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Feds: Pot Possession Illegal Despite Law

OLYMPIA, Wash., (UPI) –  Marijuana possession is illegal on a federal level, the Justice Department said, even as Washington state’s law decriminalizing possession went into effect.

“Regardless of any changes in state law, including the change that will go into effect on Dec. 6 [Thursday] in Washington state, growing, selling or possessing any amount of marijuana remains illegal under federal law,” statement issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle Wednesday said.

Voters in Washington and Colorado approved ballot initiatives Election Day that decriminalized the possession of as much as an ounce of marijuana by adults. The Washington state law was effective Thursday and Colorado’s law will go into effect in the coming weeks.

The Justice Department stance sets up a potential court fight between the federal government and the states, The Washington Post reported Wednesday. Even though measures violated federal drug laws, the Justice Department so far hasn’t provided guidance despite requests from both states, officials said.

Under federal law, marijuana is considered a Schedule 1 drug, the same category as LSD and heroin.

“The department’s responsibility to enforce the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged,” the statement said. “Neither states nor the executive branch can nullify a statute passed by Congress.”

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment beyond the statement, which also said the department was still reviewing the Colorado and Washington state initiatives, the Post said.

But while possessing marijuana for recreational use in Washington state is decriminalized, buying it remains a felony, CNN reported.

“It begs the question, if they can’t buy it through a medical marijuana shop, which only people with a prescription and medical marijuana license can, how do they get it?” Washington State Liquor Control Board spokesman Brian Smith asked Wednesday.

Officials said it could take a year before there are rules developed for growing and selling marijuana under provisions of the initiative.

Until then, growing and selling marijuana will be prosecuted as felonies, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg told CNN.

“So I’m not sure where you’re suppose to get it,” Satterberg said. “If you stumble across some on the street or it falls from the sky, then you can have it. Otherwise, you are part of a criminal chain of distribution.”

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  • roger

    “The department’s responsibility to enforce the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged,” the statement said. “Neither states nor the executive branch can nullify a statute passed by Congress.”

    These scumbags are completely illiterate, dishonest, or both. The states have absolute power of nullification within their borders. See the 10th amendment. Also, the federal cheese distributors have no power to regulate anything at all to with drugs, alcohol or firearms. See Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17 of the constitution. Please let this board know if you find it written there………..

    crickets

  • http://www.facebook.com/rick.steeb.5 Rick Steeb

    The feds can take their unconstitutional damned lie “Schedule I Cannabis” and put it vigorously where the sun don’t shine. Or be laughed at. Whatever.

  • Harold Olsen

    I’ve been saying for years that states can pass all the laws legalizing pot that they want, but as long as it is illegal on a federal level then it is illegal on the state level Of course the potheads disagree. They claim it’s a state issue and not a federal issue. I’ve said that if they want to legalize it on the state level, they first need to legalize it on the federal level. Of course, they disagree with that as well. Once it’s legal on the federal level, then the states can create their own individual laws, as has been done with alcohol. I hope the feds crack down on the selling and possession of pot here in Washington state. Maybe it’ll clear out the cobwebs in the brains of these potheads, though I wouldn’t bet on it.

    • Karolyn

      Harold, Maybe you should try some; it might help you get out of the box you’re in. Alcohol’s OK, though, right? Alcohol kills! Pot has medicinal value, as well as being an aid in depression. Have you not read that inroads into the value of pot as a cancer treatment have been made? Can’t say the same for alcohol, which has no redeeming value other than as an antiseptic.

      • s c

        Since you’re on a ‘compassion’ kick today, Comrade ‘K,’ tell your White House Messiah about the bebefits of medical marijuana (or even ‘regular’ marijuana). He’s N O T listening, komrade. He doesn’t CARE, komrade. He can’t walk on water, turn water into wine and he probably has no plans for being held accountable for ANYTHING. While you’re at it, ask you Messiah how he dealt with the families of those MURDERED in Benghazi (NOT that media crap. I mean how he REALLY dealt with them).
        Your utopian blinders must have been surgically implanted, Komrade ‘K.’ Obummer leads people like you around by your nose(s), and you STILL don’t have a fricking CLUE.
        For a while, Colorado and Washington will sell LOTS of marijuana and generate LOTS of tax money, but sooner or later, Uncle Scam will stick his big nose into it and stop it. Whatcha gonna do THEN, Komrade? Sounds like a good idea for a term paper, eh?

      • Karolyn

        s c – Obama is NOT MY MESSIAH! I do not know where you get that from. Just because I don’t hate him? I DO NOT think he is perfect or anywhere near it, and have never professed anything like it.

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