US Department of Justice deferring its right to challenge marijuana legalization laws at this time

by | September 5, 2013

Blog written by Dawn Nelson, Equinox Business Law Group

Based on strong assurances from WA and CO governors, the US Department of Justice informed the governors of both states that it is deferring its right to challenge their marijuana legalization laws at this time.

The USDOJ also stated the Department expects these states to establish strict regulatory schemes guiding the legalization of marijuana that will also protect the eight federal interests identified in the Department’s Guidance Regarding Marijuana Enforcement. The Department further stated “These schemes must be tough in practice, not just on paper, and include strong, state-based enforcement efforts, backed by adequate funding.”

The Memorandum went on further to state that it was guide for local enforcement so they can “focus their enforcement and efforts, including prosecution, on persons or organizations whose conduct interferes with any one or more of these priorities, regardless of the state law.”

The eight federal interests identified by the USDOJ are as follows:

  • Preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors;
  • Preventing revenue from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, gangs and cartels;
  • Preventing the diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal under state law in some form to other states;
  • Preventing state-authorized marijuana activity from being used as a cover or pretext for the trafficking of other illegal drugs or other illegal activity;
  • Preventing violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana
  • Preventing drugged driving and the exacerbation of other adverse public health consequences associated with marijuana use;
  • Preventing growing of marijuana on public lands and the attendant public safety and environmental dangers posed by marijuana production on public lands; and
  • Preventing marijuana possession or use on federal property.

Read the press release (HERE).

Guidance Regarding Marijuana Enforcement


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