strictly regulate its medical marijuana market. Colorado was a presidential swing state – a factor advocates suggest may have dissuaded President Barack Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, from weighing in on the marijuana-legalization initiative. “I think it’s safe to say that there were politics involved,” said Brian Vicente, co-director of the Amendment 64 campaign. “Marijuana is demonstrably more popular in Colorado than President Obama.” The president won Colorado – but the pot measure got a greater share of the state vote.