Marijuana Majority Chairman Tom Angell, formerly a spokesman for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, offered a more tepid appraisal.
"It's nice to hear that the Obama administration doesn't at this point intend to file a lawsuit to overturn the will of the voters in states that have opted to modernize their marijuana policies, but it remains to be seen how individual U.S. attorneys will interpret the new guidance and whether they will continue their efforts to close down marijuana businesses that are operating in accordance with state law," Angell said.
"[M]y optimism is tempered by the fact that despite the Justice Department's 2009 announcement that it shouldn't be a priority to bust medical marijuana providers operating in accordance with state law, this administration went on to close down more state-legal marijuana businesses in one term than the Bush administration did in two terms," he added.
The long-awaited announcement was issued after Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., announced Monday he would hold a Sept. 10 hearing on the conflict between federal and state marijuana law. Leahy supports state autonomy on marijuana policy.
"The next step is for Congress to act," Riffle said. "We need to fix our nation's broken marijuana laws and not just continue to work around them."
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