The tide is turning on cannabis

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In the US ‘reefer madness’ seems to be abating as more and more sensible analysis of cannabis and failure of prohibition becomes apparent.

Colorado has already legalised it, California has moved to a partial decriminalisation and real research is being conducted finally. The medical benefits are being proven.

Now the Federal government has said that they won’t move against states that legalise…essentially they are going to ignore the issue, because it is a battle that is lost.

The Justice Department on Thursday said it would not sue to block laws legalizing marijuana in 20 states and the District of Columbia, a move that proponents hailed as an important step toward ending the prohibition of the drug.

In a memo to federal prosecutors nationwide on Thursday, James M. Cole, the deputy attorney general, erased some uncertainty about how the government would respond to state laws making it legal to use marijuana for medical or recreational purposes.

Citing “limited prosecutorial resources,” Mr. Cole explained the change in economic terms. But the memo also made clear that the Justice Department expects states to put in place regulations aimed at preventing marijuana sales to minors, illegal cartel and gang activity, interstate trafficking of marijuana, and violence and accidents involving the drug.

“A system adequate to that task must not only contain robust controls and procedures on paper; it must also be effective in practice,” he wrote. 

Prohibition is going to come to an end.

Voters in Washington and Colorado recently approved measures decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of recreational marijuana, while 18 other states and the District of Columbia permit the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

In a phone call on Thursday afternoon, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. explained the government’s “trust but verify” approach to Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington and Gov. John W. Hickenlooper of Colorado, a Justice Department official said.

Marijuana advocates praised the decision as a potentially historic shift in the federal government’s attitude toward a drug it once viewed as a menace to public health. By allowing states to legalize and regulate marijuana, advocates said, the federal government could reduce jail populations and legal backlogs, create thousands of jobs, and replenish state coffers with marijuana taxes.

“This is a historic day,” said Ean Seeb, a co-owner of a marijuana dispensary called Denver Relief. “This is the beginning of the end of marijuana prohibition.”

A far looking conservative politician would do well to embrace this. If the US moves towards legalisation then so will the rest of the world.

There is considerable first mover advantage in embracing hemp based industries, like most things introduced into New Zealand we have almost perfect growing conditions.

Decriminalisation and then legalisation would a sensible move.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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