Video: Sure looks like CNN's reporter was baked during a segment on marijuana

Via Gawker, if you can’t watch the whole thing, skip to 4:00 to see why last night Anderson Cooper called this the greatest live hit the show’s ever done. My favorite moment is that big, bright, glassy-eyed smile at 5:15. (Second-favorite: The thoughtful explanation of the difference between sativa and indica.) The question here isn’t whether she’s high — the symptoms she describes are familiar even to non-users (losing her train of thought, finding things unusually funny, etc) — but whether she could have gotten this giggly from a contact high, i.e. from second-hand smoke without taking a hit herself. Answer: Yes, if she was around lots and lots of it. A single joint won’t do much to a bystander; 16 joints might. According to Kaye, she was riding around in the close confines of a limo all day with veteran potheads smoking blunts as big as cannons. Contact-high verdict: Plausible.

To redeem this silly clip, an interesting policy question from Reid Cherlin: If Republicans take back the White House in 2016, will the feds start cracking down on weed in states where it’s legal?

Mark Kleiman, a drug policy expert at UCLA and a prominent reform advocate who helped Washington State put together the regulations for its new marketplace, put it this way: “You could reappoint John Ashcroft as attorney general and people could be going to prison for long terms for things that they’re doing right now.”

It’s not clear yet what a marijuana debate within the GOP would look like: While it might be good politics to get behind an issue that most Americans support, only 37 percent of Republican voters favor legalization, compared with 58 percent overall. Republicans have traditionally stood for law and order, and against the kind of social decay that pot-smoking so handily represents—yet they also stand for states’ rights, minimal government and personal liberty. All of which means that with the next round of states considering legalization initiatives in the next two cycles, candidates, who until now have been able to laugh off questions about legalization, are going to find that they have to talk about it.

Right, but the X factor is federalism. If a new Republican president decided that he didn’t want to get sidetracked with a boutique hot-button issue like this, especially when most of the public’s softening on legalization, he could simply say that he’s deferring to majority will in the individual states for federal enforcement purposes. Local control is usually better, and regulatory clarity — the drug should be either legal or illegal in a jurisdiction, not both as it is now in Colorado — is always better. Federal prosecutions could continue in states where the drug’s illegal, thus appeasing drug warriors, but the DOJ would busy itself with other matters in the few states where it’s not. A Gallup poll taken in December 2012 found that 64 percent thought the feds should back off in states where the drug is legal; even among people who oppose legalizing weed, 43 percent nonetheless said the feds should defer to the states. A Republican wouldn’t have much trouble selling a “follow the states” compromise on enforcement to his base, I suspect. Especially if he’s eager to lure more young voters to the party.