SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

November 10, 2012

Colo., Wash. await federal response to pot measure

DENVER — Should marijuana be treated like alcohol? Or should it remain in the same legal category as heroin and the most dangerous drugs? Votes this week by Colorado and Washington to allow adult marijuana possession have prompted what could be a turning point in the nation’s conflicted and confusing war on drugs.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was to talk yesterday by phone with Colorado’s governor, who wants to know whether the federal government would sue to block the marijuana measures. Both states are holding off on plans to regulate and tax the drug while waiting to see whether the U.S. Justice Department would assert federal authority over drug law.

The Obama administration has largely turned a blind eye to the 17 states that currently flout federal drug law by allowing people with certain medical conditions to use pot, something banned under federal law.

“In a situation like this, where our law is at loggerheads with federal law, my primary job is to listen first,” Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said Wednesday.

Hickenlooper opposed the ballot measure and has downplayed the likelihood of a commercial marijuana market materializing in Colorado.

“Based on federal law, if it’s still illegal under federal law, I can’t imagine that 7-Eleven is ever going to sell it,” he said.

In Washington state, a spokesman for Gov. Chris Gregoire said this week that Gregoire would respect the will of the people.

“We are entering uncharted waters and many questions lie ahead as we work to implement this law,” said spokesman Cory Curtis. “Because marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, we are unsure how the federal government will proceed.”

Meanwhile, marijuana activists are waiting for a Washington, D.C., federal appeals court to decide whether marijuana should be reclassified from its current status as a dangerous drug with no accepted medical use.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World

Local News
  • Keenan to resign to take Salem State job

    SALEM — State Rep. John Keenan said Tuesday he will resign from office Aug. 24 to take a new job as vice president of administration at Salem State University.
    His announcement ended months of speculation about where the five-term Democrat would end up after leaving the Legislature. As it turns out, he is leaving four months before his term would have expired.

    July 29, 2014

  • Chism attorney challenging legislation

    DANVERS -- The attorney for the Danvers teen charged with raping and murdering his math teacher last October is arguing that the 1996 state law requiring that he be tried as an adult is unconstitutional. The argument by Philip Chism's attorney comes

    July 30, 2014

  • 140729_SN_DLE_PATROL4 Party problems persist in Point SALEM -- 'Tis the season for parties in the Point. Three years after a large Fourth of July gathering in the densely inhabited neighborhood led to a violent confrontation between partygoers and police, Chief Paul Tucker says his department continues

    July 30, 2014 3 Photos

  • lottery.jpg 'Lucky' Salem store sells $15M lottery ticket

    SALEM -- An anonymous person used a trust to claim a $15 million grand prize Tuesday from a $30 scratch ticket bought at a local corner store. It is the largest instant "scratch and win" prize ever in the state's history. Nicole's Food Store at 406

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • shelter2 Ipswich Animal shelter is looking to expand

    IPSWICH -- Dogs and cats living together -- well, it's easier when you've got the space. And that's exactly what the Ipswich Animal Shelter is hoping to get by expanding their facility on Fowler's Lane. Also in the mix is an understanding of animal

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos