Marijuana initiative can't force John Suthers to sue feds over enforcement, his office says

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John Suthers.
In our post yesterday about the progress of Legalize 2012's Cannabis Re-legalization Act, proponent Laura Kriho noted that a section had been added to the proposal directing Colorado Attorney General John Suthers to sue the federal government if it attempts to enforce its marijuana laws here. But AG spokesman Mike Saccone doubts such an edict would have binding effect on Suthers even if voters approve it.

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Laura Kriho.
In conversation with Westword, Kriho cited a recent Suthers op-ed in the Colorado Springs Gazette entitled "Despite State Constitution, Medical Marijuana Violates Federal Law." In her view, the piece said, in essence, "'I just can't think of any lawsuits to file against the feds at this point for medical marijuana.'"

For that reason, the act now includes what Kriho refers to as the "Suthers clause." In it, she reveals, "we say the attorney general is required to file lawsuits against the feds until the feds cease and desist their activities to enforce federal law -- and if he can't think of any grounds to file lawsuits on, he's required to hire outside counsel to tell him what lawsuits to file."

Here's the section in question:

Section 12. Attorney General -- Chief Legal Officer of the State -- Requirement to MakeRecommendations for Enforcement to Governor and General Assembly.

(1) The attorney general is the chief legal officer of the state and has the duty to enforce this article.

(2) The attorney general shall make timely recommendations to the general assembly and the governor to assist those bodies in the promulgation of statutes or rules and establish enforcement regulations to enact the goals of this article.

(3) (a) The attorney general shall establish guidelines for law enforcement officers for establishing probable cause that the provisions of this article have been intentionally violated. (b) The purpose of these guidelines shall be to eliminate as much as possible the arrest and prosecution of adults for cannabis use and to enable immunity from prosecution.

(4) The attorney general shall, upon written notification of the commission, assist the commission with recommendations to promulgate effective rules and regulations to achieve the goals of this article.

(5) If the federal government tries to enforce or threatens to enforce federal marijuana prohibition laws in the state of Colorado, the attorney general shall bring lawsuits against the federal government, until such threats or enforcement activities by the federal government completely cease and desist. If the attorney general cannot formulate appropriate legal theories under which to file these lawsuits, the attorney general shall hire outsideconsultants to advise him on potential legal strategies.

(6) The attorney general shall, at the request of the commission, assist the commission in the legal defense of any Colorado citizen arrested or charged with a federal marijuana offense.

In response, Saccone suggests that Kriho misinterpreted the theme of Suthers' Gazette op-ed.

"The column is about the difference between the suit against the individual health mandate and the issue of why the feds can still regulate medical marijuana," he says. "In the former, the idea of whether Congress can regulate economic inactivity -- the decision not to purchase a product or service -- is an unsettled question. But the Supreme Court has already weighed in on the question of marijuana."

In the case of Gonzales v. Raich, from 2005, Saccone goes on, "the court has said that even if marijuana is grown, sold and consumed within a single state, it still affects interstate commerce, and is therefore subject to federal regulation. So it's a decided question, while the other is not. And unless the court revisits that, what the Supreme Court says the law is, that's what the law is."

Page down to continue reading Saccone's take, and to see a judge's ruling on a similar case.


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25 comments
MeMet
MeMet

As far as I do know: Hopefully, medical officers will in the future believe and discover the actual power of health aspects of the plant--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Semi di Cannabis

MeMet
MeMet

I'm not really  positive however - the fact of the matter is that marijuana treatment indicates its successes and that they won't be tucked quietly away for very long.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Semi di Cannabis

Denver MMJ Patient
Denver MMJ Patient

This seems like nothing but a cop out to me, to defend his opposition of medical marijuana, and marijuana in general. He notes a case in immigration in defense, which is between people. Therefore, the door is open for racism to be a backing cause. 

