Feds won’t overrule states on marijuana laws

posted at 12:15 pm on October 19, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

In a shocking move, the Obama administration has decided to embrace federalism.  Well, not really all that shocking, as the Department of Justice plans to reverse a Bush administration policy of enforcing federal marijuana laws in states that allow for medicinal use of the substance.  The decision, to be officially announced later today, will impact fourteen states that allow for the possession and distribution of marijuana under varying levels of medical supervision:

Federal drug agents won’t pursue pot-smoking patients or their sanctioned suppliers in states that allow medical marijuana, under new legal guidelines to be issued Monday by the Obama administration.

Two Justice Department officials described the new policy to The Associated Press, saying prosecutors will be told it is not a good use of their time to arrest people who use or provide medical marijuana in strict compliance with state law.

The guidelines to be issued by the department do, however, make it clear that agents will go after people whose marijuana distribution goes beyond what is permitted under state law or use medical marijuana as a cover for other crimes, the officials said.

The new policy is a significant departure from the Bush administration, which insisted it would continue to enforce federal anti-pot laws regardless of state codes.

Fourteen states allow some use of marijuana for medical purposes: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

If we could count on this as an indicator for a trend towards federalism in the Obama administration, I’d call it the best development since Election Day.  Unfortunately, this is as much an aberration in the official approach to federalism as Bush’s insistence on overruling state authorities was to Bush’s overall view on federalism during his term in office, as Michelle reminds us today.  It serves as a reminder that Washington DC only discovers federalism when they can either make money off of it or save themselves a headache by invoking it.

Nevertheless, this is still a good development.  Not only does this forgo the spending of massive amounts of money in these fourteen states, it serves as an acknowledgment that states have sovereign rights themselves, including the right to make decisions about the legality of intoxicating substances.  Unlike the 18th Amendment, which gave the federal government jurisdiction over alcohol use and distribution for a brief period of prohibition, the federal government only has the jurisdiction over marijuana when it moves across state lines or national borders, and its use on federal land.

That acknowledgment may serve us well in other debates, especially on health care.  After all, if the Department of Justice now admits that it does not have the authority to override states on marijuana practices, then what authority does it have to force Americans to buy health insurance, through exchanges or anywhere else?  Where does Congress derive the authority to demand that states create those exchanges in the first place?  It will be interesting indeed to watch the federal government throw people in jail for refusing to buy health insurance while taking a pass on prosecuting marijuana distributors in California and Arizona.

On the point of marijuana, it also holds some promise as the first step in reviewing the war on the herb that costs us billions of dollars and infringes on personal liberties while attempting to protect us from ourselves — and a product less lethal than alcohol.  Maybe we can finally have a rational debate on at least this front of the “war on drugs,” which has done more damage to federalism than Democrats or Republicans combined.

Madison Conservative doesn’t share my enthusiasm for this precedent.  Be sure to read his take in the Green Room.


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The old man grabbed me and said, “Hey, smoke up Johnny!”

Red Cloud on October 19, 2009 at 12:17 PM

This is actually a good move for conservatives.

Then: “We need to silence those right-wing domestic terrorists!”

Now: “Hey, why all the hostility, man? Be cool, those right-wingers are groovy in my book. Want some Doritos?”

Daggett on October 19, 2009 at 12:19 PM

But I still have to register my Sudafed purchases.

exception on October 19, 2009 at 12:19 PM

If we could count on this as an indicator for a trend towards federalism in the Obama administration, I’d call it the best development since Election Day.

Very funny Ed.

forest on October 19, 2009 at 12:20 PM

The old man grabbed me and said, “Hey, smoke up Johnny!”

Red Cloud on October 19, 2009 at 12:17 PM

Banner frickin’ year at the Bender house?

trubble on October 19, 2009 at 12:21 PM

Wait a second. I was always told every time you get high a kitten dies and goes to hell.

Have I been led astray?

The Calibur on October 19, 2009 at 12:21 PM

As I said in the headlines, there is nothing federalist about this. This is nothing but the feds selectively enforcing law. Holder admits as much when he states,

“but we will not tolerate drug traffickers who hide behind claims of compliance with state law to mask activities that are clearly illegal.”

