Three GOP reps to Obama: Stop these pro-marijuana states from violating federal law

posted at 4:41 pm on April 12, 2013 by Allahpundit

Colorado and Washington say it’s okay to use marijuana, the U.S. Congress says it isn’t. Federalism or criminalizing weed: Let’s settle now on one as a core GOP principle and let go of the other, because as marijuana legalization becomes more popular, one of them will have to give.

“I don’t see the DOJ suing these states for passing laws that are illegal under federal law,” said Rep. Andrew Harris (R-MD.). “I don’t see the administration going to the state of Washington or Colorado and saying, ‘We will see you in federal court because the federal law preempts the state law and you have passed a law in clear contradiction to federal law.’”

Reps. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) and Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) echoed Harris during today’s appropriations hearing with DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart (you can read her full remarks here). The exchange marks the first time members of Congress have openly called for the Obama administration to intervene in Colorado and Washington. Until today, the only members of Congress who had addressed marijuana legalization did so while introducing legislation that would repeal federal marijuana prohibition and create a federal tax-and-regulate framework…

“People say, ‘What happened? What’s changed since November? And I say, ‘Nothing,’” Leonhart told Harris. “We’re still enforcing federal law.” The real problem, she said, is that with only 45 DEA agents in each state, the DEA is heavily reliant on cooperation from local law enforcement groups. and those groups have been told by voters that they need to focus on serious crimes.

This already has the makings of a minor schism in the caucus. While Harris, Wolf, and Bonner were pushing Leonhart to crack down, three more Republicans were preparing to introduce a bill that would force the DEA to back off:

Whispers hears that Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., is about to introduce a bill that protects marijuana users and business owners from federal prosecution, as long as they are in compliance with state laws. The bill would amend the Controlled Substances Act, which makes the sale and use of marijuana illegal under federal law.

The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act has five co-sponsors on both the Republican and Democratic side of the aisle, including Reps. Justin Amash, R-Mich., Don Young, R-Alaska, Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., and Jared Polis, D-Col…

In a statement shared with Whispers, Rohrabacher called the bill “common sense” and said it “[keeps] the federal government out of the business of criminalizing marijuana activities.”

I thought the big intraparty squabble of the next three years would be over gay marriage, but if you’ve got Republicans already sponsoring legislation that would effectively stop other Republicans from leaning on the DEA, maybe I’m wrong. Two recent poll results to inform your thinking on this. First, from December, Gallup:

gal

And, from last week, Pew:

p

Pew’s results are especially significant because they show there’s no partisan split when it comes to enforcement of federal drug laws against pro-pot states. The GOP’s federalists should win this battle in Congress, then, if only because being anti-pot but pro-states’ rights is a nifty way to try to balance older voters that the party needs to hold and younger voters that the party needs to win. But who knows? If this becomes another cause for social conservatives who are already irritated by the GOP’s softening on gay marriage, maybe the pro-pot faction will run away.


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I vote for federalism.

rbj on April 12, 2013 at 4:43 PM

I am not pro-reefer, and I vote against these things in my state (it seems like all sorts of people who are not sick have medical marijuana cards). But if it is passed by voters, I am very cautious about the feds overriding what the people have passed at a state level.

mwbri on April 12, 2013 at 4:47 PM

Obama: “No WAY, duuuuuude!”

Ward Cleaver on April 12, 2013 at 4:48 PM

Federalism. Perhaps marijuana can be useful after all. Maybe it will force both congress and the courts to move towards federalism.

NotCoach on April 12, 2013 at 4:48 PM

Wrong tack…coach it as: either enforce fed laws over state laws on drugs like u claim u do on immigration or let the states handle both….

Rogue on April 12, 2013 at 4:49 PM

If states can have different gun laws, they can have different drug laws.

Federalism!

Seven Seas on April 12, 2013 at 4:49 PM

Choom for me, but not for thee

famous amos on April 12, 2013 at 4:50 PM

Federalism. The feds should focus on its expressed duties and quit usurping the States.

AH_C on April 12, 2013 at 4:50 PM

Great to see the GOP standing up for Federalism

/

antifederalist on April 12, 2013 at 4:50 PM

The Federal Government would never go after a state trying to deal with it’s problems legislatively. Just ask the people of Arizona….

brainy435 on April 12, 2013 at 4:51 PM

Three GOP reps to Obama: Stop these pro-marijuana states from violating federal law

The stupid, it hurtsssss!

Archivarix on April 12, 2013 at 4:53 PM

Obama enforce federal laws? What R U smoking?