We're working on something that is between plant and person, not person and person. It's a shame that all of these politicians choose to still view it as person to person with a plant in between. Medical marijuana patients and recreational users alike are piled into the 'good-for-nothing stoner' category. Even when they concede defeat with their backs up against the wall, the chance that their personal opinions change with their concession, and 'support' of medical marijuana or legalization measures; inside their head, they just wait for the opportunity to kill the movements. 

The fact is, politicians, your job is not to have an opinion. The opinions of the people you took oath to serve should be the only ones in your head.

MeMet
MeMet

As far as I do know; Eventually, medical officers will soon learn and find out the great strength of medical attributes of the weed--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Semi di Cannabis

Guest
Guest

Suthers sued to block "obamacare"Suthers is a cannabis prohibitionist

Suthers has got to GO.

Jerrad Baumann
Jerrad Baumann

When the feds made growing cannabis a privelage to only people possessing a marijuana stamp, they turned the everyday mans right to grow a crime. At the time, this was ok. However in 1943, the Supreme Court's decision in the religious test case, ...Murdoch v. Pennsylvania 319 U.S. 105 was that no State could convert a previously secured right into a privelage and issue a license and fee for it. A marijuana stamp is a license to grow, they can call it what they want but it's a license. This should have nullified the Marijuana Stamp Act, I know what you are saying, Jerrad, they dont talk about mj in the constitution. And I would say, Dont you think its safe to say that in the late 18th, entire 19th, and early 20th centuries, nobody ever thought that marijuana would be criminalized in America. The drafts to our Constitution were written on hemp. Presidents grew and consumed it. And if that is the case, you could easily make the arguement that it was a right of the People. You also have to ask yourself, what does Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness mean to me. Freedom from repression for the simple act of growing, possessing and consuming a plant is a right of the People. And the Supreme Court has ruled in hundreds of cases, when the constitution says the People, it means each and everyone of us, its not a collective right, it cant exclude felons and no I'm not a felon. Bear with me, I've got a more. Now in 1962, a case made it to the Supreme Court, Shuttlesworth v. Birmingham, AL. The decision in that case was if a State tries to convert your rights into a privelage, you can ignore the license and engage with impunity, meaning they cant prosecute you. Now I can say this till I'm blue in the face and I have been, in my own ongoing case but, it will never do any good until rest of you start standing up for yourselves. In my 6+ months dealing with my own case, I have seen countless people paying hundreds of dollars to lawyers to plead them guilty. I just want to stand up and scream, you could have have did that on your own. Then took that money and put it to your fines if you really think your a criminal that deserves to be punished. And really if enough of us got together we could also make this very simple with probably the most important case in our history, Marbury v. Madison 5 U.S. 137, which says any law that comes into conflict with your federal constitution is null and void of law, no courts are bound to enforce and no citizen is obligated to obey. This case is so important, it's hard to put into words but for over 200yrs people that obviously hate freedom have been trying to overturn this decision. When they realized they couldn't overturn the case, they simply started ignoring it, saying things like that case is over 200yrs old so it cant still exist. I've heard it come out of many policeman's mouth. Anyway I hope I've left you at least curious about what I've been writing and I want to thank you for reading. Stand up for what you believe and be the change you want to see in the world

Jerrad Baumann
Jerrad Baumann

Am Jurisprudence Vol.16, Sec.97: Then a constitution should recieve a liberal interpretation in favor of the citizen is especially true with respect to those provisions which were designed to safeguard the liberty and security of the citizen in regard to both person and property.*There's like 40 Supreme Court cases that affirm this.* And a constitutional provision intended to confur a benefit should be liberally construed in the favor of the clearly intended and expressly designated beneficiary.*Thats you, the citizen, We the People, beneficiaries of the U.S. Constitution* Similarly a provision intended to afford a remedy to those who have just claim*like a 70+ year war based on misinformation, hypocrisy, racism, social agendas, and capitalism, to name a few* should recieve a beneficial construction for the purpose of extending the remedy to ALL who might fairly come within the meaning of the terms.*If one has the right, We ALL have the right* FYI The Am Jurisprudence is like a judges rulebook, when we zig, it tells them how to zag, pun intended.You see, I don't think most people understand their constitution and I dont mean their rights I dont think they know what it is. Your constitution is a legal contract. If your gov't violates any part of it, you should sue them. A long tome ago when our country was young the federal govt came to the states and asked if it could even exist, really if we even wanted one. And the States said that the federal govt could rule as long as it ruled by the constitution. Thats why they gave us the right to abolish our government, and to bear arms but we wont get into that. Our founding fathers knew that all power corrupts, so they put all these safeguards in our constitution. Now just happens to be the time we should quoting them.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

