End to marijuana prohibition a historic day in Drug War

The Justice Department on Thursday said it would not sue to block laws legalizing marijuana in 20 states and the District of Columbia, a move that proponents hailed as an important step toward ending the prohibition of the drug.  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/30/us/politics/us-says-it-wont-sue-to-undo-state-marijuana-laws.html?ref=us    Marijuana advocates praised the decision as a potentially historic shift in the federal government’s attitude toward a drug it once viewed as a menace to public health. By allowing states to legalize and regulate marijuana, advocates said, the federal government could reduce jail populations and legal backlogs, create thousands of jobs, and replenish state coffers with marijuana taxes.
“This is a historic day,” said Ean Seeb, a co-owner of a marijuana dispensary called Denver Relief. “This is the beginning of the end of marijuana prohibition.”
Under the new guidance, a large scale and a for-profit status would no longer make dispensaries and cultivation centers a potential target for criminal prosecution.
“It’s a relief,” said Representative Jared Polis, a Colorado Democrat. “It’ll get the criminal element out of the marijuana trade. It’ll provide legitimate business opportunities for everything from farmers to processors to retail store owners.”
The White House said last week that President Obama did not support changing federal laws regulating marijuana, which treat the drug as a dangerous substance with no medical purpose.
The announcement did not address the financial hurdles facing marijuana dispensaries and growing operations, like their access to loans and other banking services. Many banks are reluctant to do business with marijuana growers and sellers.

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