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Marijuana Laws

NEWS
August 29, 2013 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration announced Thursday a limited pullback on federal enforcement of marijuana, saying it will not interfere with new state laws that permit recreational use of marijuana. The Justice Department said it will not seek to veto new state laws in Colorado and Washington that legalize the recreational use of marijuana, and it will not bring federal prosecutions against dispensaries or businesses that sell small amounts of marijuana to adults. A department official stressed, however, that marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and that U.S. prosecutors will continue to aggressively enforce the law against those who sell marijuana to minors and to criminal gangs that are involved in drug trafficking.
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NEWS
August 29, 2013 | By Karin Klein
After years of saber-rattling and even arrests that challenged California's medical marijuana law, the Obama administration is giving in. Now that medical marijuana is legal in 20 states, and two of those have outright legalized recreational use of cannabis (four more are actively considering it), the administration says it won't fight these policies in court and will direct its enforcement people to other tasks. Those include preventing sales to minors - good luck - and to states where marijuana is still illegal.
NATIONAL
August 29, 2013 | By Rick Rojas
SEATTLE - When the Justice Department announced Thursday that it would not interfere with the enforcement of voter-approved laws that allow recreational pot use in Washington state and Colorado, leaders on both sides of the issue had the same thought: The policy will probably encourage other states to consider similar laws. For supporters of the state laws, the policy marked a milestone that they believe will boost their efforts to legalize marijuana in other states, including Oregon, Nevada, Massachusetts and Alaska.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 20, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
Operators of medical marijuana dispensaries are welcoming action Monday by state lawmakers that would block prosecutions for illegal drug sales by cooperatives and collectives under certain conditions. The state Senate on Monday approved legislation saying that a medical marijuana cooperative, collective or other business entity is not subject to prosecution for drug sales as long as the compensation they receive is reasonable and they follow security guidelines set by the state attorney general in 2008.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 6, 2013 | By Kate Linthicum and Joe Mozingo
A California Supreme Court ruling that cities have the authority to ban all medical marijuana dispensaries within their borders raises the stakes for a ballot measure battle over how Los Angeles should regulate the drug, backers of two measures said Monday. An attorney for one of the measures says if none of the ballot initiatives pass on May 21, the City Council may revive its previous efforts to ban dispensaries. “The City Council may be emboldened by the Supreme Court ruling and may seek to prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries all together as they did just a few months back," said Bradley Hertz, who represents the backers of Proposition D, which would allow only the 130 or so dispensaries that opened before a failed 2007 city moratorium on new pot shops.
NATIONAL
April 28, 2013 | By Richard Simon, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - For more than a decade, conservative Orange County Rep. Dana Rohrabacher has formed an unusual alliance with liberals on an unexpected topic - the defense of marijuana. Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) and his allies have so far waged a futile effort to pass legislation that would prevent federal authorities from interfering with medical marijuana use in California and other places where pot use is permitted by state law. But as more states have moved to allow the drug's use, Rohrabacher believes his Respect State Marijuana Laws Act may be gaining momentum in Congress.
OPINION
March 27, 2013 | By Erwin Chemerinsky and Allen Hopper
It may be surprising, but no state is required to have a law making possession of marijuana, or any drug, a crime. Therefore, any state can legalize some or all marijuana possession if it chooses. The federal government, if it chooses, can enforce the federal law against its possession and use, but it is up to each state to decide what to criminally prohibit, based on the 10th Amendment. This basic insight has been lost in the public discussion about whether the initiatives legalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana passed by Colorado and Washington voters in November are preempted by federal law. The two states will soon finalize regulations to implement those initiatives, including how to tax and regulate marijuana.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 6, 2013 | By Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times
SAN FRANCISCO - The California Supreme Court appeared inclined Tuesday to uphold municipal bans against medical marijuana dispensaries. Meeting for oral arguments, the state high court considered the legality of a ban on dispensaries by the city of Riverside. Several justices noted that the state Constitution gives cities wide policing power over land use and suggested that the state's medical marijuana laws have not undercut that authority. "The Legislature knows how to say 'Thou Shall Not Ban Dispensaries,' " Justice Ming W. Chin said.
NEWS
February 1, 2013 | By Robert Bonner
Reacting to a federal appellate court decision upholding the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's denial of reclassification of marijuana, The Times states in its Jan. 25 editorial that whether marijuana should be reclassified under federal law to permit its prescription as a medicine should be based on science and an evaluation of the facts, rather than on myths. I fully agree.  And yet the editorial is based on the myth that the DEA has made it "nearly impossible" for researchers to obtain marijuana for such scientific studies.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 20, 2013 | By Joe Mozingo, Los Angeles Times
Mendocino County is fighting efforts by federal prosecutors to get records on medical marijuana growers who signed up for a program intended to sanction their businesses under state law. The county's resistance creates a rare legal clash between local and federal authorities over conflicting marijuana laws. The U.S. Justice Department has been targeting growers and purveyors of medical cannabis, and threatening local or state officials who try to regulate the trade, saying all marijuana use is illegal under federal law. Last March, Mendocino County officials bowed to such threats and stopped issuing permits to grow up to 99 plants.
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