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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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

No we are having an argument on the legitimacy of the law itself. Should it even be a law? You are just retreating when I put the act of enforcement in plain language, which I though that was what you wanted when you talked about an honest discussion. I never said it was harmless, I just cited legal things that are more harmful. Then you assume that I am a user because I have issues about putting people in jail and fining them for use. You were the one who said that wanted to have an honest debate on the topic, yet it appears that you don’t by your actions.

LevStrauss on October 19, 2009 at 1:19 PM

Sorry Ed but your whole comment is a terrific reach IMHO.
Obama announce today they will officially do what every administration has done unofficially all along. Which is do pretty much squat about medical marijuana. A change in policy is not a change in law.

Obama is mollifying the left the same way Bush mollified the right with Raisch. Neither will actually do much to anyone not trafficking in large amounts.

Rocks on October 19, 2009 at 1:22 PM

The decision, to be officially announced later today, will impact fourteen states

It will effect every state that now has to deal with an influx of marijuana smuggling because of the increased production in the pot states.

Count to 10 on October 19, 2009 at 1:25 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

Guilt by association is a logical fallacy. Just FYI.

SirGawain on October 19, 2009 at 1:26 PM

the federal government only has the jurisdiction over marijuana when it moves across state lines or national borders, and its use on federal land.

As if narcotics don’t move across state lines? Give me a break.

Count to 10 on October 19, 2009 at 1:26 PM

I never said it was harmless, I just cited legal things that are more harmful.
LevStrauss on October 19, 2009 at 1:19 PM

.
Didn’t we all learn from the Brady Bunch that just because Greg is smoking cigarettes doesn’t mean Jan gets away with being a tattle tale?
.
You have fallen afoul of Brady logic and therefore your argument is null and void

LincolntheHun on October 19, 2009 at 1:27 PM

Good! This is one of the few (the only?) policies of Obama that really make good sense.

Tzetzes on October 19, 2009 at 1:27 PM

The pot heads abound.

Count to 10 on October 19, 2009 at 1:29 PM

You have fallen afoul of Brady logic and therefore your argument is null and void

LincolntheHun on October 19, 2009 at 1:27 PM

Cindy was the tattle tale, not Jan.

ladyingray on October 19, 2009 at 1:30 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.

highhopes on October 19, 2009 at 1:11 PM

Heh, nice logic.

“I only owned slaves because it was legal! I would be totally against it if someone would just change the law!”

SirGawain on October 19, 2009 at 1:30 PM

Good! This is one of the few (the only?) policies of Obama that really make good sense.

Tzetzes on October 19, 2009 at 1:27 PM

Not really it is like illegal immigration. Congress makes a law that some do not like and so they fob off enforcement to the states so they are not blamed but by “helping” the Feds prevent any real enforcement from occuring.

LincolntheHun on October 19, 2009 at 1:32 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

Can you remind me again what percentage of the Dutch population smokes weed?

SirGawain on October 19, 2009 at 1:32 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

…or put down pass the doobie.

fixed! don’t bogart that doob…

JetBoy on October 19, 2009 at 1:33 PM

If I wanted to fundamentally change America into a Marxist country, I would do whatever was necessary to subjegate the will of the American people.

kingsjester on October 19, 2009 at 1:33 PM

Didn’t we all learn from the Brady Bunch that just because Greg is smoking cigarettes doesn’t mean Jan gets away with being a tattle tale?
.
You have fallen afoul of Brady logic and therefore your argument is null and void

LincolntheHun on October 19, 2009 at 1:27 PM

No I am talking about some of the actual justifications, impairment and addictiveness, for the law, pointing out inconsistancies. You are trying to avoid the argument itself.

LevStrauss on October 19, 2009 at 1:36 PM

ladyingray on October 19, 2009 at 1:30 PM

Sure use facts to derail my argument! Just when I had LevStrauss in the crushing hand of Brady logic you sneak up and bop me on the head.
We need to present a united front not get bogged down in “who was hotter Mary-Ann or Ginger” details.
.
.
.
Ginger always go with the redhead

LincolntheHun on October 19, 2009 at 1:36 PM

No I am talking about some of the actual justifications, impairment and addictiveness, for the law, pointing out inconsistancies.
LevStrauss on October 19, 2009 at 1:36 PM

Laws are made by man and therefore sometimes inconsistent. Feel free to tilt at the windmills of “life is not fair”, and end up looking like Helen Thomas or use that fact to your advantage and lead a happier life.

LincolntheHun on October 19, 2009 at 1:40 PM

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

This mirrors the political posturing seen in California where medicinal marijuana dispensaries have rendered pot quasi-legal.

LA DA Trutanich, will seek prosecution against those med-pot-shops perceived to be in violation. Any dispensaries that are not non-profit or accept any cash transactions are reportedly illegal.

The Race Card on October 19, 2009 at 1:40 PM

God bless President Obama. These clinics are a needed boost to the inner-city economy during a depression. They are a fat receptacle of weed, and cash, and EVERY ONE OF THEM IN LOS ANGELES COUNTY has been burglarized at least once. Yes. We. Can.

