Skip to comments.Here's How the Obama Admin. Is Considering Responding to Legal Pot in Colorado and Washington
Posted on 12/06/2012 9:26:57 PM PST by Red Steel
The Obama administration is strategizing how to fight legal pot in Colorado and Washington, reports Charlie Savage of The New York Times. While "no decision" is "imminent," Savage reports that senior level White House and Justice Department officials are considering "legal action against Colorado and Washington that could undermine voter-approved initiatives."
A taskforce made up of Main Justice, the DEA, the State Department, and the Office of National Drug Control Policy is currently considering two courses of action, reports Savage:
One option is for federal prosecutors to bring some cases against low-level marijuana users of the sort they until now have rarely bothered with, waiting for a defendant to make a motion to dismiss the case because the drug is now legal in that state. The department could then obtain a court ruling that federal law trumps the state one.
A more aggressive option is for the Justice Department to file lawsuits against the states to prevent them from setting up systems to regulate and tax marijuana, as the initiatives contemplated. If a court agrees that such regulations are pre-empted by federal ones, it will open the door to a broader ruling about whether the regulatory provisions can be severed from those eliminating state prohibitions or whether the entire initiatives must be struck down.
Option one could possibly mean that Obama would break a campaign promise he's already split hairs over: That his administration will not go after people who smoke marijuana for medicinal reasons. Savage makes it seem as if there are people in Washington who are more than happy to take that route: Apparently some law enforcement officials are so "alarmed at the prospect that marijuana users in both states could get used to flouting federal law openly," that they "are said to be pushing for a stern response."
On Nov 12, Jacob Sullum answered the question, Can the Feds stop Colorado and Washington from legalizing pot?
According to the Supreme Court, a "positive conflict" exists "when it is impossible to comply with both state and federal law." But neither Colorado's Amendment 64 nor Washington's Initiative 502 requires anyone to grow or sell marijuana. One can readily comply with both state and federal law simply by choosing not to go into the cannabis business. Both laws are written so that they merely explain the criteria people must satisfy to avoid prosecution for marijuana offenses under state law. "Notwithstanding any other provision of law," begins the section of Amendment 64 dealing with marijuana growers and sellers, "the following acts are not unlawful and shall not be an offense under Colorado law." I-502 likewise says "the production, possession, delivery, distribution, and sale of marijuana in accordance with the provisions of this act and the rules adopted to implement and enforce it, by a validly licensed marijuana producer, shall not be a criminal or civil offense under Washington state law."
In other words, both laws define what counts as a crime under state law, a power that states indisputably have. "You're not actually creating a positive conflict with the federal [law]," says Alison Holcomb, director of the Yes on I-502 campaign, "because the federal government remains free to enforce federal law within the state, and you're not requiring anybody to perform an act that would require a violation of federal law. You're simply setting out what the rules are for avoiding arrest and prosecution under state law."
Nor does either law compel state employees to violate the Controlled Substances Act by "possessing" marijuana for regulatory purposes. Under I-502, testing of marijuana will be handled by private laboratories. Amendment 64 likewise envisions "marijuana testing facilities" that will be "licensed to analyze and certify the safety and potency of marijuana."
What about collecting tax revenue from marijuana sales? Legally, those provisions could be the most vulnerable aspects of these laws (although it looks like Colorado's pot tax may never take effect). Jonathan Caulkins, a drug policy expert at Carnegie Mellon University, tells Politico, "The argument has been made and Ive never heard anybody successfully rebut itthat the federal government can seize the proceeds of any illegal activity. By that logic, it could seize the tax revenueseven from the states." But in Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know, Caulkins and his three co-authors observe that although "it has been argued that the federal government could confiscate such revenues as proceeds of illegal transactions...as far as we know the federal government has not touched a penny of the fees and tax revenues generated from medical marijuana."
And here's Ethan Nadelmann, head of the Drug Policy Alliance, hoping against hope that Obama will get on board.
Weird how once the potheads got the crap “legalized”, we don’t hear anymore bull**** about “medical” marijuana. That whole thing was a joke and the dorks in this country fell for it. Whatever happened to that “legalize it and tax the hell out of it!” bull****. LOL! What a farce.
Absent-minded er absentee ballots, free inside?
Obama will throw his own voters under the bus, just to get into a pissing contest between state and federal law. Why should anyone in DC give a Sh!t if someone in Colorado smokes a joint, nothing but a power trip.
Maybe for some but not for all, there are legitimate medical reasons people use pot (in a various ways).
Resurrecting the Choom Gang?
What are these loaded questions talking about exactly?
Obama has flip flopped at least as much as the infamous Mitt by now.
It also might be the straw that breaks Obamacare, because if different states have different laws, they would not want to pay for other state's citizens getting drug treatment or other medical services more than "dry" states. This would lead to fighting such that a federal health care program would be seen as unworkable when states had their own laws affecting health.
