Fed to states: We won’t block state marijuana laws if certain conditions are met

posted at 9:01 pm on August 29, 2013 by Bruce McQuain

In a move that is sure to be widely discussed, the Obama administration has agreed not to attempt to block Colorado and Washington states newly passed laws legalizing medicinal and recreational use of marijuana:

The Obama administration on Thursday said it will not stand in the way of Colorado,Washington and other states where voters have supported legalizing marijuana either for medical or recreational use, as long as those states maintain strict rules involving distribution of the drug.

In a memo sent Thursday to U.S. attorneys in all 50 states, Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole detailed the administration’s new stance, even as he reiterated that marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

The ‘strict rules’ are as follows:

The memo directs federal prosecutors to focus their resources on eight specific areas of enforcement, rather than targeting individual marijuana users, which even President Obama has acknowledged is not the best use of federal manpower. Those areas include preventing distribution of marijuana to minors, preventing the sale of pot to cartels and gangs, preventing sales to other states where the drug remains illegal under state law, and stopping the growing of marijuana on public lands.

Of course Big Brother, in the guise of Eric Holder and the Justice Department, have advised the states that they’ll be watching … very closely.

The official said Holder also told them that federal prosecutors would be watching closely as the two states put in place a regulatory framework for marijuana in their states, and that prosecutors would be taking a “trust but verify” approach. The official said the Justice Department reserves the right to revisit the issue.

I’m sure it does reserve that right … it is letting the states just have too much control of their own future.

Sarcasm aside, it will be interesting to see how this experiment progresses in these two states.  It may herald the beginning of the end to the freedom sapping War on Drugs.  We’ve learned in the past that prohibition only creates criminals and huge profits for them.  Profits they’re willing to protect through violence and murder.

Here’s a chance, in two of the “laboratories of freedom” to see if we can manage to find an acceptable answer to the problem that ends up defunding and deincentivizing the criminals while winding down the War on Drugs.  If so, it’s a win-win.

~McQ


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I don’t smoke but would certainly get a contact high from sitting next to Obama.

Electrongod on August 29, 2013 at 9:05 PM

Why is “war on drugs” always assumed to the the “war on marijuana”? Just so naive.

BKeyser on August 29, 2013 at 9:05 PM

Maybe the Feds could get out of the way of states immigration laws as well. Oh and voter is laws too.

johnnyboy on August 29, 2013 at 9:06 PM

So the question for me is do employers get to discriminate and terminate/not hire those who are positive for useage? If I know I can go to work and not worry about those who are stoned working on the meat grinder next to me im all for it… if you want to smoke the stuff have at it, but beware you could lose your job or not get a job because of that.

watertown on August 29, 2013 at 9:06 PM

ID laws.

johnnyboy on August 29, 2013 at 9:06 PM

johnnyboy on August 29, 2013 at 9:06 PM

No liberals generally support the legalization of weed… so this of course is a go ahead for them. The 2 items you listed they hate so they will fight that tooth and nail.

watertown on August 29, 2013 at 9:08 PM

BKeyser on August 29, 2013 at 9:05 PM

Apparently, I’m on it.

Why is the “war on drugs” always assumed to be a “war on marijuana”?

There. Damned orange fingers messing up my typing.

BKeyser on August 29, 2013 at 9:08 PM

Choom gang says don’t boggart that joint and I’ll only use laws that I like.

tim c on August 29, 2013 at 9:09 PM

ID laws.

johnnyboy on August 29, 2013 at 9:06 PM

No ID? No pot.
No ID? Voting line here.

LaughterJones on August 29, 2013 at 9:09 PM

Electrongod on August 29, 2013 at 9:05 PM

You might just get a contact high off this thread.

Bmore on August 29, 2013 at 9:11 PM

Maybe if the kids are wasted they’ll sign up for Obamacare.

–late night thoughts from our Precedent

M240H on August 29, 2013 at 9:16 PM

You might just get a contact high off this thread.

Bmore on August 29, 2013 at 9:11 PM

LOL..