Chris_Balsz on October 19, 2009 at 1:41 PM

…or put down the doobie.

What was I saying again? Oh yeah.

realityunwound on October 19, 2009 at 1:44 PM

Good. These drug laws are insane.

RWLA on October 19, 2009 at 1:44 PM

Laws are made by man and therefore sometimes inconsistent. Feel free to tilt at the windmills of “life is not fair”, and end up looking like Helen Thomas or use that fact to your advantage and lead a happier life.

LincolntheHun on October 19, 2009 at 1:40 PM

Well just because they are inconsistent, and you appear to believe they are in this case, isn’t a justification in and of itself. For many that would be an argument against. Really for the pro-criminalization side, at least in this thread, I am mainly seeing nothing but dodging, and people saying tough sh!t, that’s just the way it is, we will continue to throw nonviolent offenders in jail, tax them with large fines, with no basis other than that Racist Progressives in the earlier part of last century were able to pass a law.

LevStrauss on October 19, 2009 at 1:45 PM

My comment from the headline thread:

Its step one, admitting we have a problem, that’s the hardest. Today, Obama admitted we have a problem…namely, that federal marijuana laws are grossly out of step with the general consensus as well as the ideal that punishments must fit the crime. However, the correct way to deal with this problem is to repeal the laws through legislation.

ernesto on October 19, 2009 at 1:46 PM

I don’t like the idea that we are going to selectively enforce federal law based on state law.

Didn’t we have a big discussion on the subject circa 1861-1865? Didn’t we have further discussions on it during the 1950′s and 1960′s in the south?

If we don’t like the federal law then it should be repealed, that way with no federal laws the state laws can take precedent.

petertheslow on October 19, 2009 at 1:48 PM

FINALLY Obama does something I agree with. But not far enough…

cmon New Jersey

Libertarian Joseph on October 19, 2009 at 1:49 PM

If we don’t like the federal law then it should be repealed, that way with no federal laws the state laws can take precedent.

petertheslow on October 19, 2009 at 1:48 PM

That would be a good idea, though what is happening now is allows several states to get addicted to the revenue stream for weed in the same way they are addicted to lotto revenue. Eventually more states will look to weed revenue in order to raise funds for their constituents without having to increase taxes as much.

dedalus on October 19, 2009 at 1:54 PM

How on earth is this federalism? He didn’t concede the state’s rights to do as they please. He said the feds have better things to do at the moment. If he wants to be a federalist, repeal the law.

Ronnie on October 19, 2009 at 1:55 PM

We need more Federalism, especially on guns…

Tim Burton on October 19, 2009 at 1:55 PM

All I’m going to say is we have some talented people out there growing weed. They are very good at what they do. It is like cultivating a fine wine and is not easy to do it right. We have some Michelangelo’s of pot farmers right here in the US. We should celebrate that.

ThackerAgency on October 19, 2009 at 1:55 PM

“You potheads want to legalize dope, change the law don’t demand that the laws get ignored.”

Problems with your argument – not everyone who thinks this is appropriate policy is a “pothead”. Why you would assume that I do not know. It’s particularly cruel and unfair to sick persons deriving a medical benefit from its effects. State laws HAVE been changed to give access to a treatment to patients, under guidelines that control its use.

Federal prosecution of persons operating under those laws and in compliance with them is now, by policy, not going to be a priority of the Federal government. I approve of them directing resources to illegal behavior of greater concern, since enforcement is an encroachment on states rights, and enforcement hurts persons who are not scofflaws, drug abusers, or “potheads”, but persons who rely on the advice of their doctor.

There are many medical treatments that carry risk, but for which any given individual the benefits derived may exceed the risk. To argue that marijuana must necessarily be “harmless” or risk free before it can be considered medically useful, is perfectly illogical.

SarahW on October 19, 2009 at 1:56 PM

I’ll never understand why people who hold themselves as conservative and opposed to big government then support governmental intrusion into recreational intoxication, and support a massive government/law enforcement infrastructure to enforce the same.

Liberty is our right, and it applies to getting wasted as much as it applies to guns, sex, rock ‘n roll, cigarettes, and riding without a helmet. If you want government guaranteed safety at all times, go set up the nanny state of your dreams elsewhere.

As Libertarian Joseph said above, this is one step the O admin has taken in the right direction … it just isn’t a big enough step.

Barneys Bullet on October 19, 2009 at 1:57 PM

The pot heads abound. Count to 10 on October 19, 2009

You sound like one of Alinsky’s boys… dodging arguments and marginalizing the opposition… ad hominem style.

One question (in 2 parts) How is the federal prohibition of marijuana in keeping with the conservative principle of a limited federal government and where is it a constitutionally derived right of the federal government?

The argument isn’t about pot, it’s about freedom to influence how their state operates.

All the tangents into the intellectual capacity and attention span of “dopers” (really?) sounds like a sudden onset of short-attention-span theater.