The Feral government is just saying that they will pick and choose whatever they want to do, using state law to justify their moves, when it’s convenient, and not accepting state law (“hide behind claims of compliance with state law”) when they consider it inconvenient.

This is as far from federalism, or the general rule of law, as it gets.

progressoverpeace on October 19, 2009 at 12:21 PM

Of all the problems in this country, I don’t get the fuss over marijuana. I’ve never tried it, but there is no chemical addiction and I’ve never been robbed by potheads (crackheads – yes).

Keep the drunk/drugged driving standards and prosecute the hades out of anyone caught behind the wheel under the influence and let the rest of the country be.

Laura in Maryland on October 19, 2009 at 12:22 PM

Until the federal law is repealed, the Attorney General should enforce it. Sure, there is prosecutorial discretion in particular cases, but publicly announcing he won’t do what he took an oath to do in an entire category of cases is another matter.

Wethal on October 19, 2009 at 12:23 PM

Here we go with the great”gateway drug” debate again. Sigh…

loudmouth883 on October 19, 2009 at 12:23 PM

smoking pot = munchies = gaining weight = more taxes for ObamaCare

txag92 on October 19, 2009 at 12:23 PM

Anything to slow down the Obama administration.

faraway on October 19, 2009 at 12:23 PM

But I still have to register my Sudafed purchases.

exception on October 19, 2009 at 12:19 PM

…and we can’t give our little kids any cold medicine anymore. Thanks “liberals”.

Laura in Maryland on October 19, 2009 at 12:23 PM

As Michelle notes on her website… this is old news. AG Eric Holder announced it back in March.

Enoxo on October 19, 2009 at 12:24 PM

In a shocking move, the Obama administration has decided to embrace federalism.

ARHGHRHGHRHGHRGH. No. They haven’t.

This is not about federalism, it’s about resources.

Proud Rino on October 19, 2009 at 12:24 PM

smoking pot = munchies = gaining weight = more taxes for ObamaCare

txag92 on October 19, 2009 at 12:23 PM

TRUTH!

Laura in Maryland on October 19, 2009 at 12:24 PM

Reagan Administration: “Just Say No.”

Obama Administration: “Smoke’em if ya got’em.”

This is what happens when hippies procreate.

fogw on October 19, 2009 at 12:25 PM

I’m of the opinion it has nothing to do with federalism and everything to do with freeing up resources to address other priorities like the people on BO’s enemies list.

RagTag on October 19, 2009 at 12:25 PM

Think of all the new pot taxes available for ObamaCare.

faraway on October 19, 2009 at 12:25 PM

As someone with a close friend who is a cancer survivor, I cannot condemn this.

My friend was told by his doctor at one of the world’s leading cancer institutes to get his hands on some pot even though the doctor could not prescribe it.

It was horrible that my friend had to break the law to follow his doctor’s orders.

The relief from nausea and other chemo symptoms and the increase in appetite were worth it to him…but no one should have to go through what he went through to get that relief.

I’m actually with Obama on this one.

BlueStateBilly on October 19, 2009 at 12:26 PM

Rush just called this: “Don’t ask, don’t smell,” which is pretty darn clever, regardless of your own position.

notropis on October 19, 2009 at 12:26 PM

Until the federal law is repealed, the Attorney General should enforce it. Sure, there is prosecutorial discretion in particular cases, but publicly announcing he won’t do what he took an oath to do in an entire category of cases is another matter.

Wethal on October 19, 2009 at 12:23 PM

I seem to remember recently a bunch of AG’s throughout the country going on record saying they wont persue certain non-violent crimes due to budgetary concerns. Pretty much the same thing IMO. Even though all these people swear oaths, they seem to think they can break them anytime they want to.

Johnnyreb on October 19, 2009 at 12:28 PM

Reagan Administration: “Just Say No.”

fogw on October 19, 2009 at 12:25 PM

And look how well that worked out!

Proud Rino on October 19, 2009 at 12:30 PM

had to throw his hippy base a joint, err bone…

jp on October 19, 2009 at 12:30 PM

To me, it just means more people smoking (with the negative health effects) and more intoxicated people. Super. I recognize I’m in the minority on this.

brak on October 19, 2009 at 12:31 PM

Generally speaking, policy decisions to “not enforce some existing laws” don’t work out well.

