Marijuana activist objects to Amendment 64 task force member calling for fed crackdown
As we've reported, the first meeting of the Amendment 64 Implementation Task Force is slated for noon today. But even before that initial session, a marijuana activist is protesting the inclusion of one task force member, Colorado Concern's Tamra Ward. Why? Because her signature is the first on letters from business groups calling for the federal government to crack down on the very measure she's supposed to be working to implement.
As our Sam Levin reported earlier this month, the letters were sent to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, President Barack Obama, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and Colorado Attorney General John Suthers by a coalition of twenty business groups opposed to legalization. They encourage the feds to enforce the Controlled Substances Act, which currently states that marijuana is a Schedule I narcotic whose use is illegal.
The three letters are on view below in their entirety, but here's an excerpt from the one addressed to Holder:
The Colorado business community, as represented by the signatory organizations noted below, seeks clarity from the Department of Justice with regard to your intentions to enforce federal law under your prosecutorial discretion.To Mark Slaugh, membership director of the Colorado Springs Medical Cannabis Council, Ward's position on the issue, expressed as president and CEO of Colorado Concern, makes her wholly unsuited to participate on a task force charged with implementing the measure. Hence, his note Friday to Hickenlooper's legal counsel, sent under the heading "Conflict of Interest." We've included that note below as well -- but when asked about his concerns, Slaugh says, "Tamra signed off on a letter that's basically asking the federal government to come in and enforce the Controlled Substances Act not just on Amendment 64, but also on the hundreds of businesses in Colorado that are operating on medical cannabis centers.
The provisions of Amendment 64 are in direct conflict with the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and other provisions of federal law. The CSA clearly states that federal law preempts state law when there is a positive conflict between the two jurisdictions....
Consequently, we encourage the enforcement of the CSA, to provide the certainty and clarity of law we seek.
"This action is contrary to the goals of these business groups," he adds. "These groups are dedicated to increasing economic development for their regions and increasing job opportunities to strengthen our local economies. So her taking the position to essentially throw the industry under the federal bus threatens literally thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in economic stimulus that our industry has provided."
Continue to read more about the task force, and to see letters calling for federal intervention.