Electrongod on August 29, 2013 at 9:17 PM

In a move that is sure to be widely discussed, the Obama administration has agreed not to attempt to block Colorado and Washington states newly passed laws legalizing medicinal and recreational use of marijuana:
=================================

Looks like,its Up In Smoke!
(sarc)

canopfor on August 29, 2013 at 9:19 PM

It may herald the beginning of the end to the freedom sapping War on Drugs. We’ve learned in the past that prohibition only creates criminals and huge profits for them. Profits they’re willing to protect through violence and murder.

Which is why the right course of action is to always give into the cartels’ intimidation and violence, and to have the state be subservient to anyone else willing to use deadly force for what they want. Because the best-run society is the one that most quickly surrenders to the whims of whoever becomes violent over its policies. /s

Stoic Patriot on August 29, 2013 at 9:21 PM

Dave’s Not Here.

Del Dolemonte on August 29, 2013 at 9:21 PM

Well, I’m sure our Choom-in-Chief will be visiting Washington and Colorado just for the wonderful skiing this winter.

M240H on August 29, 2013 at 9:24 PM

if you want to smoke the stuff have at it, but beware you could lose your job or not get a job because of that.

watertown on August 29, 2013 at 9:06 PM

Just so long as you don’t mind paying your fair share™ in taxes so they can sit home and choom because their “condition” prevents them from working.

Lost in Jersey on August 29, 2013 at 9:28 PM

What about all the people that are doing 10-20 in federal prison, that were following Montana state law up until recently? do they get their lives back? What about the guy that recently died in custody because a federal judge wouldn’t move him to a medical facility?

claudius on August 29, 2013 at 9:30 PM

Those areas include preventing distribution of marijuana to minors, preventing the sale of pot to cartels and gangs, preventing sales to other states where the drug remains illegal under state law, and stopping the growing of marijuana on public lands.

Yeah, good luck with that. These are people wanting to make money off people getting high.

jas88 on August 29, 2013 at 9:33 PM

Trust but verify…hmmmm….where have I heard that before?

ronsfi on August 29, 2013 at 9:34 PM

I don’t smoke but would certainly get a contact high from sitting next to Obama.

Electrongod on August 29, 2013 at 9:05 PM

.
You might just get a contact high off this thread.

Bmore on August 29, 2013 at 9:11 PM

.
. . . : )

listens2glenn on August 29, 2013 at 9:35 PM

Why is “war on drugs” always assumed to be the “war on marijuana”? Just so naive.

BKeyser on August 29, 2013 at 9:05 PM

It’s actually kind of the opposite. They seem to believe that legalizing pot will end the “war on drugs.”

Colorado already has announced plans to tax it, to pay for the regulation. How much more regulation — and taxation — would cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine and the other nasty stuff require? The Feds want control over manufacture and distribution, and so do the states.

More freedom = more govt. regulation?

There is also the issue just brought up about what employers can do in dealing with users. There is no easy way of determining if a pot smoker is “impaired” on the job.

These short-sighted fools like McQuain never seem to want to answer these questions about the consequences of legalization. It’s so much easier to screech “end the failed war on drugs!,” and ignore the problems legalization will bring about.

JannyMae on August 29, 2013 at 9:36 PM

BKeyser on August 29, 2013 at 9:05 PM

Heroin, cocaine and meth aren’t “cool” yet. When they get there, mark my words, they push for legalization next. I’m only in favor of pot at the state level (and only because it seems the most benign of those listed).

nobar on August 29, 2013 at 9:39 PM

Good. It would be insane to challenge the states when over 50% of the population believes marijuana should be legal. Especially the youth and those under 40 — they in large majorities believe this drug war is fully idiotic.

One thing you notice in those standing up against marijuana legalization, and indeed standing up for the drug war itself, it’s that they are older people, like age 60 or 70, God bless their souls, like 64 year old Bill O’Reilly that comes off sounding like an authoritarian Richard Nixon, it’s the old guard that’s holding on tooth and nail to the costly drug war. Yes, drugs are bad, but the cure (police $tate) is worse. And actually there isn’t a cure, the brutal drug war arguably increases drug use. It’s fully insane, irrational.

anotherJoe on August 29, 2013 at 9:39 PM

Fed to states: We won’t block state marijuana laws if certain conditions are met

And those conditions are…um, er, uh, shiite, I forgot.

