Marijuana Ballot Initiatives

In Wake of Colorado and Washington, Sen. Leahy May Push for Amending the Controlled Substances Act


In a letter to Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske regarding the feds' response to legal pot in Colorado and Washington, Senate Judiciary Chair Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) says that "one option would be to amend the Federal Controlled Substances Act to allow possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, at least in jurisdictions where it is legal under state law." 

Leahy offered up modifying the CSA after asking for "assurances" that the feds won't crack down on either users or state governments. 

Leahy's letter to Kerlikowske, which he published today on his website, marks the Senate's first response to the passage of marijuna ballot measures in Colorado and Washington.  

The full text of Leahy's letter is below: 

December 5, 2012

The Honorable R. Gil Kerlikowske


Office of National Drug Control Policy

Executive Office of the President

Washington, DC 20503

Dear Director Kerlikowske:

Last month, voters in Colorado and Washington chose to legalize personal use of up to one ounce of marijuana and to enact licensing schemes for cultivation and distribution of the drug. As the states move to implement these new laws, marijuana remains a Schedule I controlled substance according to the Federal Government. Production, distribution, and possession of the drug are Federal criminal offenses punishable by imprisonment.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has a significant interest in the effect of these developments on Federal drug control policy. How does the Office of National Drug Control Policy intend to prioritize Federal resources, and what recommendations are you making to the Department of Justice and other agencies in light of the choice by citizens of Colorado and Washington to legalize personal use of small amounts of marijuana? What assurance can and will the administration give to state officials involved in the licensing of marijuana retailers that they will not face Federal criminal penalties for carrying out duties assigned to them under state law?

Legislative options exist to resolve the differences between Federal and state law in this area and end the uncertainty that residents of Colorado and Washington now face. One option would be to amend the Federal Controlled Substances Act to allow possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, at least in jurisdictions where it is legal under state law. In order to give these options full consideration, the Committee needs to understand how the administration intends to respond to the decision of the voters in Colorado and Washington. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this matter.


PATRICK LEAHY                                                   


U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary


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  1. Oh! Oh! Here we go!


  2. Do you know how Leahy got these scars? He went up against drug warriors. Don’t worry, as SOPA showed, he’ll submit to special interests soon enough.

    1. I heard he got those scars while high on tainted raw milk he consumed during a campaign stop to my parents’ neighbor’s farm.

    2. Barack Obama was a president…and a fiend. On marijuana policy he goes off, craazzzier than usual. So Washington and Colorado pick up the 10th to defend themselves and he doesn’t like that. Not. One. Bit. So, me watching, he takes the DEA to them, laughing while he does it. He turns to me and says “Why so serious?” He comes at me with the DEA. “Why so serious?” He sends the DEA to my front door. “Come on, let’s put a smile on that face.” Annnnnndddddd….why so serious?

  3. The senate’s first response? I could have sworn Rand Paul already made some remarks about this.

    1. He’s not a real Senator.

      1. Right. My mistake.

    2. It’s not an official letter to the grand poobah.

  4. Denver Drug Agent: Our Problems ‘Have Exploded’ With Pot Legalization

    No matter how regulated marijuana is, now that pot is legal in Colorado it will be hard to keep away from curious and unknowing kids, according to a member of a Denver-area drug task force.

    Of course, the article just passes this along breathlessly without an ounce of skepticism.

    1. a member of a Denver-area drug task force.

      Buggy whip manufacturers sympathize.

    2. I hope those kids never hear about alcohol, cigarettes, or sex. Can you imagine the carnage if those things were legal? Uh, wait…

    3. Because you’re doing such a great job of it now. Just wait until the dealers are forced to card kids.

  5. Bastard stole my scoop.

  6. “In a letter to Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske ”

    Larry, Moe and Kerlikowske. Woo WooWooWoo Woo!

  7. Hey, libertopians who despise incremental movement in the direction of liberty, because they don’t conform to a perfect ideal…

    Please explain how incrementalism is anti-liberty again.

    1. thanks to Barry for providing today’s straw man. Because everyone here believes the perfect can be achieved long before the good can.

      1. You apparently missed the Right to Work discussion, where it was clearly demonstrated that a number of people do believe this, or worse, that anything less than perfect is wrong. 🙂

        I’m a libertarian. I said “libertopians” and I was referring to someone with the counterproductive attitude displayed on that thread.

        1. and yet your comment smacks of broad brush. I would hope that the perfect crowd is not the majority.

          1. I sure hope so, too.

            My comment only smacks of a broad brush if you thought I referred to all libertarians as “libertopians.” I didn’t mean that, and I wouldn’t.