Philosophically speaking, policy decisions to “not enforce some existing laws” weaken public respect for all existing laws.

Want to change the policy? Be honest and change the law. Personally, I thought “Raich” was wrongly decided, but Congress still has the power to change the pertinent federal laws, which would be the correct way to address the issue.

notropis on October 19, 2009 at 12:31 PM

Feds won’t overrule states on marijuana laws

Holder, the moron: “but we will not tolerate drug traffickers who hide behind claims of compliance with state law to mask activities that are clearly illegal.”

If people are in compliance with state law and operating within the state, then what does “illegal” mean, here?

This is not federalism. This is not even the Rule of Law.

progressoverpeace on October 19, 2009 at 12:31 PM

And look how well that worked out!

Proud Rino on October 19, 2009 at 12:30 PM

And your point is ………….

fogw on October 19, 2009 at 12:34 PM

progressoverpeace on October 19, 2009 at 12:31 PM

Yeah I explained this in the headlines thread too, but it helps to have common sense when reading this – Holder wasn’t writing a statute that is going to be interpreted by the courts, this is supposed to be a guideline for the DOJ. The fact that crazy people like yourself who believe the collapse of the United States is imminent can’t understand it doesn’t mean it’s upending the rule of law in the United States.

Proud Rino on October 19, 2009 at 12:35 PM

And your point is ………….

fogw on October 19, 2009 at 12:34 PM

Maybe you don’t want to be using Reagan as a great example of drug policy, when his drug policy didn’t work and led to more drug usage in the USA. Do you understand now, friend?

Proud Rino on October 19, 2009 at 12:36 PM

I think this is more Anti-Bush than pro-federalism or Pro-tax or pro-Hemp.

LincolntheHun on October 19, 2009 at 12:38 PM

Proud Rino on October 19, 2009 at 12:35 PM

Then answer what you ran away from in the headlines, what does “illegal” mean in:

“we will not tolerate drug traffickers who hide behind claims of compliance with state law to mask activities that are clearly illegal.”

Illegal with respect to what law? Not state law, as compliance with state law is the assumption in the statement. Try to not make too much of a fool of yourself in answering.

progressoverpeace on October 19, 2009 at 12:38 PM

Since Obama is a “former” cokehead, this isn’t exactly surprising.

I still remember in the long ago, like 2-3 years back, when the left was arguing that if you had used cocaine you should not be allowed to assume the office of the presidency.

18-1 on October 19, 2009 at 12:38 PM

I’m investing in Hostess and Betty Crocker; I’m going to be a rich, rich man.

Bishop on October 19, 2009 at 12:39 PM

Saw the link to the picture of O smoking his joint and you just have to wonder: who’s buying his dope for him now? I mean besides us. Who’s making the purchase for him? Are those cigarettes or something else? Just letting my imagination run away with me.

Driefromseattle on October 19, 2009 at 12:39 PM

brak on October 19, 2009 at 12:31 PM

Nah You’re just sober. Bit of a shock here but there it is…

LincolntheHun on October 19, 2009 at 12:40 PM

Then answer what you ran away from in the headlines, what does “illegal” mean in:

I ran away?

Proud Rino on October 19, 2009 at 12:40 PM

Smoke them if you got them

MyImamToldMeToDoIt on October 19, 2009 at 12:41 PM

I ran away?

Proud Rino on October 19, 2009 at 12:40 PM

Yes. And you’re still running. Answer the question. It’s not that difficult.

progressoverpeace on October 19, 2009 at 12:41 PM

Maybe you don’t want to be using Reagan as a great example of drug policy, when his drug policy didn’t work and led to more drug usage in the USA. Do you understand now, friend?

Proud Rino on October 19, 2009 at 12:36 PM

And you have evidence of this. You have hard evidence that as a driect result of Reagan’s “Just Say No” policy, drug usage increased.

