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Marijuana: U.S. Conference of Mayors tells feds to back off on pot, respect state's rights

Eighteen mayors from around the country, including two from Colorado, passed a resolution Monday at the United States Conference of Mayors, urging the federal government to respect state rights when it comes to recreational and medical marijuana laws.

The resolution, drafted by the advocacy group Marijuana Majority, calls for the government to amend the Controlled Substances Act to allow states to regulate their own marijuana policies and to end federal intervention in state-legal businesses.

Two Colorado mayors, Steve Hogan of Aurora and Mike Dunafon of Glendale, signed the resolution. Other sponsors included mayors Bob Filner of San Diego, Mike McGinn of Seattle, Carolyn Goodman of Las Vegas and Jean Quan of Oakland. Two mayors from non-medical marijuana states gave the resolution their marks, as well.

It's worth noting that Aurora has a ban on medical marijuana dispensaries and a moratorium on recreational facilities for the time being.

"The bipartisan resolution we passed [Monday] simply asks the federal government to give us time to implement these new policies properly and without interference," Hogan said in a statement accompanying the resolution. "Cities and states across the country are enacting forward-thinking reforms to failed marijuana prohibition policies, and for the federal government to stand in the way is wasteful and contrary to the wishes of the American people."

Absent from the John Hancocks of those in support was an actual Hancock: Denver mayor Michael Hancock, who's been a vocal opponent of marijuana legalization and actively campaigned against Amendment 64.

Hancock -- who calls marijuana a "gateway drug" -- has urged the city to ban pot clubs and pushed for an ordinance that would allow only existing medical dispensaries to convert to recreational centers while the city sets up new zoning regulations that would prevent more shops from opening.

Other marijuana advocacy organizations were quick to praise the resolution, including Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a national group of current and former law-enforcement officers and criminal-justice officials.

According to Tom Angell, LEAP spokesman and chairman of the Marijuana Majority, the resolution is all about forcing the feds to respect the will of state voters. "It's time for President Obama to enact the changes he promised during the 2008 campaign," Angell says in a release. "A strong and growing majority of Americans want states to be able to set their own marijuana laws without federal harassment."

More from our Marijuana archive: "Hardware failure results in lost medical marijuana licensee information" and "Proposed $3.25 million Denver tax boost, $2 million Denver Health pot-ed program."


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