        2. CRIPPLE FIGHT!!!

  8. 1 oz isn’t going to allow for any legal commercial distribution. It will be quite difficult to cultivate 6 plants in Colorado with the weight of all that root and stem in a live plant pushing it over an ounce too.

    1. I may be wrong, but I think the law specifies “usable marijuana” for the plants. So 6 trees with no buds would be cool.

      How about Washington, where it’s still a felony to grow weed? They need a grow exception pronto.

      1. You can grow up to 6 plants for personal consumption. The one ounce limit is for posession. So if you get caught walking down the street with 2 oz in a ziplock bag you can still be arrested, but 1 oz or less is fine. Also I suspect that if you get pulled over and they find an ounce on your person, that will most likely be considered probable cause for suspicion of DUI.

        I think there’s still some TBD stuff wrt to commercial distribution and sale and how they’re going to regulate that. IIRC they have until January of 2014 to sort all that out, which means that we’ll have to wait until then before we’ll be able to walk into a commercial pot dispensary and purchase weed. But as of now you can grow up to six plants as long as you don’t sell it, and carry an ounce or less and not get arrested.

        As for when you can walk up to the president and blow smoke in his face and he’ll just have to sit there groovin’ on it, probably never.

        1. excellent ::tents fingers:: reference

    2. Safe harboring 1 ounce is certainly a step in the right direction, but the WODders do routinely weigh live plants and count the total weight for purposes of charging the offense.

      You need to be damn specific. And, of course, safe harboring possession leaves the black market intact, with all of its problems, so it doesn’t go nearly far enough.

    3. I’m curious about how this will be handled.

      Six good sturdy female plants can produce multiples of 1 ounce of quality bud.

      If you’ve got six plants that are not quite ready to harvest, can they arrest you because on those plants is more than 1 oz of “usable” marijuana?

      Will they count the leaves, too? I bet they will.

      So what does the six plants get you? How will that work? If you harvest your plants, do you have to throw away anything over the safe harbor amount?

      1. and six indoor plants != six outdoor plants

      2. The absurdity of it all is staggering. I have to believe that predominant human trait will always and forever be stupidity.

  9. The Honorable R. Gil Kerlikowske

    Honorable? I’m guessing Patrick Leahy has never actually met Gil Kerlikowske.

    1. The Honorable vile douchebag R. Gil Kerlikowske

      I guess you kinda have to have tact and whatnot to be a Senator though.

  10. Aren’t the feds devoting their resources to busting growers and distributors? How is it relevant to legalize low level possession by individuals?

    1. Having the law on the books gives the Federales a tool to use if they feel like putting the boot down a little harder.

      Amending the CSA takes away that tool.

      1. If they can’t charge a user, they can’t put the squeeze on the user to rat out his supplier.

        1. this is an excellent point I had not considered.

        2. They can still charge a user – if he has more than one ounce. Which fedgov can reach rather easily with its definitions of how stuff is weighed.

  11. Nice way to make Obama look like a jerk while making team red flip out.

  12. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this matter.

    I predict they will be something akin to “FYTY”.

  13. Leahy almost makes Stabenow and Levin seem….palatable.

    On second thought, no…

  14. The feds will never let go of enforcing pot because if the feds acknowledge a state’s right to regulate pot themselves it undermines the federal powers asserted under the commerce clause.

    Which would undermine just about everything the feds do, from the FDA to the TSA

  15. Fuck ’em all – all drugs should be completely decriminalized.

  16. all drugs should be completely decriminalized legalized

    Fixed if fer ya…

    1. all drugs should be completely decriminalized legalized subsidized.

      Next logical step.

      1. Of course the pot should be subsidized, cause it’s green!

  17. How about this: What goes on within the boundaries of Colorado and Washington State are none of your fucking business, Senator Cock Breath.

  18. Leahy offered up modifying the CSA

    What does that involve? Will that take a vote in Congress?

    1. It would involve a miracle.

      1. Yes, but would the miracle involve a vote in Congress? Because if it would, then the miracle is just not happening. The votes are not there, not even close, this would get at the most 30 votes in both houses combined. Because… the childins… *barf*

  19. Just short of 2 years ago I met a fellow who claimed to be a legal
    grower in southern Oregon. According to this person, the medical marijuana law in Oregon permits growers to grow 6 plants per each
    legal patient he represents, per year. No weight limit. He claimed
    that the yield per plant under his care was 5 lb. No way to know if true, but I thought it interesting.

  20. I dont know whats going on over there with that guy, I jsut dont know man.

  21. I don’t trust these cocksuckers. They’ll add gold (not Acapulco) to the list of controlled substances – but they’ll let you keep one ounce.

  22. earned that one “Sharon Levy” cares more for boot licking than the Hip sohbet odalar? & cinsel sohbet

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