Post some links, tard.

fogw on October 19, 2009 at 12:42 PM

well kiss my libertarian butt

John the Libertarian on October 19, 2009 at 12:42 PM

If Obama can order the government to ignore federal law, what’s to stop him from ordering them to ignore the parts of the Constitution he doesn’t like?

wildcat84 on October 19, 2009 at 12:42 PM

Wait a second. I was always told every time you get high a kitten dies and goes to hell.

Have I been led astray?

The Calibur on October 19, 2009 at 12:21 PM

That’s only if you inhale, silly!

Laura in Maryland on October 19, 2009 at 12:42 PM

Ed,

Stupid question here: why isn’t there a link to Michelle in the right-hand “Hot links”?

chimney sweep on October 19, 2009 at 12:43 PM

Saw the link to the picture of O smoking his joint and you just have to wonder: who’s buying his dope for him now? I mean besides us. Who’s making the purchase for him? Are those cigarettes or something else? Just letting my imagination run away with me.

Driefromseattle on October 19, 2009 at 12:39 PM

Remember when Geraldo staged his news story about buying drugs near the White House? I bet he and Obama had an awesome background interview…

At least now we know why he was so damn obsessed with finishing his waffle. “Hey Sweetie, can I get fritos on this waffle?”

18-1 on October 19, 2009 at 12:45 PM

Takeaway: The Feds are your friends when it comes to healthcare!

LibTired on October 19, 2009 at 12:45 PM

If Obama can order the government to ignore federal law, what’s to stop him from ordering them to ignore the parts of the Constitution he doesn’t like?

wildcat84 on October 19, 2009 at 12:42 PM

Well, he’s already done that at least a dozen times so…

18-1 on October 19, 2009 at 12:46 PM

Rush just called this: “Don’t ask, don’t smell,” which is pretty darn clever, regardless of your own position.

notropis on October 19, 2009 at 12:26 PM

I called it “don’t sniff, don’t smell” in the headlines.

Maquis on October 19, 2009 at 12:46 PM

Yes. And you’re still running. Answer the question. It’s not that difficult.

progressoverpeace on October 19, 2009 at 12:41 PM

I answered it. Can’t help ya if you’re too scared to look.

Proud Rino on October 19, 2009 at 12:46 PM

And you have evidence of this. You have hard evidence that as a driect result of Reagan’s “Just Say No” policy, drug usage increased.

Post some links, tard.

fogw on October 19, 2009 at 12:42 PM

Stay classy, friend.

http://www.alternet.org/drugreporter/18990/

Proud Rino on October 19, 2009 at 12:48 PM

Are those cigarettes or something else? Just letting my imagination run away with me.

Driefromseattle on October 19, 2009 at 12:39 PM

He was probably high and those cigs could be rolled up joints. His eyes in the other pictures have him looking sort of glassy.

nyx on October 19, 2009 at 12:48 PM

Post some links, tard.

fogw on October 19, 2009 at 12:42 PM

I’m waiting Rino.

Oh, that’s right, you made it up.

fogw on October 19, 2009 at 12:49 PM

Stay classy, friend.

http://www.alternet.org/drugreporter/18990/

Proud Rino on October 19, 2009 at 12:48 PM

I’m waiting Rino.

Oh, that’s right, you made it up.

fogw on October 19, 2009 at 12:49 PM

Proud Rino on October 19, 2009 at 12:50 PM

I answered it. Can’t help ya if you’re too scared to look.

Proud Rino on October 19, 2009 at 12:46 PM

I looked and it was no answer.

No law has been changed here, this question is about resources. So they’re not going to prosecute people who break the federal law when the state law protects them.

HOWEVER-

They are still going to prosecute people who try to use the state law as a “shield” for conducting what would be a more pernicious offense.

Proud Rino on October 19, 2009 at 12:28 PM

Let me explain this carefully (since you are slow): if someone is breaking a law, then that person is not hiding behind compliance, since he is BREAKING A LAW. Only a total moron, such as yourself, would think to talk about hiding behind compliance while breaking another law as if it meant anything.

Let me make this as simple as I possibly can (since you only think on the level of a 3rd grader):

If someone is in compliance with state law and operating within that state, what could possibly be “illegal”, let alone “clearly illegal” that the feral government would be interested in prosecuting, if they are claiming to defer to state law in this case?