You can't force a Leopard to change its spots.

Carl Olsen
Carl Olsen

You cannot force the Attorney General of Colorado to sue the federal government for enforcement of federal schedule I as long as your state agrees marijuana has no accepted medical use in the United States.  Stop wasting time on this crap.  You file a law suit against the state in a state court demanding the state challenge the federal classification like the U.S. Supreme Court told you to do.  The classification is just an ordinary federal regulation.  Suing to prevent the enforcement of the federal Controlled Substances Act is a losing argument.  The U.S. Supreme Court rejected that argument in Gonzales v. Raich, 545 U.S. 1 (2005), specifically at page 33 telling everyone what to do, " the statute authorizes procedures for the reclassification of Schedule I drugs."  Why can't you just do that and stop wasting time?

Guest
Guest

 Greedy dispensary owners have no money left to sue. They gave it all to the state to regulate them out of existence.

Jason
Jason

 If only the rest of the country would read this simple post by Mr. Carl Olsen. Carl has the key to this whole mess, state and federally. Every marijuana activist needs to listen to this man. Please look him up and see the work of his activism and what he is currently doing. He is the symbolic straw that will break the DEA's back once and for all   :)Thank You Carl! You da Man!Please keep up the good work. Sending my prayers your way.

Jason ;)

drbob
drbob

It's too bad that AG Suthers  is a pathological prohibitionist. If he had the best interests of his state and its citizens in mind, he would stand up for us and fight for our right to use an anti-aging plant that inhibits all age related illnesses, kills cancers and whose activity is found in mother's milk. I bet our AG was not breast-fed as an infant and is still suffering from post birth traumatic stress disorder. The resulting anger, fear, and paranoia prevents him from updating his incorrect information with new information that clearly shows the benefits of medical marijuana. We need to replace backward looking, cannabinoid deficient people (BLPs) with forward-looking people (FLPs) who are sufficiently cannabinoid endowed to accept the truth place it above their dogma. drbob

Godzuki
Godzuki

Dear Dr. Melamede,

Did you ever know that you are my hero? That you are everything I would like to be?

I can fly higher than an eagle: you are the wind beneath my wings.

Thank you.  You are awesome.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

You sound stressed drbob ... have you medicated today ?

a truther
a truther

John Suthers swore an oath to defend the law enforcement community of Colorado, not the citizens or the state constitution. 

COmidnightrider45
COmidnightrider45

Care to Comment? Colorado Attorney General John Suthers editorial "Medical marijuana a threat to state's children"http://www.ednewscolorado.org/...This editorial gives great insight into the mentality of a public servant who believes ALL Failed Drug War propaganda.

Matt in Boulder
Matt in Boulder

I have nothing to say to Suthers that could be printed on a website like that.  Besides, he is not at all interested in listening.

Guest
Guest

It's the politicians we need to regulate, not the patients.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

**** Regulate Politicians Like Alcohol !! ****

Legalize2012.com
Legalize2012.com

AG Suthers says that Gonzales v Raich is a done-deal, and "unless the court revisits" the issue, there is nothing the AG can do. It's a good thing we added the requirement for Suthers to seek outside counsel to help him come up with some ideas on how he can sue the feds, His myopic legal vision is certainly getting in the way of him upholding his oath of office to defend the Colorado constitution.

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