Well, if Washington state is really adamant about allowing this law to be law of the state, they need to tell their sheriffs to kick out all federal law enforcement agents.
Feds cannot operate in counties without the approval and support of the county sheriff. Generally not used, but that’s a critical reason why you should never get rid of your county sheriff level of law enforcement. They are the top LEO of the county and nobody else has the ability to kick the feds out.
The feds would love to get rid of sheriffs because of this fact.
some law enforcement officials are so “alarmed at the prospect that marijuana users in both states could get used to flouting federal law openly,” that they “are said to be pushing for a stern response.”
Note to officials, that would be the majority of
canabis users anyway. Admittedly it’s not a good idea
to smoke in front of a LEO but state and federal laws
have NOT stopped people from growing or smoking pot.
Respect federalism? Oh no. The Tenth Amendment and the very foundation of our governmental system is nothing compared to the enraging possibility that some grown people might have made the choice to get high. Marijuana used to be smoked by hippies, and hippies are bad and must be punished. Therefore, f*** the Constitution; full speed ahead with the drug war!
Bunk. Medicinal marijuana was the camel’s nose stuck under the tent. It was a ruse, and a cynical one at that.
The real ruse was that the war on drugs was about fighting drugs. It was about the Federal Government gaining enormous power and raping civil liberties.
If it was about fighting drugs, the HSBC, Wachovia and other banks that knowingly launder the cartel money would have been dealt with very harshly, perhaps even seized under forfeiture laws. They aren’t.
If it was about fighting drugs, our troops in Afghanistan wouldn’t be strictly forbidden from damaging pot and opium poppy crops.
These hard facts tell you all you need to know about the war on drugs.
Last, if all you know about an issue is that our Federal government is in favor of it, it’s usually a good policy to be against their position.
Sure it’s a ruse, but the ruse is a direct response to federal overreach. The feds have seized the power to ban any substance that they deem has no medical use. The courts won’t directly reverse that overreach, so the natural consequence is to work around it and just propose medical uses, however spurious, for the banned substances.
There’s no difference between that, and gun manufacturers finding ways to satisfy technical requirements of gun regulations in some superficial way in order to avoid those bans. Both of them are legitimate responses from the citizens to improper usurpations which the more proper methods of redress have failed to correct.
Where do you come up with this stuff?
It will be fun to watch lib states fight the lib gov’t they elected.
I’d love to see the ‘the gov’t is here to help you’ fantasy go ‘poof’ over a pot smoking fight between states and fed gov.
Then you did not read what I wrote.
Then you did not read what I wrote.
Then you did not read what I wrote.
Guess what, 0beezlebama! The fact that you were re-elected means the Constitution and thus your authority under it are no longer legitimate. The people voted for your lawlessness which is a lack of consent to the rule of law. I don’t care what you arrest me for I’m not going to fight it in a FedMob court of law. To quote Algore; You have no controlling legal authority.
Why would someone give any more of a damn about whether someone smokes a dried out plant or drinks a beer? Whether for “medical reasons” or not, who cares?
Simply put, if you dislike drugs, DON’T USE THEM.
This prohibition has FAILED(if you support it, you have failed along with it), while doing FAR more harm in the process of trying to make it work. Did we learn ANYTHING from the 1920s? It’s just history repeating, and it’s relatively recent history.
I have never done the pot thing and do not look favorably on it’s widespread use. However I believe that laws and punishment for crimes against any human or business should be the same whether done under the influence of any drug or liquor or whatever.
I don’t give a damn if someone wants to smoke the stuff behind their own closed doors. As long as I know about it before I send my child over to play with theirs. I am not in one of these 2 states, thankfully, because the smell of it makes me ill. I remember as a kid smoking some to go along with having a good time with my friends but never really enjoyed the odor and remember a few “contact” 2nd hand smoke buzzes. I would HATE to have to live amongst a society that is able to smoke that stuff out in public and get others sick to their stomach.
At the very least, it's a great way to get pro-pot lefties out of their "states' rights = racism" conditioning.
I only tried it a couple of times years ago back when I was a teen, and both times it made me horribly paranoid to the point of fright, and sick as a dog. Never used the stuff since, nor cared to. However, if others wish to, have at it. Just keep it in your home and to yourself as much as possible. The existing laws regarding smoking and sobriety should and likely would apply.
If druggies isolated themselves, didn’t pro-create and didn’t leach off the taxpayer then I would be fine with legalizing all drugs. Unfortunately druggies inflict themselves on non-druggies. That is the issue.
Nonetheless that's never going to happen, hence the "War on Drugs(TM)", instituted under Richard Nixon. This is the single biggest issue I have with Republicans and there is little if anything to choose between demmy and pubby pols on the issue. The "war on drugs" leads to
It is that final item which some would use as a pretext to eviscerate the second amendment, which is the link pin of the entire bill of rights. Consider the following from the former head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection under the Bush administration no less:
The former head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection called Monday for the U.S. to reinstitute the ban on assault weapons and take other measures to rein in the war between Mexico and its drug cartels, saying the violence has the potential to bring down legitimate rule in that country.