Wait a tick… me thinks thou dost protest too much Count to 10.

realityunwound on October 19, 2009 at 1:58 PM

All I’m going to say is we have some talented people out there growing weed. They are very good at what they do. It is like cultivating a fine wine and is not easy to do it right. We have some Michelangelo’s of pot farmers right here in the US. We should celebrate that.

ThackerAgency on October 19, 2009 at 1:55 PM

Yeah, cause if there’s one thing potheads are known for, it’s quality control.

Ronnie on October 19, 2009 at 1:58 PM

No we are having an argument on the legitimacy of the law itself. Should it even be a law?

LevStrauss on October 19, 2009 at 1:19 PM

The fact of the matter is that it is the law. The DOJ has decided that the states can ignore the law if they want to. What should happen here is that the feds enforce their own law or Congress repeals the prohibition on pot and those of your ilk can puff away until you become as stupid as Bevis or Butthead.

Fact of the matter is that pot is not a harmless drug. I’ve seen the life seep out of individuals who were so caught up in smoking this “herb” that they were human shells without anything inside. For this reason alone, I will never back the positions you put forth. Toke all you want but don’t expect me to advocate the legitimization of your habit off of a bogus libertarian talking point.

highhopes on October 19, 2009 at 1:58 PM

I’m so glad that Obama is making marijuana more available to people while simultaneously telling people they can’t smoke flavored cigarettes because they appeal to kids who can’t buy them anyway.

MadisonConservative on October 19, 2009 at 1:58 PM

Legalize the stuff.

Tax it, and take some of the pressure off of the American taxpayer.

A whole new domestic industry that the government can control, with the Commander and Pot Head testing each crop.

Hening on October 19, 2009 at 2:00 PM

highhopes on October 19, 2009 at 1:58 PM

Is the executive branch afforded no discretion whatsoever when it comes to enforcement? If not, what are the precedents?

Without getting too bent out of shape – or bringing up the irrelevant physical effects of the drug – is it possible that there’s more to the DOJ’s actions than the rather emotional argument you’ve put forth?

ernesto on October 19, 2009 at 2:01 PM

Yeah, cause if there’s one thing potheads are known for, it’s quality control.

Ronnie on October 19, 2009 at 1:58 PM

To do it right, it can’t be a matter of ‘quality control’. . . it is a labor of love. Seriously, they take VERY VERY good care of these plants (apparently). I wish I could do it but there’s no way because it is too hard and tedious. As I said, it is a talent.

ThackerAgency on October 19, 2009 at 2:02 PM

There are many medical treatments that carry risk, but for which any given individual the benefits derived may exceed the risk. To argue that marijuana must necessarily be “harmless” or risk free before it can be considered medically useful, is perfectly illogical.

SarahW on October 19, 2009 at 1:56 PM

Yeah, on the medical aspect, if “harmless” was guideline, most conventional medicines would not meet it, thus the 3 minutes of side effects in almost all pharmaceutical commercials.

LevStrauss on October 19, 2009 at 2:04 PM

I suspect a number of the libertarian types here will support this move without having too much allegiance to State sovereignty. After all, what percentage of Hot Air readers oppose the incorporation of the Bill of Rights into the Fourteenth Amendment to be applied against the States? (I’d estimate 10% tops.) So what’s the difference between interference by the executive branch versus the judicial branch?

For my part, I have mixed feelings on this latest news. Sure, on its face, these State laws do not involve “commerce” except under the more expansive readings of the Commerce Clause (and I’m not buying President Obama as a conservative on this count, either, by the way). In practice, though, would anyone deny that this will perpetuate–if only to a small degree–the sale/transport of “medical marijuana” from these States to those in which there is no such provision?

If you’re an honest libertarian type (and most of you are, of course!), you’ll at least say, “Well yeah–so what?” Others among us are less inclined to undermine the rule of law in several States for the sake of advancing the pro-marijuana cause. And I’m certainly tired of Americans adopting a self-serving or self-gratifying mentality–the very same mentality which leads to non-taxpayers (now a near majority) extorting money from their neighbors.

cackcon on October 19, 2009 at 2:05 PM

highhopes on October 19, 2009 at 1:58 PM

Just curious, where do you stand on alcohol?

LevStrauss on October 19, 2009 at 2:06 PM

Eventually more states will look to weed revenue in order to raise funds for their constituents without having to increase taxes as much. dedalus on October 19, 2009″

Full disclosure: I’m 33 years old, and a former marijuana smoker.

I attended both a small, conservative, Christian university and a large public university. Both were in the heart of south-central Texas, well within the confines of the Bible belt. The reality is, when I wanted it, I had no problem finding someone to smoke with.

The number of people as a percentage of the population who have smoked marijuana goes up every day. It goes up more significantly as a generation passes away. Three consecutive Presidents have admitted to smoking pot (well, Clinton almost did) and they were elected, while Crown Prince Obama and Bush were known to sample harder wares.