Try and make sense, for once.

progressoverpeace on October 19, 2009 at 12:51 PM

Nevertheless, this is still a good development.

+1!

FloatingRock on October 19, 2009 at 12:54 PM

Stay classy, friend.

http://www.alternet.org/drugreporter/18990/

Proud Rino on October 19, 2009 at 12:48 PM

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

You linked to a web site that is advertising Noam Chomsky DVDs. What a frickin joke.

Fact is, Marijuana use fell statistically from 1980 to 1988 in all age classes. So did cocaine use. Care to guess when it spiked again? That’s right during the Clinton Years.

fogw on October 19, 2009 at 12:54 PM

Here we go with the great”gateway drug” debate again. Sigh…

loudmouth883 on October 19, 2009 at 12:23 PM

How about focusing on the fact that the current system doesn’t work with the feds applying different standards for different states. This is one of those everybody in the pool are everybody out instead of trying to enforce what essentially are different state standards.

And for the record, I’m against pretty much all the libertarian points put forth by potheads. It’s a drug. It impairs reflexes. It is not a harmless variant on smoking tobacco.

highhopes on October 19, 2009 at 12:55 PM

But I still have to register my Sudafed purchases.

exception on October 19, 2009 at 12:19 PM

Welcome to “Bizzarro World”…

JetBoy on October 19, 2009 at 12:55 PM

progressoverpeace on October 19, 2009 at 12:51 PM

Hey you took out some of the quote! How awesome and dishonest of you!

Like I have said multiple times, you have to read this using common sense, which apparently you lack. It’s not a statute, it’s a memo and it’s designed to provide guidelines for the DoJ. So while Holder is saying, “Don’t go after people who aren’t violating a state law with regard to medical marijuana,” he’s also saying, “But don’t let people use those laws as a pretext for violating other, more serious laws.”

Could it have been worded better? Sure, but since they’re dealing with mostly smart people, it’s not really a problem. Unfortunately, you got your hands on it and got stupid all over it!

That’s it. I’m not explaining it again.

Proud Rino on October 19, 2009 at 12:56 PM

It would be fun if, based on this ruling, someone did a poll to see the political affiliation of marijuana smokers. Libertarians aside, you’d expect the percentages of admitted pot smokers to skew towards the Democrats, which would explain the DOJ action far more than any sort of sudden love for federalist/libertarian philosophy by Eric Holder.

(Of course, motivating liberal Democratic marijuana smokers to go out and vote or become community organizers might be another thing entirely, especially once their burning plant of choice is legalized.)

jon1979 on October 19, 2009 at 12:57 PM

You linked to a web site that is advertising Noam Chomsky DVDs. What a frickin joke.

fogw on October 19, 2009 at 12:54 PM

That’s not an argument.

Proud Rino on October 19, 2009 at 12:58 PM

Too bad that same attitude didn’t apply to the Stimulus money. Remember the big ruckus raised because Gov Sanford and then Gov Palin were trying to turn down the money because of all the unfunded mandates in it?

I guess they figure if everybody will just mellow out on some pot all of sudden the national debt, healthcare, runaway spending and Muslim extremists just won’t seem so big.

Just A Grunt on October 19, 2009 at 12:59 PM

Keep the drunk/drugged driving standards and prosecute the hades out of anyone caught behind the wheel under the influence and let the rest of the country be.

Laura in Maryland on October 19, 2009 at 12:22 PM

Only the current testing forms don’t test whether someone is presently high.

Esthier on October 19, 2009 at 12:59 PM

Fact is, Marijuana use fell statistically from 1980 to 1988 in all age classes. So did cocaine use. Care to guess when it spiked again? That’s right during the Clinton Years.

fogw on October 19, 2009 at 12:54 PM

One can only conclude that voting Democrat causes one to become addicted to drugs. Just say no- vote Republican.

There needs to be a debate on the use of pot but snarky comments from libertarians declaring the drug an ‘herb that costs us billions of dollars and infringes on personal liberties while attempting to protect us from ourselves.’

