Today the Obama administration caused a memo to be sent out from Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole to federal prosecutors telling them to stand down on marijuana prosecutions in the states of Washington and Colorado. The memo could also relate to other states who have passed other marijuana initiatives so long as those states have strong regulation and act on those regulations. The federal government will also continue to go after those that take marijuana across state lines for any reason.
This is an interesting change of stance for President Obama and his administration as they have been working to put state authorized medical marijuana dispensaries out of business by the use of raids and the use of the Internal Revenue Service. As early as last week President Obama reasserted his belief in the harmful effects of marijuana and was not changing his stance. Just last year President Obama was in Columbia explaining to other country leaders the need to keep marijuana illegal even though most of his counterparts wanted to legalize the plants.
Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont said today, “It is important, especially at a time of budget constraints, to determine whether it is the best use of federal resources to prosecute the personal or medicinal use of marijuana in states that have made such consumption legal. I believe that these state laws should be respected. At a minimum, there should be guidance about enforcement from the federal government.”
It is unclear how the Justice Department will wind down investigations and prosecutions which are being processed right now.
The Libertarian Party has long held marijuana should be legalized in the country and at most, regulated like wine. When the Libertarian Party was formed in 1971, one of its core tenants was, as it is today, it is up to the individual to what they put in their body, so long as they are willing to live by the consequences of those actions - positive or negative. It is not the government's business to trample on American's lives in such ways.