Deep Divide on Marijuana Policy Apparent During Congressional Hearing

It is pretty clear that a divide exists between state and federal laws on marijuana. In fact, the word chasm may describe the breech more accurately.


Our Los Angeles marijuana lawyers are fully aware of the differences between state and federal law regarding marijuana policy – and its time for a change.

Recently in a congressional hearing, the divide between state officials and federal legislators was borne out in a big way.

The U.S. Attorney for the state of Colorado requests that federal law enforcement officials work in conjunction with local police to meet shared goals. One primary example is keeping marijuana away from children – even after the state may have legalized use for adults.

The attorney stated that success on these goals is far more likely if there is a collective effort between the federal and state law enforcement on the ground. However, this is easier said than done.

The request was made before the U.S. House’s Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The title of the hearing was a revealing: “Mixed Signals: The Administration’s Stance on Marijuana.” Given the title it is certainly clear that Congress is aware that the administration has a message problem when it comes to marijuana legalization. The problem boils down to inconsistency.

Interestingly enough the hearing consisted of legislators aggressively questioning some higher level Drug Enforcement Administration officials about the agency’s firm stance against marijuana. The response from the DEA official: The DEA continues to see no social, economic, or scientific reasons to alter the country’s current marijuana policies.

In a recent New Yorker article the President made some comments that indicated a lean or at least a nod toward marijuana legalization. The President made statements such as “It’s important for it to go forward” when discussing marijuana policy.

Another signal from the Administration came in the form of an announcement from the Department of Justice that it would not stand in the way of recreational cannabis legalization in Washington and Colorado. The Department of Justice went on to say that it would not interfere with recreational cannabis dispensaries as long as the dispensaries adhered to the state laws.

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s top officials have pushed back against the Presidents current stance on marijuana legislation and some officials have spoken publicly that the administrations stance is “reckless and irresponsible.”

Although there has been a noticeable sway in public opinion regarding marijuana, there are still many organizations against advancement. In fact, a collection of opponent organizations are expected to draft and send a memo to federal officials that encourages them to keep marijuana in the most restrictive and serious Schedule I category with substances such as ecstasy, peyote, and heroin.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 949-375-4734.

More Blog Entries:

Mother Fighting for Cannabis-Based Cancer Treatment, February 7, 2014, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog
Additional Resources:

2013-2014 Regular Session – HB 990 Social services; expansion of Medicaid eligibility through increase in income threshold without prior legislative approval; prohibit, March 3, 2014

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