If we are going to have a debate it needs to in an honest context not the strawman put forth by dopers. Put another
way, would you allow somebody who was smoking an “herb” all afternoon drive your kid home?

highhopes on October 19, 2009 at 1:00 PM

But I still have to register my Sudafed purchases.

exception on October 19, 2009 at 12:19 PM

Welcome to “Bizzarro World”…

JetBoy on October 19, 2009 at 12:55 PM

No, you have to register your Sudafed purchases because it’s really easy to make crystal meth with common household products and they’re trying to deter that. That’s not bizarre, that’s a good policy.

Proud Rino on October 19, 2009 at 1:00 PM

fogw on October 19, 2009 at 12:54 PM

Sure, but Noam Chomsky argues that numbers are only an illusion.

Facts will only seize your intellect and enslave you to an… oh never mind.

mankai on October 19, 2009 at 1:01 PM

That’s it. I’m not explaining it again.

Proud Rino on October 19, 2009 at 12:56 PM

LOL. You couldn’t even explain it once.

“But don’t let people use those laws as a pretext for violating other, more serious laws.” [your quotation of imagined words that Holder, a moron much like yourself, would say]

If they are breaking “other, more serious laws”, then what do the pot laws have to do with anything? Are you just nuts or are you really this stupid?

progressoverpeace on October 19, 2009 at 1:01 PM

It would be fun if, based on this ruling, someone did a poll to see the political affiliation of marijuana smokers. Libertarians aside, you’d expect the percentages of admitted pot smokers to skew towards the Democrats, which would explain the DOJ action far more than any sort of sudden love for federalist/libertarian philosophy by Eric Holder.

(Of course, motivating liberal Democratic marijuana smokers to go out and vote or become community organizers might be another thing entirely, especially once their burning plant of choice is legalized.)

jon1979 on October 19, 2009 at 12:57 PM

But wouldn’t that be more like the carbon/global warming argument, what came first? Wouldn’t it naturally be likely ythat the party most inclined toward legalization would have the most users?

LevStrauss on October 19, 2009 at 1:01 PM

Yup. Back in the \’80s mary jane was only for a few pathetic losers. Now we just have a lot more pathetic losers…

mcassill on October 19, 2009 at 1:02 PM

No, you have to register your Sudafed purchases because it’s really easy to make crystal meth with common household products and they’re trying to deter that. That’s not bizarre, that’s a good policy.

Proud Rino on October 19, 2009 at 1:00 PM

And a person can make a bomb with fertilizer or beauty supplies. Those don’t have to be registered. But if I want to get some relief for a runny nose, I have break out my drivers license.

It’s ridiculous.

JetBoy on October 19, 2009 at 1:02 PM

That’s not an argument.

Proud Rino on October 19, 2009 at 12:58 PM

Boy, I shut you up.

I win.

Oh, and you forgot to respond to this ….

Fact is, Marijuana use fell statistically from 1980 to 1988 in all age classes. So did cocaine use. Care to guess when it spiked again? That’s right during the Clinton Years.

You lose.

fogw on October 19, 2009 at 1:02 PM

Could it have been worded better?

Proud Rino on October 19, 2009 at 12:56 PM

How about “Executive Branch: enforce the laws as passed by the Legislative Branch”?

mankai on October 19, 2009 at 1:03 PM

If we are going to have a debate it needs to in an honest context not the strawman put forth by dopers. Put another
way, would you allow somebody who was smoking an “herb” all afternoon drive your kid home?

highhopes on October 19, 2009 at 1:00 PM

Ok, so you support taking someone’s freedom and sanctioning them with large fines for something less addictive than cigarettes and something that impair less than alcohol?

LevStrauss on October 19, 2009 at 1:04 PM

Bush’s prosecution of the sick was a period when the law was placed on a balance scale opposite justice on the other.

FloatingRock on October 19, 2009 at 1:04 PM

I don’t really think that Obooba is acknowledging federalism as much as he is pandering to pot heads.

I mean, really.

Akzed on October 19, 2009 at 1:04 PM

No, you have to register your Sudafed purchases because it’s really easy to make crystal meth with common household products and they’re trying to deter that. That’s not bizarre, that’s a good policy.

