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Marijuana: California Democratic Party asks Obama to back off Colorado

At this point, most marijuana advocates have stopped holding their breath while waiting for the federal government to decide whether or not it will interfere with Amendment 64, passed by voters here last November.

Now, however, a powerful new voice has joined the chorus of those asking that the Obama administration leave the measures alone -- the California Democratic Party, whose newly passed pot resolution specifically mentions Colorado.

Some background: During a conference call shortly after A64's passage, Governor John Hickenlooper and Colorado Attorney General John Suthers encouraged U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to make announcing the federal government's response to the bill a priority -- and in March, Holder said a decision would be coming soon.

This didn't prove to be the case, and in May, we predicted that assorted Justice Department scandals would delay the decision even further. Since then, two more months have drifted past without action on cannabis policy pertaining to Colorado and Washington state, whose voters also backed recreational-pot regulation last year.

Still, the continuing lack of certainty about rules moving forward troubled the Brownie Marie Democratic Club of Riverside County. According to the L.A. Weekly, Westword's sister paper, the organization bills itself as the "first medical cannabis club in any major political party" -- and it sponsored a resolution (on view below in its entirety) that calls for "President Obama to allow the newly enacted marijuana legalization laws in Colorado and Washington to go into effect with no federal interference."

This message found favor with the California Democratic Party as a whole. In a blog post about this weekend's meetings in Costa Mesa, David Atkins, a member of the group's executive board, characterizes the resolution as "a direct rebuke to President Obama over marijuana raids."

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Marijuana Majority chairman Tom Angell is similarly enthusiastic. In a statement provided to the L.A. Weekly, he notes that the Cali Dems have joined some noteworthy company:

More and more prominent voices are speaking up to encourage the president to finally follow through on his 2008 campaign pledge to respect state marijuana laws. A few weeks ago it was the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the New York Times editorial board. Now it's the Democratic Party of the country's most populous state. Pressure is mounting, and sooner or later the administration is going to have to announce what it wants to do about Colorado and Washington. Almost no one is clamoring for a crackdown, so the popular -- and the right -- thing to do is to let these states implement their own laws without interference.

Here's the complete resolution.


WHEREAS, 18 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws legalizing t he use of cannabis when recommended by a physician, and Colorado and Washington in 2012 passed laws legalizing the recreational use of cannabis, and over 825,000 Americans are caught up in the criminal justice system every year for marijuana law violations, and

WHEREAS, the United States spends over $20 billion a year enforcing marijuana prohibition laws, and thousands of people are murdered every year involving the smuggling of illegal drugs into the United States and marijuana accounts for over half of these illegal drugs, and polls show overwhelming support for the medicinal use of cannabis and majority support for legalization of marijuana, and

WHEREAS, marijuana prohibition laws are racially enforced with a far larger percentage of African Americans and Hispanics convicted and imprisoned for marijuana prohibition offenses than their white counterparts even though marijuana use in their communities is no more than in white communities, and Whereas college students lose their college grants and scholarships if found to be using marijuana,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the California Democratic Party requests: President Obama to allow the newly enacted marijuana legalization laws in Colorado and Washington to go into effect with no federal interference, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the California Democratic Party asks President Obama to end the Department of Justice interference and raids by federal agencies in states with medical marijuana laws, and a comprehensive study be immediately undertaken to produce recommendations for reform of our nation's marijuana prohibition laws.

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