Year One of Colorado’s Marijuana Law

During her confirmation hearing, Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch appeared to break with the President on drug policy by expressing clear opposition to legalization. Coupled with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper’s reflections at The World Economic Forum in Davos that the January 2014 legalization of marijuana in his state was “a bad idea” and that the cash business presented a clear threat of “corruption,” some thought there might be a return to rule of law at the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Hopes faded with a look at Lynch’s next line, that opposition to legalization was the “current” position at DOJ. The Administration regards the federal Controlled Substances Act to be intact, notwithstanding the fact that they are not enforcing it in states that have legalized. Such non-enforcement was supposed to be conditional on no marketing marijuana to youth, no increased underage access, and no spread of marijuana to surrounding states, any of which would trigger federal enforcement.

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