Friday, December 9, 2011

Polis pins down attorney general on MMJ

Posted By on Fri, Dec 9, 2011 at 10:07 AM

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On Thursday, Colorado Rep. Jared Polis did the work of the people by confirming some medical-marijuana-related things with Attorney General Eric Holder during a briefing about a gun-sting meeting, reports the Huffington Post.

As seen in a YouTube video (embedded below), Polis asks three things, starting with:

• "I wanted to see whether I can get your assurance that our definition of caregiver in our state’s constitution will be given some deference by the U.S. Attorney General’s office," he says.

"I’m not familiar with the provision, but what we said in the [Ogden] memo we still intend," replies Holder. "Which is that given the limited resources that we have, and if there are states that have medical marijuana provisions — and if you take into account the Cole memo — if in fact people are not using the policy decision that we have made to use marijuana in a way that’s not consistent with a state statute, we will not use our limited resources in that way."

Apparent translation: If you're not taking advantage of the federal government's position and breaking state MMJ laws, you're probably OK.

• Next, Polis asks if our regulatory structure has protected the state from a California-like crackdown by its U.S. attorneys.

"Well, again I’m not familiar with it ... I’d have to look at it," Holder says. "But again, our thought was that where a state has taken a position, has passed a law, and people are acting in conformity with the law — not abusing the law, but acting in conformity with it — and, again, given our limited resources, that would not be an enforcement priority for the Justice Department."

• Lastly, the Boulder rep asks about the most pressing issue for the state's MMJ industry: banking, more specifically, whether MMJ-friendly banking institutions be prosecuted by the DOJ. Holder seems to reply that the banks having nothing to worry about.

"Again, I would think that consistent with the notion that how we use our limited resources, again if the bankers, the people seeking to make the deposits, are acting in conformity with state law that would not, again, be an enforcement priority for the Justice Department," said the attorney general.

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