Tomorrow, the Pikes Peak Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union will bring together marijuana stakeholders in a free summer forum titled "The Federal Challenge to Marijuana Reform." The action gets started at 7 p.m. at downtown's Penrose Library, and features speakers Mark Slaugh from the Colorado Springs Medical Cannabis Council, Mason Tvert of S.A.F.E.R. and the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, and Art Way from the Drug Policy Alliance. Sensible Colorado executive director Brian Vicente will be present as well, but likely not speaking.
Fourth Judicial District Attorney Dan May was a possible candidate, but event organizer and chapter co-chair Loring Wirbel says he's probably going to decline, as the discussion will likely center around the federal government.
"The White House picks and chooses what it wants to do, in the sense that Obama and Biden have both come out for gay marriage, for example — which is still a real struggle on the states’ rights front — but they don’t do that on marijuana," Wirbel says in summation of the topic. "And I think they’re a little frightened of the states’ rights argument to begin with, because then what happens with immigration reform?"
Wirbel says that while the Justice Department has been acting against medical-marijuana users in multiple states, it has done so "on a very spotty basis, cracking down on California and Colorado while not cracking down on others," he says. "So, we see it as being a very inconsistent and unfair federal response to these laws.
"I think we’ll probably mention, too, tomorrow, from the ACLU’s perspective, that we are horribly, horribly disappointed — and I say this on a national basis for ACLU — the organization is horribly disappointed with Eric Holder as an attorney general," says Wirbel. "We’d probably put him on the lines of, say, you know, John Ashcroft, John Mitchell, people like that. Not only for marijuana, or whatever, but [Holder's] prosecuted something like seven journalists under official-secrets, espionage-act type of thing, and has had a terrible issue with secrecy and whistleblowers."