(Aug. 29) – Assistant Majority Leader Dan Pabon said he was pleased by today’s news that the federal government will defer to the state of Colorado in its enforcement of legalized recreational marijuana.

“We drafted the most robust marijuana regulations in the country because public safety is our top priority,” said Rep. Pabon (D-Denver), who was chairman of the legislative select committee that drafted the regulations and sponsored one of the bipartisan bills that made them into law. “The feds’ action validates all our hard work to protect public safety, comply with the will of the people of Colorado and keep marijuana out of the hands of kids and criminals.”

By voting for Amendment 64 last November, the people of Colorado made marijuana use legal for adults in the state, and mandated the establishment of regulations controlling the marijuana industry beginning Jan. 1. But federal law still treats marijuana as an illegal drug, and until today’s announcement there was concern that federal authorities might arrest people who grow, buy, sell or consume marijuana in compliance with state laws, or even target those who enacted those laws.

Today, the federal Justice Department sent a memo to federal prosecutors saying they should not target marijuana users or marijuana businesses if they are in compliance with state laws that prevent sales to minors and out-of-state exports while keeping gangs and cartels out of the industry. The only states where sale and consumption of marijuana have been fully legalized are Colorado and Washington.

“Colorado’s regulations fully satisfy the Justice Department’s requirements,” Rep. Pabon said. “We will monitor enforcement of our laws and strengthen them if necessary to increase public safety.”

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