By Phillip Smith
Some 20 Colorado business organizations wrote a letter to US Attorney General Eric Holder last Friday urging him to enforce federal laws barring the sale and possession of marijuana. In doing so, the business groups are taking direct aim at the will of the voters, who passed Amendment 64 legalizing marijuana with 55% of the vote last month.
"Passage of Amendment 64 left considerable uncertainty for employers and business in Colorado with regard to their legal rights and obligations," the letter said. "We encourage enforcement of the [federal Controlled Substances Act] to provide the certainty and clarity of law we seek."
Amendment 64 legalizes the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and the cultivation of up to six plants by adults 21 and over. That part of the amendment will go into effect by January 5 at the latest. It also directs the state to craft a system of regulations for commercial marijuana cultivation and sales. The state has until October 2013 to complete that task.
Still, marijuana remains illegal under federal law, but the Justice Department headed by Holder has yet to signal how it will respond. The Obama administration initially backed off enforcing federal laws in medical marijuana states, but for the last two years has stepped up enforcement actions.
For Coloradans and others who want to know who is attempting to undercut the will of the voters and respond in an informed and appropriate manner, here is the complete list of signatory organizations:
- Colorado Concern
- Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance
- Associated Builders and Contractors -- Rocky Mountain Chapter
- Colorado Technology Association
- Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce
- Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce
- Greeley Chamber of Commerce
- Pueblo Chamber of Commerce
- Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance
- Northern Colorado Economic Development Corporation
- Upstate Colorado Economic Development Association
- Colorado Contractors Association
- International Electrical Contractors -- Rocky Mountain Chapter
- National Federation of Independent Business -- Colorado and Wyoming Chapter
- Club 20
- Loveland Chamber of Commerce
- Colorado Bankers Association
- Colorado Auto Recyclers Association
- Chrisland Commercial
- Douglas County Business Alliance