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Obama And Romney Want To Continue Drug War, Johnson Wants To End It

June 19, 2012Posted in Blog, News

By Karl Dickey

Touring a medical marijuana dispensary in Denver on Monday, Libertarian presidential nominee and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson called on the Department of Justice to “stop wasting time and resources harassing medical marijuana facilities operating legally under laws enacted by the states.”

Johnson also reiterated his strong support for a Colorado initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol that will appear on the state’s November ballot.

In recent weeks, the U.S. Department of Justice has forced the closure or relocation of more than 40 dispensaries operating in accordance with local ordinances and state law. Colorado voters approved regulated medical marijuana 12 years ago with the passage of Amendment 20.

In remarks at the GroundSwell medical marijuana center, Johnson said, “While the U.S. Attorney General is spending his days trying to explain a botched and fatal Fast and Furious scheme, his Justice Department attorneys are spending our tax dollars declaring war on legitimate medical marijuana businesses that are not only providing a service people clearly want, but are operating in accordance with state law and local ordinances.

“And this is from an Administration that issued a memo in 2009 indicating that they would not be pursuing such legal actions. Keep in mind, in 2008, President Obama said, ‘What I’m not going to be doing is using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue simply because I want folks to be investigating violent crimes and potential terrorism. We’ve got a lot of things for our law enforcement officers to deal with.’”

Johnson continued, “If the 10th Amendment and states’ rights mean anything in this country today, this is an issue in which the Feds should just butt out and leave states like Colorado alone. Colorado has done it right. Twelve years ago, voters approved medical marijuana in their state, and the state legislature has made clear the authority of local governments to decide for themselves how and where medical marijuana facilities can operate.

“In a Johnson Administration, I can assure you that legally constituted and operating medical marijuana businesses will not have to worry about receiving letters from the Department of Justice containing heavy-handed threats to their existence.”

Gov. Johnson also expressed his strong support for Colorado’s proposed Amendment 64, an initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol. Johnson said, “Colorado has long been a leader in working to enact common sense drug laws. Alcohol prohibition didn’t work in the last century, and marijuana prohibition isn’t working today. And just as the first Prohibition accomplished nothing but massive profits for organized crime, this one is serving only to generate even greater profits for murderous cartels.

“I am convinced the question of sensible marijuana legalization is at a tipping point, and I fully expect — and urge — Colorado voters to lead the way.”

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