U.S. Allows States to Legalize Recreational Marijuana Within Limits

In a move marijuana advocates hailed as an historic shift, the Obama administration on Thursday began giving U.S. states wide leeway to experiment with pot legalization and started by letting Colorado and Washington carry out new laws permitting recreational use.

The Justice Department said it would refocus marijuana enforcement nationwide by bringing criminal charges only in eight defined areas - such as distribution to minors - and giving breathing room to users, growers and related businesses that have feared prosecution.

The decisions end nearly a year of deliberation inside President Barack Obama's administration about how to react to the growing movement for relaxed U.S. marijuana laws.

Advocates for legalization welcomed the announcement as a major step toward ending what they called "marijuana prohibition."

"Today's announcement demonstrates the sort of political vision and foresight from the White House we've been seeking for a long time," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, an advocacy group.

"I must admit, I was expecting a yellow light from the White House," he said in a statement. "But this light looks a lot more green-ish than I had hoped. The White House is basically saying to Washington and Colorado: Proceed with caution."

- Read the entire article at The Toronto Sun.

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