Marijuana Activists Cheer Michele Leonhart’s Exit From The DEA

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  Drug Enforcement Agency chair Michele Leonhart was done in by her agents’ unsanctioned, cartel-funded sex parties in Colombia, but it’s marijuana legalization advocates who are excited to see her go.

“Hopefully this is a sign that the Reefer Madness era is coming to an end at the DEA,” said Mason Tvert, the director on communications at the Marijuana Policy Project. “Michelle Leonhart has maintained an opinion about marijuana akin to the opinion people had back in the 30s.”

As Bloomberg reported, Attorney General Eric Holder said a statement that Leonhart will step down in May, after a Department of Justice watchdog report found that several agents were involved in inappropriate behavior, and a majority of lawmakers on the House Oversight committee voted to express they had “no confidence” in her leadership. Given the chance, marijuana policy activists—opposed to her strict opposition to both recreational and medicinal marijuana—would have voted her out several years ago. Now, they’re hoping for someone who, like President Obama, is interested in a more science focused response to drug policy.

Attorney General Eric Holder Set to Resign After Nearly Six Years

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Attorney General Eric Holder is resigning after heading the Justice Department for six years. A White House official says President Barack Obama will announce Holder’s departure later Thursday.

Holder, a former judge and prosecutor, is the first black attorney general, and his tenure is the fourth longest on the job. He is among only a handful of cabinet officials who have retained their posts since the beginning of Obama’s presidency.

He has previously spoken about his resignation, indicating he was planning to leave office sometime this year. He plans to remain at the Justice Department until his successor is in place.

Holder’s Spokane Visit Doesn’t Dim Prosecutors’ Zeal In Pot Case

WASHINGTON:  Attorney General Eric Holder swooped into Spokane, Washington, without public notice Friday to visit with federal prosecutors, but his trip didn’t immediately benefit a group of indicted medical marijuana patients nicknamed the Kettle Falls Five.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington, based in Spokane, is not backing down in its multiple-felony case against four family members and a friend who tended a rural marijuana garden for what they say was personal medical use.

The case, easily the highest-profile prosecution involving medical marijuana this year, is nearing trial as federal lawmakers consider cutting the purse strings for such enforcement.

Prosecutors argued Monday during a conference call with federal Judge Fred Van Sickle and defense attorneys that the defendants should not be allowed to tell jurors the marijuana was for medical use.

Eric Holder ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ About Marijuana Legalization In Washington And Colorado

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Attorney General Eric Holder is “cautiously optimistic” about how things are going in Washington state and Colorado following the legalization and state regulation of marijuana.

But the nation’s top law enforcement official, who spoke to The Huffington Post in an interview on Friday, also said it was tough to predict where marijuana legalization will be in 10 years.

“I’m not just saying that, I think it’s hard to tell,” Holder said in a jury room at the federal courthouse in Charleston, which he visited as part of the Justice Department’s Smart on Crime initiative. “I think there might have been a burst of feeling that what happened in Washington and Colorado was going to be soon replicated across the country. I’m not sure that is necessarily the case. I think a lot of states are going to be looking to see what happens in Washington, what happens in Colorado before those decisions are made in substantial parts of the country.”

Eric Holder Would Be ‘Glad To Work With Congress’ To Reschedule Marijuana

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: The Obama administration would be willing to work with Congress if lawmakers want to take marijuana off the list of what the federal government considers the most dangerous drugs, Attorney General Eric Holder said Friday.

“We’d be more than glad to work with Congress if there is a desire to look at and reexamine how the drug is scheduled, as I said there is a great degree of expertise that exists in Congress,” Holder said during a House Appropriations Committee hearing. “It is something that ultimately Congress would have to change, and I think that our administration would be glad to work with Congress if such a proposal were made.” [Read more…]

The Feds’ Scary Reassurances To Banks That Deal With State-Licensed Marijuana Businesses

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  On Friday the Treasury Department and the Justice Department issued guidelines for banks that do business with state-licensed marijuana suppliers. According to Attorney General Eric Holder, the aim of the memos is to reassure financial institutions that are leery of accepting cannabusinesses as customers because they worry it will attract unwanted attention from federal regulators and prosecutors.

But as with the August 29 memo in which Deputy Attorney General James Cole said that prosecuting properly regulated marijuana growers and sellers would not be a high priority, there are no guarantees, and that fact is likely to deter traditionally cautious banks more than plucky cannabis entrepreneurs. [Read more…]

Don't Blame Eric Holder For Confusing Pot Policies

By Mark Kleiman

WASHINGTON:  Federal law makes it a crime to grow, sell or possess cannabis. New state laws in Colorado and Washington state permit those activities, and officials there are issuing licenses to local companies to commit what remain federal felonies.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced in August that it would give a low priority to enforcement efforts against state-licensed growers and sellers in states with “strong and vigorous” regulations, except where they involve other activities such as violence or interstate sales. [Read more…]

Don't Blame Eric Holder For Confusing Pot Policies

By Mark Kleiman

WASHINGTON:  Federal law makes it a crime to grow, sell or possess cannabis. New state laws in Colorado and Washington state permit those activities, and officials there are issuing licenses to local companies to commit what remain federal felonies.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced in August that it would give a low priority to enforcement efforts against state-licensed growers and sellers in states with “strong and vigorous” regulations, except where they involve other activities such as violence or interstate sales. [Read more…]

Dems Rally Around Marijuana In 2014 Push

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Lawmakers across the country are turning to relaxed marijuana laws as a winning issue ahead of 2014.

A bi-partisan group of House members sent a letter to the White House on Wednesday morning requesting a change in federal marijuana policy. Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon led the group of 17 Democrats plus California Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher in the drafting of the letter, asking the president to “instruct Attorney General Holder to delist or classify marijuana in a more appropriate way.” The lawmakers requested the changes in part so that businesses in states where recreational or medical marijuana is legal can deduct business expenses and receive tax credits. [Read more…]

Dems Rally Around Marijuana In 2014 Push

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Lawmakers across the country are turning to relaxed marijuana laws as a winning issue ahead of 2014.

A bi-partisan group of House members sent a letter to the White House on Wednesday morning requesting a change in federal marijuana policy. Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon led the group of 17 Democrats plus California Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher in the drafting of the letter, asking the president to “instruct Attorney General Holder to delist or classify marijuana in a more appropriate way.” The lawmakers requested the changes in part so that businesses in states where recreational or medical marijuana is legal can deduct business expenses and receive tax credits. [Read more…]