The attitude toward recreational use of marijuana is changing. Those forward thinking states who are ahead of the curve in collecting revenue are the heroic state entrepreneurs of America.

I never thought I’d say it, but we should all be more like California in this regard.

realityunwound on October 19, 2009 at 2:07 PM

I’ve seen the life seep out of individuals who were so caught up in smoking this “herb” that they were human shells without anything inside. For this reason alone, I will never back the positions you put forth. – highhopes o

So it’s OK for the nanny state to legislate weed because anecdotally you’ve seen someone smoke themselves stupid? I know a guy who destroyed his family over an addiction to cough syrup. Should we add that to the list of registered offenses?

Don’t lose focus here… this isn’t about whether weed is good or bad… this is about federalism, freedom, and the reach of the Federal government in relation to states rights.

Focus with me for more than 10 seconds. This is starting to feel like a stoner convention with all the rabbit trails.

realityunwound on October 19, 2009 at 2:11 PM

Fact of the matter is that pot is not a harmless drug. I’ve seen the life seep out of individuals who were so caught up in smoking this “herb” that they were human shells without anything inside.

highhopes on October 19, 2009 at 1:58 PM

Fact of the matter is that pot can be a harmless drug. I’ve known people who used it semi-regularly with no ill effects. Their grades didn’t suffer, their relationships didn’t deteriorate. Like a gun, pot is only as harmful as the person using it.

MadisonConservative on October 19, 2009 at 2:13 PM

I’ve seen the life seep out of individuals who were so caught up in smoking this “herb” that they were human shells without anything inside. For this reason alone, I will never back the positions you put forth. – highhopes

Then admit that you hold an unprincipled position, and leave those who wish to discuss the policy in a realistic way to our their own devices.

ernesto on October 19, 2009 at 2:13 PM

realityunwound on October 19, 2009 at 2:11 PM

Well actually in highhopes defense we were arguing the law itself.

LevStrauss on October 19, 2009 at 2:13 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

Post some links, tard.

JohnGalt23 on October 19, 2009 at 2:14 PM

realityunwound on October 19, 2009 at 1:58 PM

The sale of addictive narcotics is a violation of the rights of those tricked into buying them. Outlawing them is no different than outlawing slavery.
There is no freedom in narcotics.

Count to 10 on October 19, 2009 at 2:14 PM

Fact of the matter is that pot can be a harmless drug. I’ve known people who used it semi-regularly with no ill effects. Their grades didn’t suffer, their relationships didn’t deteriorate. Like a gun, pot is only as harmful as the person using it.

MadisonConservative on October 19, 2009 at 2:13 PM

I would suggest that you were not looking close enough.

Count to 10 on October 19, 2009 at 2:17 PM

The attitude toward recreational use of marijuana is changing. Those forward thinking states who are ahead of the curve in collecting revenue are the heroic state entrepreneurs of America.

I never thought I’d say it, but we should all be more like California in this regard.

realityunwound on October 19, 2009 at 2:07 PM

Yes, which is exactly what the Left hopes to hear from you. This type of approach to the regulation of marijuana pretty much ensures that other States will go the way of California. By the same token, SCOTUS rulings have measured a “consensus” on other issues (usually based on a survey of California and other left-leaning States) in order to enforce their preferred position on conservative-leaning States (see, e.g., Eighth Amendment law). And with the so-called “spending powers,” Congress has long bribed States into following its preferred policy stances.

To sum up: the federal government controls the reigns, and the States must follow suit. Here, President Obama has realized, quite shrewdly, that he can give deference to “federalism” while undermining the anti-marijuana States at the same time. And yet you guys buy it, hook and sinker. Amazing.

cackcon on October 19, 2009 at 2:17 PM

First good thing Obama has done!

jsunrise on October 19, 2009 at 2:18 PM

Count to 10 on October 19, 2009 at 2:14 PM

Nanny stater. You’re no different than a liberal. I vote for freedom

Libertarian Joseph on October 19, 2009 at 2:19 PM

The sale of addictive narcotics is a violation of the rights of those tricked into buying them. Outlawing them is no different than outlawing slavery.
There is no freedom in narcotics.

Count to 10 on October 19, 2009 at 2:14 PM

Assuming people weren’t physically forced into slavery, but became addicted to it, and voluntarily continually pursued it.

dedalus on October 19, 2009 at 2:19 PM

we were arguing the law itself. LevStrauss on October 19, 2009 at 2:13 PM

If you mean that you are arguing the language of the “Marihuana act of 1937,” it’s hardly a bastion of rock-solid scientific and firm logical reasoning. It basically amounted to, “I think some mexicans and puerto rican’s smoked some and went totally crazy!” Which was answered with the fair and balanced, “Yeah, and one time, these two kids smoked a marijuana cigarette and had sex. Is that what you want for your kids?”

The bill passed. Here we are. Can we talk about freedom now?

realityunwound on October 19, 2009 at 2:20 PM

I would suggest that you were not looking close enough.

