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.