Proud Rino on October 19, 2009 at 1:00 PM

One box isn’t enough.

Esthier on October 19, 2009 at 1:04 PM

I know the pendulum needed to eventually swing back…pretending that marijuana use turns people into axe-murderers was pretty silly. But let’s not let the pendulum swing back so far as to create just as much silliness in the other direction. We can easily argue about government “saving ourselves from ourselves” and many other aspects of this bit of news and other related ones.

But could we please drop the business about pot being “safer” than alcohol? Smoking a joint a day puts you at risk of all the respiratory conditions that cigarettes do. Drinking a glass of wine a day can prevent a heart attack.

Both can be used (in my opinion) responsibly and both can be abused. It just weakens your argument a little when you make claims that are so patently false.

I can argue that the Government shouldn’t tell people that they can’t eat a Twinkie once in a while, but I won’t say that a Twinkie is less unhealthy than a Twizzler to try and make my point.

DrAllecon on October 19, 2009 at 1:05 PM

Now if Obama would ask Congress to repeal the laws, rather than selectively enforcing them, we’d have a winner.

The Monster on October 19, 2009 at 1:05 PM

Even though all these people swear oaths, they seem to think they can break them anytime they want to.

Johnnyreb on October 19, 2009 at 12:28 PM

I don’t see it as breaking anything.

I really don’t understand the people claiming this is unlawful, shirking responsibility or wrong.

Are you trying to say that a DOJ employee should refuse to take on an assignment because the dept has chosen to pursue certain types of crime?

Wouldn’t that employee then be doing the same thing by ignoring one crime in favor of another?

The opposition to this decision just escapes me. Many of us sit around harping about state rights and an overbearing federal authority and now that the feds are leaving it to the states people are harping on it being wrong and even criminal to do so.

I really don’t get it.

RagTag on October 19, 2009 at 1:07 PM

Both can be used (in my opinion) responsibly and both can be abused. It just weakens your argument a little when you make claims that are so patently false.

DrAllecon on October 19, 2009 at 1:05 PM

Completely agree.

Esthier on October 19, 2009 at 1:07 PM

Ok, so you support taking someone’s freedom and sanctioning them with large fines for something less addictive than cigarettes and something that impair less than alcohol?

LevStrauss on October 19, 2009 at 1:04 PM

Aha!

So when I was arguing that some were trying to frame pot-smoking as a “right” by them noting its use as a “liberty”… I was told a I was creating a straw man.

Smoking pot (drinking alcohol, etc.) is neither a “freedom” nor a “right.” I believe it should be left up to states and/or municipalities (judging by local norms)… but that is a legislative matter in the end. I have no problem with questioning the Constitutionality of the federal law under the 10th Amendment… but ONLY as a limited power issue NOT as a “right to smoke pot” (i.e. “freedom”) issue.

mankai on October 19, 2009 at 1:09 PM

“Department of Justice now admits that it does not have the authority to override states on marijuana practices”

If only. What they said was something else…they won’t bother to excercise their authority when state laws are being complied with strictly. They reserve the right to intervene when they themselves judge a grower or seller or prescriber or purchaser is not within its own definition of “strict compliance with state law”.

SarahW on October 19, 2009 at 1:09 PM

But I still have to register my Sudafed purchases.

exception on October 19, 2009 at 12:19 PM

Those supporting getting the feds out of pot use should be equally rabid about getting them out of the control of substances leading to meth production. After all, why should the state be concerned what a citizen does with medication? For that matter, what right to they have to mandate a legal drinking age?

highhopes on October 19, 2009 at 1:09 PM

I don’t understand the rationale for conservatives opposing federal marijuana laws. The arguments are specious at best, “It’s bad”, “It’s a gateway” but at least we’ve taken a step away from Reefer Madness. I live in Texas, where implications of enforcing this archaic legislation are on the news every day in the form of increasing death tolls.

If we are for freedom from national sovereignty, then we must be for it. The prejudice against marijuana is so deeply rooted as to be invisible to most advocates of prohibition. I don’t hear many people talking about what a great move for personal liberty the 18th amendment was. Instead, it’s a non -issue because, thankfully, we came to our senses and quickly passed the 21st amendment.

