PLEDGE NOW
The Justice Department And State Pot Laws

The Justice Department won’t challenge Washington State and Colorado’s very liberal pot laws.  So, what’s coming with marijuana?

A man pulls out a bag of marijuana to fill a pipe at the first day of Hempfest, Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, in Seattle. (AP)

A man pulls out a bag of marijuana to fill a pipe at the first day of Hempfest, Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, in Seattle. (AP)

Last year, voters in Colorado and Washington State went to the polls in big numbers to vote to fully legalize recreational use of marijuana.  First states ever to do that.  And then they waited.

Marijuana is a Schedule 1 controlled substance under federal law, right up there with heroin.  What would the federal government say, do?

Last week they got their answer.  The Department of Justice has ruled OK – go ahead.  Have your recreational marijuana.  With some caveats.  Some requirements.  A green light.

This hour, On Point:  The federal OK on state-level pot legalization, and what happens now.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

John Ingold, reporter for The Denver Post, covering the court system and marijuana. (@john_ingold)

Barbara Brohl, co-chair of Colorado’s Amendment 64 Task Force, created by Governor Hickenlooper to work out the policy, legal and procedural issues around Colorado’s legalization of recreational marijuana.

Mark Kleiman, professor of policy studies and director of the Drug Policy Analysis Center at UCLA. (@markarkleiman)

Andrew Boyens, owner of Natural Remedies, a medical marijuana dispensary in Denver making the shift to also serve the coming recreational market in Colorado.

From Tom’s Reading List

Bloomberg: U.S. Won’t Sue to Block State Marijuana Legalization — “The U.S. won’t challenge laws in Colorado and Washington that legalized the recreational use of marijuana and will focus federal prosecutions on ties to organized crime, distribution to minors and transportation across state lines, the Justice Department said.”

The Denver Post: More Colorado pot is flowing to neighboring states, officials say — “Marijuana is flowing into the black market and out of Colorado in greater quantities than ever before, law enforcement officials say. It’s going by car and by bus. It’s being packed up and shipped through the mail. It’s being found, in small amounts and large bundles, as far away as Illinois, New York and Florida.”

Forbes: New DOJ Marijuana Policy Won’t Fly With IRS — “Given the documented medical use of marijuana and state laws, you might think the feds would respect state law and states’ rights. You might also assume that the sizable federal and state taxes to be collected from the industry would be a prize. Oddly enough, though, the tax law discriminates so badly against the industry that it has had to virtually go underground.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
May 5, 2016
Detroit teachers march outside the district headquarters, Monday, May 2, 2016, in Detroit. Detroit Public Schools transition manager Steven Rhodes says 45,628 of approximately 46,000 students were forced to miss classes Monday as 1,562 teachers called in sick. The mass sick-out has forced the district to close 94 of its 97 schools. Detroit's schools are expected to be out of cash starting July 1. The state earlier gave the district $48.7 million in emergency funding to keep it open through June 30 as the Legislature considers a $720 million restructuring plan. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Fixing Michigan- from Flint’s water crisis to failing schools in Detroit. Are state takeovers the answers or the problem?

May 5, 2016
BEING CHARLIE Common and Nick Robinson Photo by Fred Hayes (PALADIN Release)

Filmmaker, actor Rob Reiner and his son, Nick, get personal in their new film “Being Charlie,” which takes on drug addiction.

RECENT
SHOWS
May 4, 2016
Leslie Stahl with her grandchild Jordan. (Courtesy: Leslie Stahl)

Trailblazing journalist Lesley Stahl on her new book Becoming Grandma, and the joys, the science, the struggles, the evolution of being a grandparent today.

 
May 4, 2016
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is joined by his wife Melania, right, and daughter Ivanka, left, as he arrives for a primary night news conference, Tuesday, May 3, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Results from the 2016 Indiana primary. Does it cement two pathways to the nominations?

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Devoured: We Are What (And How) We Eat
Tuesday, May 3, 2016

From chicken wings to kale smoothies, we look at what we eat, and how challenging it is to eat well in America.

More »
Comment
 
‘Embedded’: How Violent Gangs Are Terrorizing El Salvador
Thursday, Apr 14, 2016

NPR’s Kelly McEvers on her reporting in El Salvador for the podcast Embedded, and how gang killings brought San Salvador’s bus service to a halt.

More »
Comment
 
That Cheap Dress On Facebook? It Isn't Worth It
Monday, Apr 11, 2016

Know those shockingly cheap clothes you see advertised on Facebook? There’s a catch.

More »
Comment