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Marijuana decision from feds unlikely in near future due to reporter spying, Tea Party scandals

eric.holder.may.2103.205x205.jpg
Eric Holder.
During a conference call shortly after the November 2012 passage of Amendment 64, Governor John Hickenlooper and Colorado Attorney General John Suthers encouraged U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to make announcing the federal government's response to the bill a priority. Then, in March, Holder said the feds' decision would be coming soon. Yet at May's midpoint, "soon" still isn't here -- and given the assorted scandals with which Holder's Justice Department is currently dealing, it's very unlikely to arrive in the near future.

Atop Holder's agenda at present is the fallout from an FBI investigation into a leak to the Associated Press, reportedly about a CIA agent who was also thought to be a possible suicide bomber. As part of the inquiry, the Department of Justice authorized obtaining phone records for twenty AP-related phone lines -- the sort of intrusion into the press' activities that's prompted critics such as MSNBC's Rachel Maddow to reference Nixon-era snooping.

According to Holder, he'd recused himself from the investigation some time earlier, establishing the sort of distance that could help him survive what looks to be the sort of public-relations catastrophe that will only quiet down after numerous heads roll. But that hasn't stopped him from being a target of criticism, not only from lawmakers who demanded his presence on Capitol Hill today, but also by media organizations aghast at the feds' actions.

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Deputy Attorney General James Cole.
Witness a letter from the Reporters Committee For Freedom of the Press, which blasts the Justice Department for its actions. It's signed by more than fifty media organizations and addressed to Holder and Deputy Attorney General James Cole, who was put in charge of the leak investigation after Holder's recusal.

By a coincidence, Cole also happens to be the likeliest person other than the AG to offer an opinion about marijuana. Note that his name is on the so-called Cole memo, released in 2011, which was supposed to clarify the feds' approach to medical marijuana.

Holder also has a role in the other major controversy currently gripping Washington -- news that the Internal Revenue Service had directed extra scrutiny on Tea Party groups applying for nonprofit status in what critics see as a very partisan approach by a supposedly nonpartisan agency. The attorney general has announced that he's authorized an investigation by, you guessed it, the FBI into the IRS's activities.

These are not the types of matters that will blow over quickly. Rather, they're likely to drag on for months -- and should Holder take a break from them too soon in order to offer his views about Amendment 64, he risks being pilloried for focusing on a matter that many observers outside Colorado will likely see as trivial in comparison.

These circumstances mean Coloradans with an interest in A64 and marijuana policy must continue to speculate about federal action based on dubious evidence such as indirect quotes. Take, for instance, President Barack Obama's recent comments in Mexico about his opposition to legalizing drugs.

Clearly, "soon" still seems a long way off.

Look below to see CNN footage of Holder talking about the AP story and the letter from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

Media coalition letter to Attorney General Eric Holder

More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana: Barack Obama says no to legalizing drugs -- but what's that mean for Colorado?"


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34 comments
BuddJones
BuddJones

Thank Goodness for Amendment 64. 

The Black Market continues to drive prices down. 

Get Your Colorado Medical Marijuana Red Card for free.

Either the government will pay for it or your local dispensary will cover all costs.

Every week there's a dispensary offering an eight for a penny or a quarter ounce for $5.

The People have spoken. There will be no recount.

Peace be with you.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Where are those brain-dead bong-sucking simpletons who claim that Regulation will eliminate the "black market" and put criminal dealers out of business?


*** NY busts multi-million dollar 'cigarette smuggling ring' ***


About 20,000 cartons were brought to New York per week by distributors

New York officials say they have busted a multi-million dollar cigarette smuggling ring.

Officials allege that three of the 16 Palestinian immigrants charged had links to known terrorists.

The state's attorney general said investigators had recovered only "a fraction" of the proceeds from sales of more than a million untaxed cartons.

The amount of money involved remains unclear, but records show the suspects deposited at least $55 MILLION.

The scheme cost the state an estimated $80 MILLION in tax revenue, said officials in a press conference on Thursday.

BuddJones
BuddJones

As marijuana goes legit, investors rush in

 Medicinal marijuana markets  

For the first time, a majority of Americans now support legalizing marijuana. Commercial marijuana sales are estimated at $1.5 billion today which could quadruple by 2018. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia currently allow its medical use.

Brendan Kennedy and Michael Blue are nice boys. Really. They're bankers. Yale MBA classmates. Wearers of ties.

