Feds ease stance on marijuana

New Justice Department guidance gives Colorado some breathing room

A marijuana plant growing on national forest land near Winter Park ski area.

A marijuana plant growing on national forest land near Winter Park ski area.

By Bob Berwyn

*More Summit Voice coverage of marijuana laws is here

FRISCO — The U.S. Department of Justice will continue to walk a tightrope between federal and state drug laws, leaving some room for Colorado to administer legal use of marijuana, while reserving the right to prosecute violations of federal law.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and Washington Governor Jay Inslee to discuss the new federal position on state marijuana laws, following up with a letter that says in part, “As we discussed, while the Department will not at this time seek to challenge your state’s law, we will neverthess continue to enforce the Controlled Substances Act in your state.” Continue reading

Breckenridge: Council eyes medical marijuana tax

New federal government rules probably won’t affect town plans

Would Breckenridge voters approve a sales tax on medical marijuana?

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The Breckenridge Town Council will discuss a proposed ordinance that would levy a 5 percent sales tax on retail sales of medical marijuana starting Jan. 1, 2012. The tax could generate more than $40,000 annually for the town, but is subject to approval by voters under the TABOR amendment.

In a short memo council members, town attorney Tim Berry discussed the potential implications of a recent guidance memo from the U.S. Department of Justice, which appears to take aim at large-scale medical marijuana businesses.

Berry said he doesn’t think there’s been a wholesale shift in the federal government’s stance on state-regulated medical marijuana. But the last paragraph of the memo states that, “those who knowingly facilitate” businesses engaged in the cultivation, sale or distribution of medical marijuana may be subject to federal prosecution. Continue reading

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