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

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Original post, 10:50 a.m. October 10: Attorney Rob Corry, who leads a group opposed to marijuana-tax measure Proposition AA, has been a headline-generating machine of late. Not only did he co-organize free-joint rallies in Denver and Boulder (not to mention a protest featuring dab buses), but he was arrested for alleged public pot smoking at Coors Field and is the target of a campaign-finance complaint. His latest salvo? A letter asking U.S. Attorney John Walsh to reveal whether he supports or opposes Prop AA. Read it and get details below.

In the letter, Corry maintains that the Yes on Proposition AA campaign has made allusions to an agreement with the Justice Department. The pact would allegedly allow backers to imply that the feds tacitly support the measure and might preempt Colorado's marijuana laws if it fails. The entire document is below, but here's an excerpt:
Instead of participating in normal political debate, the "Yes on AA" campaign is running a devious campaign of fear, making threats and representations of "backroom" deals with the U.S. Department of Justice. Statements from the "Yes" campaign include that the U.S. Department of Justice supports a "Yes" vote on Proposition AA, and if Colorado voters decide not to tax ourselves at an unprecedented rate and that Proposition AA were to fail, that the U.S. Department of Justice would retaliate against Colorado voters by dismantling Colorado's marijuana industry with Federal intervention in the form of criminal prosecution and forfeiture of property. Specifically, the "Yes" campaign points to alleged conversations between Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, the Governor's Counsel Jack Findlaw, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, and yourself, to the effect that you and the U.S. Department of Justice have made a promise to "allow" Colorado's marijuana industry to exist if Proposition AA passes.
After receiving the letter, we contacted Joe Megyesy, communication director for the Yes on Proposition AA campaign, and he says he's baffled by Corry's assertions.

"I have no idea what he's talking about," he allows, adding, "I don't think anyone in our campaign has claimed we've been in contact with the federal government. The only thing we talk about is the memo to the U.S. Attorneys that was released to the public."

Megyesy is referring to a memorandum written by Deputy Attorney General James Cole and released circa late August in conjunction with an announcement that the Justice Department had decided not to sue in order to stop Amendment 64; that document is here as well. In specific, Megyesy cites this line in regard to the possibility of the feds intervening if Prop AA falls short at the ballot box: "Jurisdictions that have implemented systems that provide for regulation of marijuana activity must provide the necessary resources and demonstrate the willingness to enforce their laws and regulations in a manner that ensures they do not undermine federal enforcement priorities."

Be that as it may, Corry isn't backing down -- and he feels it's important that U.S. Attorney Walsh reveal whether he's for or against Proposition AA.

Continue for more about Proposition AA, including the letter to U.S. Attorney John Walsh and more.
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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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