Pot now illegal?

Even with your age caveat that is not strictly 100% true. The federal government has been supplying medical marijuana under a limited test program since the late 70s. The program was closed to new patients in 1992. 25 years later there are still four living individuals receiving monthly shipments of marijuana from the federal government.

Most of us alive when it was still entirely possible to sign up for free federal government supplied medical marijuana.

If responsible, serious people like US Attorneys refuse to enforce laws they see as unjust, is that a problem with the people refusing to enforce the unjust laws, or the people who try to direct them to?

Let’s nitpick this to death … the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 only made it illegal to grow pot without a tax stamp … the government just didn’t issue but a few tax stamps … examples

Since the Republican Senator from Colorado has come out against the new policy, and has threatened (I believe) to hold up DoJ appointments because of it, this issue might not break on political lines - for once.

What he’s doing is continuing to fail to enforce federal law and directives, as he has not been doing since the previous AG said it was more fashionable to not do those things at any priority above investigating last month’s petty cash drawer shortage. Anyone in this country always has been and continues to be liable to proceed to prison from a Federal courtroom for a very long time on pot charges.

Nor should we overlook the period during WWII the ban was lifted with KY and TN farmers encouraged to resume hemp production for war materials, fiber, cordage, etc. That is where the now-indigenous western U.S. ditchweed strains originated.

Not in CA. They are racing to open, and if there is anything holding them back it’s the reluctance of most municipalities to grant licenses.

If the feds busted someone, it would go to federal court not “local court”.

Would federal court still pull a jury from among locals? If so, seems jury nullification may become a thing.

It didn’t just go off the books, it was declared unconstitutional by the supreme court - meaning that the USSC declared that it wasn’t actually illegal to posess marijuana without a tax stamp. So it was only with the 1970 controlled substances act that individual possession of marijuana actually became part of Federal Law, as upheld (in an awful decision, but a decision nonetheless) by the Supreme Court in 2005.

This is GQ, and I’m pointing out that factually individual posession of pot was not illegal until Congress passed a legal law making it illegal, and that only happened in 1970, not 1937.

I don’t see any reason why the jury would not be drawn from the local population. But I don’t know enough about jury nullification to say much about it. Presumably, every potential juror would be asked if they were capable of reaching a guilty verdict in a federal marijuana case.

I could have made some decent money betting on the political markets that – just for this reason that the CFSG doesn’t care one way or another about pot and will let his subordinates do whatever they like – that there was no way he would win Colorado due to the uncertainty. I could have even hedged my bet to bet on him to win the presidency but lose colorado – which he did – and would have only lost serious money if he had won colorado and lost the presidency which seems weirdly impossible in light of this current discussion.

But yeah, a vast majority of the electorate across America support legalized pot. Enforcement has no upside and much downside if seriously pursued.

Was everyone freed from prison? Their convictions expunged?

I have no recent first hand experience, but I think it’s pretty much varying combinations of business-as-usual/wait-and-see here in California.

People who are so certain about the federal law will refer you to Gonzales v. Raich where the SCOTUS points out to you why the feds do have that power.

Spectre: I don’t think it’s “business as usual” in CA since recreational pot has only been legal for a few days.

Could someone explain to a non-American what’s going on here? I thought that states were sovereign when it came to their own internal laws. How can the federal government overrule a state law which does not concern other states and, presumably, is not unconstitutional? What is the federal justification for interfering in state business and arresting citizens who are abiding by the laws of that state?

I know how these things usually go.

You’re splitting hairs. The tax-stamp strategy was common in the early history of drug prohibition, stemming from legislative doubt about the constitutionality of banning a drug outright. This informed how the 1914 Harrison Narcotics Act–which hadn’t mentioned cannabis–was framed, and a similar mindset still held when the Marihuana Tax Act Of 1937 was written. In effect, the MTA was a prohibtion law de facto, even if it was only a tax law de jure. You were free to use, possess, and deal in marijuana as long as you paid the tax and got your stamp…if you could only get a stamp, because they weren’t available. In the 1970 case, it was declared unconstitutional as it was impossible to apply for a marijuana tax stamp when the drug was outlawed by every one of the fifty states. Yet, in my opinion, that had been the idea all along–it was a way of prohibiting something without calling it prohibition.

I just gave the link in the post prior. It’s the commerce clause, that has been used for decades to let the feds do almost anything they want.

The US Attorney for Colorado has said there will be no change in the rules under his watch. So unless he is removed from office and replaced, any DEA busts in Colorado will be met with dropped charges.

I also seriously doubt that any Legal or Medical Marijuana state will cooperate with Federal authorities in the matter. So good luck finding local police or state officials that are going to cooperate in any kind of sweeps.

Prosecution of Marijuana Crimes has always been a state matter unless it crosses state lines.

There are federal penalties for possession and sale, but there’s literally no fucking way for the Federal government to arrest and prosecute tens of thousands of marijuana workers and millions of customers. Frankly, I think that if the US Justice Department and the DEA tried to sweep in and shut down operations in any of the states, they might be successful in the first few, but they’d be mobbed by protesters and obstructionists within short order.

It has the appearance of stating that the Justice Department’s general principles of operation are so clear that these guidelines are unnecessary and redundant, so he is repealing the unnecessary and redundant layer of legislation. That has the markers to appeal to the conservative/libertarian branch who want to reduce the size of government and roll back legislation while seeming to be stating that there will be no change in the status quo with respect to enforcement. That can be fed to the pro-marijuana crowd.

What it really means for enforcement has yet to be seen. Congress has previously stifled federal prosecution of marijuana laws in states with legal marijuana by using the control of the purse - they wrote a law that no federal funds could be used for such prosecutions. I am unaware of the current status.

If it’s a matter of the attorneys themselves deciding what is good and what is bad, then that is an abuse of power. However, they may base decisions upon the local population’s views on the issue and use local mores as a guide to prosecutorial priorities. That is thoroughly within their powers - indeed, it is the role of the office.

He was using “local” in a relative manner. He said “local federal judge”, which means the judge covering the district in question, who may be a resident of that area and probably understands the population of that area’s attitudes on the matter.

The federal government can write its own laws that are independent of the state laws if they have some arguable authority under the Constitution. The Interstate Commerce clause is the one that is typically used. Thus it is a federal crime to possess marijuana, as well as a state one in some states.

Oh, and since the majority of Americans now support legalization, how do you think jury selection is going to go?

The disruption of Federal Courts, swamped with pot cases, would affect prosecution of other crimes as well. US Attorneys, even anti-legalization ones, would have to decide which cases they’re going to prosecute, and I doubt that too many of them, outside of a few states where it isn’t legal now anyway, would be too interested in burying their own staff in misdemeanor jury trials.