LetsBfrank on April 12, 2013 at 4:53 PM

Wrong tack…coach it as: either enforce fed laws over state laws on drugs like u claim u do on immigration or let the states handle both….

Rogue on April 12, 2013 at 4:49 PM

How exactly is immigration not a federal issue? I don’t have a problem with states enforcing their own laws on the issue because they have a vested interest in dealing with illegals. But that does not follow that the federal government has no place on the issue. These are people coming into the country from outside the nation, and they are crossing state lines.

NotCoach on April 12, 2013 at 4:53 PM

Dopey Hopey

Schadenfreude on April 12, 2013 at 4:55 PM

The police power belongs to the states only. If the feds want to ban sales across state lines, that’s fine…but federalism, ‘kay?

Othniel on April 12, 2013 at 4:55 PM

if Washington federalism irritates Alabama and Virginia, then Olympia needs more of it (accidental though it may be).

Jeddite on April 12, 2013 at 4:55 PM

That picture is your president, fools of the world.

Schadenfreude on April 12, 2013 at 5:01 PM

Since pot destroys lungs like nothing else and, thanks to Obamacare, I pay for the results of that damage, enforce the anti-pot laws.

In a sane world, a person would live free to smoke all the pot they wanted (and die free after being shot for stealing munchie-money).

ROCnPhilly on April 12, 2013 at 5:03 PM

There is only one conservative position, and it’s the one espoused by Clarence Thomas in his dissent a few years back.

notropis on April 12, 2013 at 5:06 PM

Three GOP reps to Obama: Stop these pro-marijuana states from violating federal law

Obama to three GOP Reps: Quit harshing my buzz, man.

LegendHasIt on April 12, 2013 at 5:13 PM

All drugs should be legal. Cuts down on robberies, burglaries, etc. Frees up court, jail and prison space. Less costs for judges, prosecutors, public defenders, police officers, federal agents, state agents, etc. Less retirement & medical costs for previous list. Why are drugs illegal anyway?!?

Karmi on April 12, 2013 at 5:20 PM

If this becomes another cause for social conservatives who are already irritated by the GOP’s softening on gay marriage, maybe the pro-pot faction will run away.

If a pol is pro-pot, does that make him a pol pot?

Steve Z on April 12, 2013 at 5:23 PM

Dave’s Not Here.

Del Dolemonte on April 12, 2013 at 5:26 PM

GOP Congressmen: Screw your Federalism! I’m in charge! I’m not about to be usurped by some state assembly anymore than I am by the will of the people!

Wait…

Sgt Steve on April 12, 2013 at 5:30 PM

Federalism.

Sadly, the marijuana issue shows that many so-called conservatives are just as willing to violate the constitution when it’s convenient for them as are liberals.

Either you believe in federalism or you don’t. If you think the Feds should crack down on states that legalize marijuana within their own borders, you don’t believe in federalism, so don’t pretend.

thirteen28 on April 12, 2013 at 5:47 PM

Let the states handle the pot laws.
Impeach any federal pol that won’t deal with the illegal alien problemper the law they have sworn to enforce.

DanMan on April 12, 2013 at 5:51 PM

GOP smaller government.

beatcanvas on April 12, 2013 at 5:51 PM

Hmm… it ate my brackets. How about this then:

GOP =/= smaller government.

beatcanvas on April 12, 2013 at 5:52 PM

Where those 3 in defending Brewer and border states?
That is the Feds job they don’t do and ignore..then attack
the Gov’s for doing their job. But weed…Federalism is suddenly important. Funny how they pick and choose. lol

The GOP-you wanna win some much needed ground?
It isn’t ghey SSM or pandering to minorities..
get behind the states and decriminalize weed.

I am all for it.
The history behind “refer madness” is quite interesting
and the Govt propaganda that promoted it.
Hint* had to do with Race and minorities.

Even Palin hinted that LE needs to use resources and focus on real crime..not the doobie guy. As one who is prescribed tons of meds for a condition..the pills I take are way worse then smoking some weed. The hysteria about weed, amuses me.

bazil9 on April 12, 2013 at 5:54 PM

Impeach any federal pol that won’t deal with the illegal alien problemper the law they have sworn to enforce.

DanMan on April 12, 2013 at 5:51 PM

Why Dan, is the Man.

bazil9 on April 12, 2013 at 5:57 PM

In a sane world, a person would live free to smoke all the pot they wanted (and die free after being shot for stealing munchie-money).