Count to 10 on October 19, 2009 at 2:17 PM

Wait…you’re suggesting you know people, that you’ve never met, and I’ve known for years…better than I do?

I guess that goes right along with you knowing what’s best for everyone. You know, like liberals.

MadisonConservative on October 19, 2009 at 2:20 PM

Nanny stater. You’re no different than a liberal. I vote for freedom

Libertarian Joseph on October 19, 2009 at 2:19 PM

You vote for slavery to a weed and the man that grows it.

Count to 10 on October 19, 2009 at 2:21 PM

The sale of addictive narcotics is a violation of the rights of those tricked into buying them.

Ah, so you support heavily regulated industry so that no one is ever tricked by advertising. I mean, if you’re consistent. Which I’m sure you’re not.

Outlawing them is no different than outlawing slavery.

Count to 10 on October 19, 2009 at 2:14 PM

WOW. I dare you to tell that to a descendant of a slave sometime.

MadisonConservative on October 19, 2009 at 2:22 PM

“President Barak Hussein Obama”

spells

“I am Satans Pinko Rehabbed User”

rocinaterider on October 19, 2009 at 2:22 PM

The bill passed. Here we are. Can we talk about freedom now?

realityunwound on October 19, 2009 at 2:20 PM

That was my side of the argument. I was just stating that me and highopes were not talking about the federalism aspect when were were going back and forth. I was just trying to add context.

LevStrauss on October 19, 2009 at 2:23 PM

It will effect every state that now has to deal with an influx of marijuana smuggling because of the increased production in the pot states.

Count to 10 on October 19, 2009 at 1:25 PM

I sincerely doubt most other states get their pot from medicinal pot places.

I wish I could do it but there’s no way because it is too hard and tedious. As I said, it is a talent.

ThackerAgency on October 19, 2009 at 2:02 PM

I still disagree with this. Pot is a weed. It’s really not that hard. Kids grow it in their closets, and various methods are posted all over the Internet.

Esthier on October 19, 2009 at 2:23 PM

Count to 10 on October 19, 2009

I’m not arguing whether or not weed or narcotics are dangerous. I’m arguing against the federal governments constitutional authority to tell me that I can’t…

This sounds like it’s close to you for some reason, and I understand. For consistency sake, then, we should go all the way and outlaw all forms of alcohol (my grandfather drank himself to death) and tobacco (I have an uncle and a grandmother who died of lip and lung cancer respectively).

Are you prepared to outlaw anything that might be addictive? That’s a long hard fight that I can’t join you in, whether or not I agree with your perspective on the substance.

realityunwound on October 19, 2009 at 2:24 PM

Would that all conservatives embraced the principle of individual freedom.

beatcanvas on October 19, 2009 at 2:24 PM

You vote for slavery to a weed and the man that grows it.

Count to 10 on October 19, 2009 at 2:21 PM

Weed is not a narcotic. It is not addictive. It is habit forming in the same way McDonalds is to some. It has no physical withdrawal symptoms, unlike the perfectly legal alcohol, whose withdrawal alone can in fact end your life. This is not to speak of the myriad prescription drugs, painkillers, sleep aids, anti anxiety, etc. that are also actually addictive.

You make an emotional, unfounded appeal. Criminal law can’t be made on these appeals alone.

ernesto on October 19, 2009 at 2:24 PM

Assuming people weren’t physically forced into slavery, but became addicted to it, and voluntarily continually pursued it.

dedalus on October 19, 2009 at 2:19 PM

A distinction without a difference.
Just like the soon-to-be slaves don’t recognize the risks of the behaviors that lead to their enslavement, addicts don’t really believe that they will be addicted.

Count to 10 on October 19, 2009 at 2:27 PM

DrAllecon on October 19, 2009 at 1:05 PM

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.

You know what else weakens your argument? Using false comparisons, like “1 joint/day = 1 drink/day”.

Smoking one joint a day is more like drinking a twelve pack each day. One joint is usually between 0.5 and 1.0 grams (unless, in the words of Jim Morrisson, you roll East Coast joints). Someone smoking 1 gram of cannabis per day has a very heavy habit. Most cannabis users are smoking around 0.1 grams per day, and most are not using every day.

Second, while under prohibition smoking cannabis is the preferred method of use, there are much safer ways of delivering THC (most notably ingesting cannabis resin) which, absent prohibition, would likely become far more popular than they are now.

Third, prohibitionists like to look at the health benefits of alcohol at the low end of the scale (which are doubtful at best), yet ignore the extreme health risks associated with heavy use, risks that simply do not exist with the heavy use of cannabis. Heavy cannabis users are not dying of liver failure like alcoholics do.

Cannabis use is hardly risk free. But the risks of use of cannabis simply do not compare with those of alcohol.

JohnGalt23 on October 19, 2009 at 2:27 PM

Weed is not a narcotic. It is not addictive. It is habit forming in the same way McDonalds is to some. It has no physical withdrawal symptoms, unlike the perfectly legal alcohol, whose withdrawal alone can in fact end your life. This is not to speak of the myriad prescription drugs, painkillers, sleep aids, anti anxiety, etc. that are also actually addictive.