And, if luck and changing laws cooperate, they'll be drug barons of a certain kind.

Kennedy, 40, and Blue, 34, are in the vanguard springing up to seize the market for legal marijuana, which is accelerating with last fall's legalization of most personal pot consumption in Colorado and Washington state. They're running a Seattle private-equity fund, Privateer Holdings, designed to buy up the smaller marijuana-related businesses to create one big fat one.

After Washington and Colorado, the pot business is, if not mainstream, at least ready to push toward it. Advocates hope to legalize personal use in another 14 states by 2017, mostly among the 16 states besides Washington and Colorado where medical pot is legal (it's also legal in Washington, D.C.). Industry estimates say today's $1.5 billion legal market could quadruple by 2018.

wrobert.weller
wrobert.weller

Isn't Hickenlooper running out of time to sign the marijuana bill? I thought that after a certain period it would die. Or perhaps it is the other way around, and it would become law.

BuddJones
BuddJones

Jillian just cannot slow down. Her divorce, the sale of the house, the windfall of money, the new stream of Boy Toys that seem to be coming out of the walls and she's just loving it. Her 420 attitude along with her new Colorado Red Card has set the stage for one very exciting new year. Parties galore, the kids live with their Dad in California where she visits her Mother once a month anyway so who's complaining? Not Jillian!.

Her friends love her but hate her because everything seems to go her way but one reason she medicates is because things do not always go as they seem. A lonely but beautiful woman who can buy whatever she wants but cannot buy or find love. The 420 Life has opened new doors of opportunity though for Jillian and she cannot wait to see what the next weekend brings!

york
york

Why would the feds paint themselves into a corner by taking a position on it when they can  stay silent and enforce federal laws at their discretion just like the good old medical marijuana days. Eeny, meeny, miny, moe...which marijuana dispensaries must go.  

betweenthelines
betweenthelines

Bush didn't raid nearly as many legal dispensaries as Obama has and Bush was legally retarded. Obama is 'lying' to the dems by stating he is giving the marijuana issue a 'low priority' and simultaneously appeasing his right wing colleagues by allowing the feds to continue to terrorize law abiding citizens.....It's a WIN, WIN for Obama this way, I wouldn't expect a change in policy for the rest of his term. You can expect some serious backlash on the marijuana issue in 2016 when the GOP takes the reigns once again.....

Steve At Work
Steve At Work

He will open his mouth when he's damn well ready to lie and not a moment sooner.

betweenthelines
betweenthelines

Holder is gonna look good in an orange jumpsuit.... :)

Green_eyes
Green_eyes

Things were so much easier when pot was still illegal......

Alfonzo McCarthy
Alfonzo McCarthy

Even though I'm an Okie from Oklahoma, from what I've observed living here in Denver these past 2 years people are very responsible herb smokers that exercise common sense. I say let the people of Colorado be and focus on more important issues like bombings, abductions, and other senseless crimes that be going on.

Ian StClair
Ian StClair

Who needs feds? We can have a sovereign Colorado.

Brian Rouse
Brian Rouse

Day before its due to go into effect, how they roll..

Che Harness
Che Harness

After we pass the ridiculous nanogram legislation and before shops are opened up to the general public.

Stephanie Sarad
Stephanie Sarad

They have learned their lesson in Colorado. They can raid and confiscate Marijuana and then reimburse them for potential cost just like they have been doing for MMJ. It's in the state constitution- an alienable right.

Chris Nigro
Chris Nigro

Never. It's something 'THE PEOPLE' want.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

The Feds are in no hurry ... they'll let fools rush in and invest hundreds of thousands of $$$ into their operations ... before shutting them down in financial ruin with a simple letter and a postage stamp ... as when they destroyed all those clowns who opened dispensaries within 1000 feet of schools.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@BuddJones "They're running a Seattle private-equity fund, Privateer Holdings, designed to buy up the smaller marijuana-related businesses to create one big fat one."

Idiotic Idea FAIL.


ethernot
ethernot

@york That's the most realistic and logical assessment we've seen yet ...

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@betweenthelines ... if they couldn't put one on Alberto "torture and kidnapping are OK" Gonzalez, how deluded are you to think Holder has one waiting?

ethernot
ethernot

@Alfonzo McCarthy Do okies come from anywhere else … ?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Stephanie Sarad = legally clueless

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