Marijuana update: U.S. Attorney John Walsh declines to take position on pot-tax measure

Update: Earlier today, we posted about a letter sent to U.S. Attorney John Walsh by attorney Rob Corry on behalf of No on Proposition AA, the campaign opposed to a marijuana tax measure on next month's ballot; see our previous coverage below.

In the missive, Corry asked Walsh to state whether he was for or against Prop AA. Now, a spokesman for Walsh has responded with the announcement that the U.S. Attorney's Office will not take a position one way or the other. See the e-mail in question and new comments from Corry below.

The e-mail comes from U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Jeff Dorschner, who'd earlier declined to comment about the letter owing to limitations placed on him by the ongoing partial federal shutdown.

The note reads as follows:

Dear Mr. Corry,

Thank you for your e-mail to me and your letter to U.S. Attorney John Walsh dated October 9, 2013. In response to your e-mail and letter, the U.S. Attorney's Office does not take a position on state initiatives. However, the Department of Justice has made it clear in recent guidance on marijuana enforcement that there is an overriding importance of a strong and effective state regulatory system with sufficient resources to be effective in practice, not just on paper.

We also respectfully decline the invitation to appear on your cable access television show.


Jeff Dorschner

Corry's take? "The Oracle of Delphi has again spoken without saying anything," he writes via e-mail.

"Accordingly," he continues, "we are calling on the 'Yes' campaign to cease its representations that a 'Yes' vote on Prop AA protects Colorado in any way from Federal intervention since the Federal government refuses to confirm same.

"Although many in Colorado's pro-freedom community grow weary of scouring indecisive Department of Justice bureaucratic babble for some scintilla of meaning, it would appear that Jeff's comments about a regulatory system 'effective in practice' forecloses a tax rate of over 50 percent, which is ineffective in practice."

Regarding the Yes on Proposition AA campaign, its communication director, Joe Megyesy, told us earlier that its spokespersons have never claimed to have had what Corry calls a backroom deal with the Justice Department. Rather, the campaign has merely pointed toward a reference in a recent memo written by Deputy Attorney General James Cole intended as guidance for jurisdictions establishing marijuana laws that differ from those of the federal government.

Continue to see our previous coverage, including the original letter and memo.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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