A fourteen year experiment is far too long, yet it pales in comparison to the 72 years that have drained since the repeal in 1937. What’s more strange is how the sides have lined up on this issue… the ones calling for freedom tend to hail from the left, while the loudest voices in opposition to repeal fill the aisles on the right.

It’s time for an intelligent conversation on this topic. Thank you for picking up on it, Ed.

realityunwound on October 19, 2009 at 1:11 PM

Holder is taking the Libertarians for a ride.

mankai on October 19, 2009 at 1:11 PM

Bush’s prosecution of the sick placed law on a balance scale opposite of justice…

With Bush’s thumb on the scale giving “law” adequate weight to overcome justice.

FloatingRock on October 19, 2009 at 1:11 PM

Ok, so you support taking someone’s freedom and sanctioning them with large fines for something less addictive than cigarettes and something that impair less than alcohol?

LevStrauss on October 19, 2009 at 1:04 PM

I do so long as it is against the law. You potheads want to legalize dope, change the law don’t demand that the laws get ignored. That is, BTW, not accepting your premise that pot is harmless.

highhopes on October 19, 2009 at 1:11 PM

Reading the comments would lead me to believe that pot just because legal and the fact is that it hasn’t. The feds dumped the whole thing into the states laps where there are laws against use. Why are people talking like there will be a head shop on every corner before the day is out?

RagTag on October 19, 2009 at 1:12 PM

They reserve the right to intervene when they themselves judge a grower or seller or prescriber or purchaser is not within its own definition of “strict compliance with state law” a supporter of Leftist causes

FIFY

The Monster on October 19, 2009 at 1:12 PM

Holder is taking the Libertarians for a ride.

mankai on October 19, 2009 at 1:11 PM

More like setting the table for turning the US into Amsterdam where the social costs of drug abuse are absorbed by the system. Fact of the matter is that pot should be as villified as cigarettes or any other unhealthy activities.

highhopes on October 19, 2009 at 1:13 PM

This Administration does whatever it wants to do or doesn’t do what it doesn’t want to do. The law means nothing to them. That is the issue here.

mankai on October 19, 2009 at 1:14 PM

It’s time for an intelligent conversation on this topic.

realityunwound on October 19, 2009 at 1:11 PM

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA

Newbie!

LincolntheHun on October 19, 2009 at 1:14 PM

Aha!

So when I was arguing that some were trying to frame pot-smoking as a “right” by them noting its use as a “liberty”… I was told a I was creating a straw man.

Smoking pot (drinking alcohol, etc.) is neither a “freedom” nor a “right.” I believe it should be left up to states and/or municipalities (judging by local norms)… but that is a legislative matter in the end. I have no problem with questioning the Constitutionality of the federal law under the 10th Amendment… but ONLY as a limited power issue NOT as a “right to smoke pot” (i.e. “freedom”) issue.

mankai on October 19, 2009 at 1:09 PM

No, you just misunderstood. When you put some in jail you are taking away their freedom. I wasn’t saying “take away their freedom to do X”. I meant taking away their freedom, period.

LevStrauss on October 19, 2009 at 1:14 PM

This is the only issue on which I agree with Obama. States should control drug policy. Remember the 10th amendment:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

scrubjay on October 19, 2009 at 1:14 PM

Alcohol is illegal in counties throughout the South.

It is a local issue.

There is no “right” to consume alcohol and there is no such thing as a “right” (freedom, liberty, etc.) to smoke pot if the local community sees its use as detrimental.

But until the federal law is either repealed or overturned, the Exec Branch has no choice but to enforce it.

mankai on October 19, 2009 at 1:17 PM

A fourteen year experiment is far too long, yet it pales in comparison to the 72 years that have drained since the repeal in 1937

That should be, “pales in comparison to the 72 years that have drained since the prohibition of marijuana in 1937.

Note to self: Read comments before posting.

realityunwound on October 19, 2009 at 1:17 PM

Note to self: Read comments before posting.

realityunwound on October 19, 2009 at 1:17 PM

…or put down the doobie.

;)

mankai on October 19, 2009 at 1:19 PM

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