ROCnPhilly on April 12, 2013 at 5:03 PM

I hang out by the local bingo parlor and mug any old bat more feeble than myself.
Those Godiva chocolates aren’t cheap.

katy the mean old lady on April 12, 2013 at 5:59 PM

Dave’s Not Here.

goin’ downtown
goin’ to see my gal
goin’ to sing her a song
goin’ to show her my dahing dong

that Blind Melon Chitlin’ had the screw before DJ was born

DanMan on April 12, 2013 at 6:00 PM

All drugs should be legal. Cuts down on robberies, burglaries, etc. Frees up court, jail and prison space. Less costs for judges, prosecutors, public defenders, police officers, federal agents, state agents, etc. Less retirement & medical costs for previous list. Why are drugs illegal anyway?!?

Karmi on April 12, 2013 at 5:20 PM

Stimulus.

rhombus on April 12, 2013 at 6:03 PM

“Three GOP reps to Obama: Stop these pro-marijuana states from violating federal law”

…have no fear, OBOZO will get right on that immediately after he starts enforcing US immigration laws.

TeaPartyNation on April 12, 2013 at 6:04 PM

“Three GOP reps to Obama: Stop these pro-marijuana states from violating federal law”

…have no fear, OBOZO will get right on that immediately after he starts enforcing US immigration laws.

TeaPartyNation on April 12, 2013 at 6:04 PM

—-BTW: can you spell “I-M-P-E-A-C-H-A-B-L-E O-F-F-E-N-S-E”?

TeaPartyNation on April 12, 2013 at 6:06 PM

Karmi on April 12, 2013 at 5:20 PM

Stimulus.

rhombus on April 12, 2013 at 6:03 PM

Jobs…majority being Govt jobs and bene’s.
War on drugs is very profitable..for both sides.

bazil9 on April 12, 2013 at 6:09 PM

katy the mean old lady on April 12, 2013 at 5:59 PM

Wow. You are mean. lol

ROCnPhilly on April 12, 2013 at 6:14 PM

IT IS REAL SIMPLE

If you support alcohol being legal, the STFU about marijuana. What is the average ratio of calls that local law enforcement receive on a nightly basis that are ALCOHOL related?? Weed related?? Yeah I thought so.

I’ll be at the 1st ever US Cannabis Cup next week in Colorado. AP if you want to ask me about it for the post that I’m sure you’ll write up about it, feel free.

jephthah on April 12, 2013 at 6:14 PM

Either you’re for the 10th amendment or not.

ratherbskiing on April 12, 2013 at 6:47 PM

Rep. Andrew Harris (R-MD.)
Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.)
Jo Bonner (R-Ala.)

I was born in Seattle, have lived in Washington State all my life and am proud that my state was one of the first to legalize MJ. If the three fascists listed above send their jackboots to my state to impose their views on my state, I hope that the law enforcement agents of my state will stop them, forcibly if necessary. If they can’t or won’t, if these fascists use the feds to crack down on my state, then I demand that the feds crack down on Maryland, Virginia and Alabaman! I want the feds to send their jackboots into those states and force their churches to marry gay people, whether they like it or not. If they refuse, throw them strip away their liberty and throw them in prison to rot. If these three states try to restrict abortion, all the guilty parties involved need should be subject to mandatory minimums. If a doctor in one of those three states, even at Catholic hospitals, refuse to abort babies on demand, they get three strikes and they’re out! Send them to the clink for 50 or a hundred years and throw away the keys.

If Andrew Harris, Frank Wolf and Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) want to make war on my state, I want to make war on theirs!

FloatingRock on April 12, 2013 at 7:48 PM

These three Congressman perfectly represent why people scoff when we try to convince them the GOP is the party of small government and liberty. As long as this party is led by people who first and foremost want to act as the morality police, we will LOSE.

Reggie1971 on April 12, 2013 at 8:34 PM

Marijuana can be legally possessed with a federal license. You get a stamp to put on your packaging, like the cigarette tax stamp.

They rarely grant it, only e.g. to “researchers,” but that’s the long and short of it.

That’s how weed was made illegal: it was licensed, and few licenses are granted.

When something is licensed, like dentistry, it is illegal to do it, sell it, or possess it w/o the license.

There is no need for new laws to “legalize” weed. The feds just need to start granting licenses to applicants. They could then regulate how the substance is possessed and distributed: no license needed for people with less than .x oz. License required for over .x oz. No one under xx years of age may possess. Etc. Easy.

Akzed on April 12, 2013 at 9:15 PM

Federalism. 10th amendment. A chance for the Republican party to stand by a simple, Constitutional message — and one that happens in this case to resonate strongly with young voters.

SunSword on April 13, 2013 at 7:42 AM

I say go for the BIG ONE!

Let’s force this to the supreme court and overturn Wickard vs Filburn!

Freddy on April 13, 2013 at 2:19 PM