You make an emotional, unfounded appeal. Criminal law can’t be made on these appeals alone.

Excellent post, thank you! I second every word.

BlueStateBilly on October 19, 2009 at 2:28 PM

cackcon on October 19, 2009 at 2:17 PM

False.

What the left has done is illustrate an intelligent stance on a divisive issue. I’m not saying weed ought to be legal. I’m saying the states ought to have the right to choose.

I may not understand what you’re saying, but good sense is good sense, even if it’s from a bad bank. Just because a particular piece of bad legislation happens to be a very old and very political piece of bad legislation is no good reason to degenerate into nanny state-ism just because California’s done it. I would equally applaud a state that puts it to a vote and keeps all current weed prohibition as it is.

Once again… the issue is freedom. Not weed.

realityunwound on October 19, 2009 at 2:28 PM

ernesto on October 19, 2009 at 2:24 PM

Where do you get the idea that it isn’t addictive? More importantly, though, it has much more damaging long term effects than most narcotics, which are effectively permanent.

Count to 10 on October 19, 2009 at 2:29 PM

JohnGalt23 on October 19, 2009 at 2:27 PM

For the record, an East Coast Joint is .2-.3 tops. But of real weed, not dirt, so the difference in THC may be irrelevant ;-)

ernesto on October 19, 2009 at 2:29 PM

You vote for slavery to a weed and the man that grows it.

Count to 10 on October 19, 2009 at 2:21 PM

I respect you, but you’re really taking this too far. It can be addictive and can be a serious crutch for people and can be a detriment, but it’s not a slave owner.

Esthier on October 19, 2009 at 2:29 PM

This is simply a way of gauging how the public respond to this medical marijuana deal since there is a bill already in Congres set to make marijuana legal. I covered this a few months back when the “all wee-weed up” comment was made which I think was his “slip of the tongue” at the moment he said it that told a bigger story behind the slip up.

Kokonut on October 19, 2009 at 2:33 PM

Where do you get the idea that it isn’t addictive?

Thats not an idea, it simply doesn’t fit the medical definition. Addictive implies physical withdrawal in the event you don’t get your fix. Habit forming is the mental equivalent, but is not the same as addictive.

More importantly, though, it has much more damaging long term effects than most narcotics, which are effectively permanent.

Count to 10 on October 19, 2009 at 2:29 PM

This is simply untrue, twofold. There is no permanent damage caused by taking in THC. None whatsoever. And besides, even over the counter narcotics and other drugs can do permanent damage to your liver or other organs.
Either way the physical effects are irrelevant, unless of course you wish to banish all prescription drugs with habit forming tendency. In which case, you’re crazy.

ernesto on October 19, 2009 at 2:33 PM

It is habit forming in the same way McDonalds is to some. It has no physical withdrawal symptoms, unlike the perfectly legal alcohol, whose withdrawal alone can in fact end your life.

ernesto on October 19, 2009 at 2:24 PM

It’s true that alcohol withdrawal can kill you, but it’s not true that pot has no withdrawal effects. They’re minor, sure, but they do exist. And it’s mentally addictive the same way cigarettes are. To compare it to McDonald’s is to be too dismissive.

Heavy cannabis users are not dying of liver failure like alcoholics do.

JohnGalt23 on October 19, 2009 at 2:27 PM

No, but their lungs aren’t much cleaner than their pipes.

Serious pot users are generally healthier than serious drinkers. But a drink a day drinkers are far healthier than a hit a day pot smokers.

Esthier on October 19, 2009 at 2:34 PM

A distinction without a difference.
Just like the soon-to-be slaves don’t recognize the risks of the behaviors that lead to their enslavement, addicts don’t really believe that they will be addicted.

Count to 10 on October 19, 2009 at 2:27 PM

In America slavery was forced on someone based on their birth or capture in Africa. There is a distinction and difference between self-imposed addiction and chains applied with physical force coupled with a legal system that prevented freedom.

Liquor, cigarettes, TV and trans fats ruin a lot of lives. We can rely on the government or let people participate in the market and be self-reliant.

dedalus on October 19, 2009 at 2:35 PM

All I’m going to say is we have some talented people out there growing weed. They are very good at what they do. It is like cultivating a fine wine and is not easy to do it right. We have some Michelangelo’s of pot farmers right here in the US. We should celebrate that.

ThackerAgency on October 19, 2009 at 1:55 PM

Okay, this explains soooooo much.

Laura in Maryland on October 19, 2009 at 2:37 PM

I still disagree with this. Pot is a weed. It’s really not that hard. Kids grow it in their closets, and various methods are posted all over the Internet.

Esthier on October 19, 2009 at 2:23 PM

Yeah, lots of people grow it, but they grow CRAP! There are people who know how to do it really well and it makes a difference.

We should legalize pot and make it a big export (like oil). The US can be synonymous with Designer High Quality Weed. We are already world famous for our tobacco.