*pass the bong, would ya?*

predator on August 29, 2013 at 9:44 PM

Why is “war on drugs” always assumed to the the “war on marijuana”? Just so naive.

BKeyser on August 29, 2013 at 9:05 PM

Because most arrests and expenditures are for marijuana prohibition.

libfreeordie on August 29, 2013 at 9:52 PM

Another example of Obama ignoring the laws he doesn’t like and doesn’t want to enforce – or where he finds enforcement inconvenient.

Another word for this is “dictatorship.”

I’m not against decriminalization or legalization, but it should be done the right way, the simple way, the legal way: remove marijuana from Schedule I, where it never belonged in the first place. Yes, it takes an act of Congress, since it is specified in the law. That’s what “leadership” is, what it does.

“Leadership” is not spending your time partying, golfing, making partisan speeches, vacationing, and admiring yourself in the mirror.

Adjoran on August 29, 2013 at 10:03 PM

libfreeordie on August 29, 2013 at 9:52 PM

“Most arrests” is a very vague term. People stopped for a traffic violation and then suspected of driving under the influence would count as an arrest. Gun charges and distribution charges are often accompanied by the lesser-included of possession CDS. The facts are that police are not targeting marijuana users and the money isn’t being spent to arrest potheads.

BKeyser on August 29, 2013 at 10:09 PM

Why is “war on drugs” always assumed to the the “war on marijuana”? Just so naive.

BKeyser on August 29, 2013 at 9:05 PM

Because most arrests and expenditures are for marijuana prohibition.

libfreeordie on August 29, 2013 at 9:52 PM

Invented out of whole cloth, as are most your bogus claims.

Even advocates of outright legalization admit it is impossible to break down drug enforcement costs by drug, but whatever portion is devoted to marijuana is relatively low given the high costs of mandatory sentences for cocaine and heroin, and the costs of rehab/hospitalization for those drugs and methamphetamines, which are many multiples of those costs for marijuana.

Adjoran on August 29, 2013 at 10:09 PM

libfreeordie on August 29, 2013 at 9:52 PM

Furthermore, arrests don’t equal prosecutions, or incarcerations.

BKeyser on August 29, 2013 at 10:10 PM

Because most arrests and expenditures are for marijuana prohibition.

libfreeorgan on August 29, 2013 at 9:52 PM

……looking forward to it?

KOOLAID2 on August 29, 2013 at 10:23 PM

Dave’s Not Here.

Del Dolemonte on August 29, 2013 at 9:21 PM

… man…

JohnGalt23 on August 29, 2013 at 10:32 PM

Even advocates of outright legalization admit it is impossible to break down drug enforcement costs by drug, but whatever portion is devoted to marijuana is relatively low given the high costs of mandatory sentences for cocaine and heroin, and the costs of rehab/hospitalization for those drugs and methamphetamines, which are many multiples of those costs for marijuana.

Adjoran on August 29, 2013 at 10:09 PM

While the hospitalization costs are tough to accurately account for, one thing that is not is man-days of incarceration per year. So, while cocaine and heroin and meth account for long sentences, the short sentences for tens of thousands of cannabis offenders (often as a result of parole violation) adds up to a large percentage of actual time served per year, and thus a large percentage of prison expenditures…

JohnGalt23 on August 29, 2013 at 10:39 PM

Fed to states: We won’t block state marijuana laws if certain conditions are met

Now if they would take the same tack on gun laws…

slickwillie2001 on August 29, 2013 at 10:49 PM

I never understood the concept of protecting people from the dangers of drugs by introducing them to the dangers of prison.

myiq2xu on August 29, 2013 at 11:31 PM

I hate to be the bearer of really bad news … but …

What this approach will do is lead the Federal justice department of deciding WHO is within the law, and WHO is not within the law. Can ANYONE tell the difference between a low level drug dealer and a drug cartel? Holder has already made this unilateral redefinition of enforcing existing laws.

