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Diana DeGette

The Spot newsletter: What happened during Colorado’s primary elections, a new Aurora mayor, train horn news, more drilling on public lands? and more

Welcome back to The Spot, where The Denver Post’s politics team captures what’s happening this week — from the Colorado legislature to Denver city hall, with a stop through the halls of Congress in Washington, D.C.

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The Spot newsletter: The final sprint to next week’s primary election, Denver Post governor’s race debates, an immigration uproar and much more

Welcome back to The Spot, where The Denver Post’s politics team captures what’s happening this week — from the Colorado legislature to Denver city hall, with a stop through the halls of Congress in Washington, D.C. Sign up for The Spot newsletter for a weekly rundown of Colorado politics. We are just days away from […]

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The Spot newsletter: Colorado legislative session ends with fireworks, a look at the state’s most competitive congressional race and a sad update on Aurora’s mayor

Welcome back to The Spot, where The Denver Post’s politics team captures what’s happening this week — from the Colorado legislature to Denver city hall, with a stop through the halls of Congress in Washington, D.C.

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Five things Colorado should know about Congress’ $1.3 trillion spending package

Congress this week passed a massive $1.3 trillion plan to fund the federal government through Sept. 30 and tucked into that 2,232-page measure — which President Donald Trump must sign to avoid a shutdown– are several provisions that will have an impact on Colorado.

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Colorado Rep. DeGette convenes delegation to respond to Sessions, advance federal marijuana protections

Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ rescission of the Cole Memo has brought together Colorado delegates with otherwise “widely divergent philosophies” to take action and plan future moves, Rep. Dianna DeGette said.

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Federal bills from Colorado legislators seek to shield state marijuana laws, open banking

Colorado federal lawmakers this week amplified efforts to protect state-enacted marijuana laws and cannabis businesses.

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After Historic President Obama May Be Ready to Examine Marijuana Reform

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Often a politician’s true feelings are not decipherable until after they no longer face the prospect of re-election.  While President Obama’s 2008 campaign included a progressive tone to the war on drugs and marijuana reform, his first term drifted away from those sentiments.  Federal raids on dispensaries have been at an all time high under President Obama, more so than the Clinton and Bush years combined.

While normally an elected official could risk paying a high price such misleading political statements, marijuana advocates were left with little choice as Republican challenger Mitt Romney stated that he would medical marijuana “tooth and nail”.  One year ago, sensible marijuana reform and all the hard work for 15 years seemed to seriously be at jeopardy.  Raids were underway in California and Newt Gingrich (who vowed to increase government efforts on the failed war on drugs) was the frontrunner for the GOP nomination.  While the atmosphere was starting to appear toxic, activists remained undeterred.  Groups such as Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (Colorado) and New Approach Washington were able expand awareness and help collect enough signatures to get legalization to the ballots.  The legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado seems to be a game changer

Elections clearly have winners, losers, and consequences.  The international community, especially our neighbors to the south have been calling on the United States to alter its approach to the War On Drugs.  The Obama administration seemed unmoved by the international pressure.  President Obama even sidestepped online forum questions on marijuana several times.  Through all of this many kept their fingers crossed that President Obama would take on a softer tone as he likely will never be running for public office again.  The second term is here and marijuana activists were thrown a bone recently.

Even as the media coverage is narrowly focused on the so called “fiscal cliff”, the president must have taken notice of what happened in the two now legal marijuana states as he felt compelled to comment on the issue last week.  He recently told Barbara Walters that “We’ve got bigger fish to fry,” Mr Obama said in a nationally televised interview. “It would not make sense for us to see a top priority as going after recreational users in states that have determined that it’s legal.”  He also went on to say that the Justice Department is researching how they can reconcile the differences between federal and state law.  The president does not even have to draft his own legislation as The Respect States’ and Citizens’ Rights Act of 2012 has already been introduced to congress.  The bill, which is sponsored by Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette, would amend the US Controlled Substances Act and prevent federal law from taking precedence over state law.

It remains to be seen what exactly President Obama will do in regards to marijuana reform.  Unlike previous politicians, President Obama has previously professed his love for marijuana in print.  In his 1995 memoir “Dreams from My Father,” the president stated that he smoked marijuana like Dr. Suess wrote about Green Eggs and Ham.  Here, there everywhere.  Other reports suggest he was part of a pot smoking group named “The Chrom Gang”.   This is not to say that he must be forever tied to his actions as a teen and college student.  However, for a president that had a personal love for marijuana, and now has first hand experience in the failings of the drug war, it should be expected that he try his very best to fix this mess.  While the future is unclear, it is encouraging that marijuana would even get any airtime as fiscal cliff coverage, the aftermath of the Newtown shooting, and a re-energized conversation on gun control is dominating the airwaves.

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