Swap tobacco fields for weed fields and milk the cow all the way to Georgia!

ThackerAgency on October 19, 2009 at 2:37 PM

Yeah, cause if there’s one thing potheads are known for, it’s quality control.

Ronnie on October 19, 2009 at 1:58 PM

Reminds me of an article I read a long time ago. The article was a weepy story about some drug dealer who got busted and was finding it hard to go straight after prison because of the stigma attached to selling something that everybody uses anyway and how unfair that he couldn’t catch a break. One of his tactics was to be out there selling himself as an entreprenuer who had run a million dollar enterprise.

highhopes on October 19, 2009 at 2:38 PM

There’s nothing more to say that hasn’t already been said.

elderberry on October 19, 2009 at 2:38 PM

F

or the record, an East Coast Joint is .2-.3 tops. But of real weed, not dirt, so the difference in THC may be irrelevant ;-)

ernesto on October 19, 2009 at 2:29 PM

Ajoint that consists of only 0.2 grams?!?!

How can your fingers even wrap something that small?

JohnGalt23 on October 19, 2009 at 2:39 PM

Esthier on October 19, 2009 at 2:34 PM

Cigarettes are physically addictive, or rather, nicotine is physically addictive. THC withdrawal simply doesn’t have consistent physical withdrawal symptoms. Thats not to say it isnt habit forming, it most certainly is, and probably more so than McDonalds; but the actual difference between addictive and habit forming is substantial, and must be substantial, to the debate on the law.

ernesto on October 19, 2009 at 2:39 PM

It can be addictive and can be a serious crutch for people and can be a detriment -Esthier on October 19

See also “recreation” “work” “power” “fame” “money” “extreme sports” etc etc etc…

It’s not addictive. I would put my tendency toward addiction up against pretty much anyone in the galaxy. I would also put the volume of weed I smoked in a 7 year period up against most.

However, I would put the number of times that I tried to quit and “couldn’t” (0) and the number of withdrawal symptoms I experienced (0; and I should recognized them, having successfully quit smoking, drinking, dipping, etc long after I easily put down the weed) in a category with substances like gum balls, baseball cards, and wearing a baseball hat.

Habit forming is a much different animal than addiction. Habit forming means that I think, “I’d like to smoke a joint while I listen to this song like I used to,” while withdrawal means that I shake violently, get headaches, extreme irritability, weight gain/loss, etc. Very different.

As for things being a detriment… my wife considers Hot Air a detriment to our marriage b/c of all the time I spend here. I’m not ready to outlaw her yet.

realityunwound on October 19, 2009 at 2:40 PM

JohnGalt23 on October 19, 2009 at 2:39 PM

Thats why we roll blunts on the east coast :D

ernesto on October 19, 2009 at 2:40 PM

the war on the herb

Hippie!! Filthy, pot-smoking hippie!! Ed’s a hippie!

misterpeasea on October 19, 2009 at 2:40 PM

It’s true that alcohol withdrawal can kill you, but it’s not true that pot has no withdrawal effects. They’re minor, sure, but they do exist. And it’s mentally addictive the same way cigarettes are. To compare it to McDonald’s is to be too dismissive.

Esthier on October 19, 2009 at 2:34 PM

You could say the same about caffeine. I’m pretty sure there’s no change of that being outlawed.

MadisonConservative on October 19, 2009 at 2:41 PM

I would suggest that you were not looking close enough.

Count to 10 on October 19, 2009 at 2:17 PM

I would suggest you take Madison at his word that he knows the people he’s talking about.

I, too, have met burnouts and met high functioning smokers (haha). Think of it as a spectrum.

Never liked the stuff, myself. Tooooooooooooo sloooooooowwww.

Diane on October 19, 2009 at 2:41 PM

Then admit that you hold an unprincipled position, and leave those who wish to discuss the policy in a realistic way to our their own devices.

ernesto on October 19, 2009 at 2:13 PM

Because I am not drooling at the concept of legalizing pot, I’ve got an unprincipled position? Gimme a break. Better yet, pass whatever it is that you’re smoking.

highhopes on October 19, 2009 at 2:42 PM

MadisonConservative on October 19, 2009 at 2:20 PM

oops.

Just saw that you basically said…what I said. Only first. REDUNDANCY! AHHhhhhh!

Diane on October 19, 2009 at 2:43 PM

HAAAHAAAAHAAAAAAAA! Obama will put out twinkies at every polling place next election; He won’t need ACORN or the Black Panthers!

Cybergeezer on October 19, 2009 at 2:43 PM

Just saw that you basically said…what I said. Only first. REDUNDANCY! AHHhhhhh!

Diane on October 19, 2009 at 2:43 PM

*pats Diane on the head*

It’s all right. We all know you’re redundant, and we still love you. It’s all right.

