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Updated 6:35 p.m. | President Barack Obama appeared to come closer than ever to endorsing legal marijuana in an interview posted Monday by VICE News. Full story
Updated 5:26 p.m. | No, President Barack Obama isn’t about to evolve his stance on marijuana. At least not today, according to White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest at Wednesday’s briefing.
CQ Roll Call asked him about two recent developments — Attorney General Eric Holder telling CNN that he’s “cautiously optimistic” about the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington, and the hiring of ACLU lawyer Vanita Gupta, an advocate of legalizing marijuana and leading drug war critic, to head the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division.
“Should we take these as signals that the president is himself continuing to evolve on this issue?” Earnest was asked.
“No,” Earnest said. Full story
Updated 3:31 p.m. | The new nominee to head the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division — American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Vanita Gupta — has backed legalizing and taxing marijuana.
Updated 4:38 p.m. | After the last administration pick to head the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division collapsed on the Senate floor, the Obama team has lined up some conservative backing for its new choice, American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Vanita Gupta.
As the news of her appointment broke in The Washington Post, DOJ spokesman Brian Fallon tweeted out favorable quotes about Gupta from Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, and David Keene, the former president of the National Rifle Association.
Those are the kind of endorsements that will be needed to get approval for the pick — either from moderate Democrats who helped sink the previous choice, former NAACP lawyer Debo Adegbile — or from the GOP, which may control the Senate in January. Full story
The White House has a message for Congress — hands off the District of Columbia, including its new law decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana.
Buried in a broadly worded veto threat of the Financial Services appropriations bill, the administration said Monday it “strongly opposes” language restricting the District’s ability to spend its own money on a host of issues, including implementing marijuana policy and abortions.
“The Administration strongly opposes the language in the bill preventing the District from using its own local funds to carry out locally-passed marijuana policies, which again undermines the principles of States’ rights and of District home rule,” the administration said. “Furthermore, the language poses legal challenges to the Metropolitan Police Department’s enforcement of all marijuana laws currently in force in the District.” Full story