This is how the mob, and I do mean mob, operates in Chicago and elsewhere. The laws are on the books, and it is common for prosecutors to IGNORE these laws. Those that do not pay off the ‘right people’ are prosecuted for not following the law while the ‘friends’ of law enforcement, and political allies, are spared.

Since it is all established as ‘normal’, NONE of the corrupt government prosecutors, or politicians, can even be charged with a crime!

Federal prosecutors must immediatly IGNORE this request from the Obama administration and FORCE Obama/Holder to FIRE them! This is the ONLY way that the public will understand how corrupt Obama truely is! Failing to do this will result in the drug cartels corrupting the police, prosecutors, and politicians which will lead the US into the same failed government we see south of the border.

Obama is an insideous foul corrupt politician that hates wants to fundamentally change the US!

Freddy on August 29, 2013 at 11:54 PM

These short-sighted fools like McQuain never seem to want to answer these questions about the consequences of legalization.

JannyMae on August 29, 2013 at 9:36 PM

If people are abusing drugs, they are trying to commit suicide. If the government is administering these substances, they can pull these sad and troubled folks out of the shadows and eventually require some sort of treatment or psychiatric or religious help for the bigger demons that are not being addressed.

But this assumes the government is not a cesspool of inefficiency, and so I am not terribly confident in this approach. Perhaps at the local level it would work best.

John the Libertarian on August 30, 2013 at 12:06 AM

Obama should take it easy. He (is) was a pot head, right?

Meet our ahola president!

He has ZERO moral authority on nuthin’.

Sherman1864 on August 30, 2013 at 6:59 AM

So the question for me is do employers get to discriminate and terminate/not hire those who are positive for useage?

watertown on August 29, 2013 at 9:06 PM

I’m confused by your use of the term “discriminate.” But, yes, employers can terminate those who test positive for marijuana use on the job. Just like employers can terminate those who test positive for alcohol use on the job. It’s really not that complicated.

Syzygy on August 30, 2013 at 7:05 AM

Fed to states: We won’t block state marijuana laws if certain conditions are met

Like free buds for President Choom and his posse.

mrt721 on August 30, 2013 at 8:10 AM

So the feds won’t block the laws but they will still have the laws on their books? They can still send the DEA in at any time to bust anyone right?

VinceOfDoom on August 30, 2013 at 9:57 AM

and yet they will sue a state for passing a law mirroring the federal law that said follow the federal law.
funny how they will fight immigration laws yet not fight drug laws…
I’ve always felt drug laws should be a states issue.

dmacleo on August 30, 2013 at 10:11 AM

Which is why the right course of action is to always give into the cartels’ Outfit’s intimidation and violence, and to have the state be subservient to anyone else willing to use deadly force for what they want. Because the best-run society is the one that most quickly surrenders to the whims of whoever becomes violent over its policies. /s Stoic Patriot on August 29, 1924 at 9:21 PM

Akzed on August 30, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Why is “war on drugs” always assumed to the the “war on marijuana”? Just so naive.

BKeyser on August 29, 2013 at 9:05 PM
maybe because 80% of drug use is marijuana.

svs22422 on August 30, 2013 at 11:30 AM

I’m confused by your use of the term “discriminate.” But, yes, employers can terminate those who test positive for marijuana use on the job. Just like employers can terminate those who test positive for alcohol use on the job. It’s really not that complicated.

Syzygy on August 30, 2013 at 7:05 AM
the test comanys give their employees is is not an impairment test. the piss test does not detemine if your high on the job, it onlys tells if sombdy used a substance somtime in their recent past. thats really the whole problem for me and this testing. it has nothing to do with safety, and everything to do with trying to control what people do in their private lives. where i work, your guilty tell you prove your innocent, ” random testing ”. sounds a little un – american to me.

svs22422 on August 30, 2013 at 11:40 AM

If we can admit that the drug war is a failure, why can’t we admit that the war on poverty is a failure? We have thrown as much money in combating poverty as we have on drugs and we still haven’t made a dent in reducing poverty…

Conservative Samizdat on August 30, 2013 at 7:59 PM