MadisonConservative on October 19, 2009 at 2:45 PM

Yes, which is exactly what the Left hopes to hear from you. This type of approach to the regulation of marijuana pretty much ensures that other States will go the way of California. By the same token, SCOTUS rulings have measured a “consensus” on other issues (usually based on a survey of California and other left-leaning States) in order to enforce their preferred position on conservative-leaning States (see, e.g., Eighth Amendment law). And with the so-called “spending powers,” Congress has long bribed States into following its preferred policy stances.

To sum up: the federal government controls the reigns, and the States must follow suit. Here, President Obama has realized, quite shrewdly, that he can give deference to “federalism” while undermining the anti-marijuana States at the same time. And yet you guys buy it, hook and sinker. Amazing.

cackcon on October 19, 2009 at 2:17 PM

Too right. There’s nothing good about this decision, which is typical of the libertarian agenda. And when you couple it with their laissez-faire approach to border control, it’s basically giving the Southwest over to La Eme. Maybe after a few thousand American citizens are garroted and dissolved in oil drums, the Feds will remember their duties.

Chris_Balsz on October 19, 2009 at 2:45 PM

We should legalize pot and make it a big export (like oil). The US can be synonymous with Designer High Quality Weed. We are already world famous for our tobacco.

ThackerAgency on October 19, 2009 at 2:37 PM

Since it’s not legal anywhere, that’s probably not a great idea.

Cigarettes are physically addictive, or rather, nicotine is physically addictive. THC withdrawal simply doesn’t have consistent physical withdrawal symptoms. Thats not to say it isnt habit forming, it most certainly is, and probably more so than McDonalds; but the actual difference between addictive and habit forming is substantial, and must be substantial, to the debate on the law.

ernesto on October 19, 2009 at 2:39 PM

I’m not saying it’s the same as cigarettes, but to say there are no withdrawal effects just isn’t true. Whether there enough to be considered addictive isn’t something I’m capable of commenting on.

However, I would put the number of times that I tried to quit and “couldn’t” (0) and the number of withdrawal symptoms I experienced (0; and I should recognized them, having successfully quit smoking, drinking, dipping, etc long after I easily put down the weed) in a category with substances like gum balls, baseball cards, and wearing a baseball hat.

No offense, but you’re hardly the only person to have ever smoked pot. I know plenty of people who tried to quit and just couldn’t, even when it was causing problems. I also know people who have experienced withdrawal symptoms. Your anecdote is just that, yours.

As for things being a detriment… my wife considers Hot Air a detriment to our marriage b/c of all the time I spend here. I’m not ready to outlaw her yet.

realityunwound on October 19, 2009 at 2:40 PM

Then you should probably be spending more time with her. If she’s actually said that out loud and meant it, she’s probably right.

Esthier on October 19, 2009 at 2:47 PM

You could say the same about caffeine. I’m pretty sure there’s no change of that being outlawed.

MadisonConservative on October 19, 2009 at 2:41 PM

Don’t give this Administration any ideas.

JohnGalt23 on October 19, 2009 at 2:48 PM

You could say the same about caffeine. I’m pretty sure there’s no change of that being outlawed.

MadisonConservative on October 19, 2009 at 2:41 PM

Sure, but even alcohol, which has worse withdrawal effects is in no danger of being outlawed, at least not again.

I wasn’t writing that as a reason to keep it illegal but rather because it’s true.

Esthier on October 19, 2009 at 2:48 PM

Addictive, my ass; Some people have more of an addictive personality; Therefore, they are likely to have an addiction for anything they have a strong desire for; They have a very hard time breaking any habitual behavior.
Think of “pot stalkers”.

Cybergeezer on October 19, 2009 at 2:49 PM

It’s all right. We all know you’re redundant, and we still love you. It’s all right.

MadisonConservative on October 19, 2009 at 2:45 PM

Really? Redundant? Well, that’s embarrassing.

*Gives HotAir one last lingering look before walking away*

Diane on October 19, 2009 at 2:50 PM

Really? Redundant? Well, that’s embarrassing.

*Gives HotAir one last lingering look before walking away*

Diane on October 19, 2009 at 2:50 PM

Hey wait! Come back…

…and walk away again. Consistency, eh?

MadisonConservative on October 19, 2009 at 2:52 PM

I wasn’t writing that as a reason to keep it illegal but rather because it’s true.

Esthier on October 19, 2009 at 2:48 PM

Fair enough.

MadisonConservative on October 19, 2009 at 2:52 PM

i can’t, for the life of me, understand how someone who calls themselves conservative can possibly fight so hard against a substance that costs our legal system, which is already stressed with REAL CRIMINALS (see rapists, dv offenders, murderers, thieves, and various other people of ill repute), SO MUCH MONEY (thats your money BTW people). it makes no sense to jail and fine users of a drug that is less lethal than alcohol, and FAR less addictive. but you so-called conservatives show why we have lost elections. some of you probably think that less than 20% of people have even tried it either. ….is your protective bubble clear?

g76monte on October 19, 2009 at 2:55 PM

Good. They should go further. The war on pot is a waste of time, money, and lives.

lexhamfox on October 19, 2009 at 2:57 PM

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