Former CBP Commissioner Robert C. Bonner also called for the United States to more aggressively investigate U.S. gun sellers and tighten security along its side of the border, describing the situation as "critical" to the safety of people in both countries, whether they live near the border or not.
Mexico, for its part, needs to reduce official corruption and organize its forces along the lines the U.S. does, such as a specialized border patrol and a customs agency with a broader mandate than monitoring trade, Mr. Bonner said in an exchange of e-mails.
"Border security is especially important to breaking the power and influence of the Mexican-based trafficking organizations," Mr. Bonner said. "Despite vigorous efforts by both governments, huge volumes of illegal drugs still cross from Mexico..."
The problem here clearly is not guns and it is clearly a problem of economics. The drugs one of these idiots would use in a day under rational circumstances would cost a dollar; that would simply present no scope for crime or criminals. Under present circumstances that dollar's worth of drugs is costing the user $300 a day and since that guy is dealing with a 10% fence, he's having to commit $3000 worth of crime to buy that dollar's worth of drugs. In other words, a dollar's worth of chemicals has been converted into $3000 worth of crime, times the number of those idiots out there, times 365 days per year, all through the magic of stupid laws. No nation on Earth could afford that forever.
A rational set of drug laws would:
Do all of that, and the drug problem and 70% of all urban crime will vanish within two years. That would be an optimal solution; but you could simply legalize it all and still be vastly better off than we are now. 150 Years ago, there were no drug laws in America and there were no overwhelming drug problems. How bright do you really need to be to figure that one out?
Don’t forget that the WOD also pried the door open on the doctor/patient relationship. Once there was a crack, government poured into every other area.
Nor can the sheriff order them out. This is just inter net garbage. If in the blogs you link to say otherwise please show me.
What you say goes doubly for me - with regards to tobacco!
I despise moochers, looters, and leeches as much as the next Conservative, but the truth is that it's not their fault that our welfare state is so willing to subvention them.
ALL parasites should be struck from the welfare roles (not just the alcoholics and druggies).
Puzzling. Most of the people in the Obama admin probably use illegal substances on a regular basis. Obama is most likely smoking a joint at this moment. He must be on some kind of drug to to the things he does.
is all this really that complicated?
Fed LEOs can enforce their own law.
State licensed pot shops will not be ‘federal’ legal.
states will stop enforcing pot lows.
> Corruption, the rise of drug cartels, and outright civil wars in other nations which supply drugs to the illegal drug enterprises here.
Legalize marijuana, street price will plummet, and it will cut a lot of the cartels action out. They won’t be happy and their partnerships with the US government will dry up (our government denies it but there are way too many sources that have stated otherwise over the years; what do you think Fast & Furious was really about...lol)
> Bunk. Medicinal marijuana was the camels nose stuck under the tent. It was a ruse, and a cynical one at that.
The highest proportion of glaucoma patients seem to be on the West coast for some reason.
My stepson has an aunt in California that is so addicted to pot she does it all day; she has a permit for medicinal marijuana. My stepson said that when he visits her she does it while he’s there which irritates me (he’s not a drug user and is in his twenties). She’s even admitted to him she doesnt have a health condition (or glaucoma) but has the permit so she can do it. This woman is in her late 60’s for heavens sake. She was a flower child in the sixties. Go figure.
A government center- once again taxpayer involvement.
I have no problem with the war on drugs because I’ve had family members mess up their lives, their health, their finances for drugs and then the taxpayer is stuck paying the price for theses family members drug abuse.
Dude, hemp = love man. The founding fathers all smoked it. Hemp was the top cash crop. pffftttt, eeer.. dude, we would be better if we all just relaxed the laws and allowed states to tax it man, they would make boku money dude. Seriously dude, I have headaches and the only way it can be helped is with ganja. I don’t like putting any of that man-made poison in my body so I’ll just smoke this unfiltered, unregulated black tarry product laced with unknown chemicals because it’s safer because it comes straight from mother nature man.
I’ve been hearing this nonsense my whole life. I’ve never seen seemingly healthy people have so many ailments that can only be alleviated by pot. Medical was just an excuse for potheads and now it’s decriminalized, what’s next? I’m looking forward to the “tax boom” we will all enjoy from legalizing it.
Maybe it’ll have to be spent on research for studies about how bad this stuff is and how much it needs to be regulated and filtered to prevent obesity and lung disease. Maybe we can have images of nachos and black lungs on the front of the boxes and the THC will has to be monitored and capped at a certain level.
In ten years, people will agree that it should have just been left alone.
I think the worst and most corrupt thing that came out of the Reagan administration were the Asset Forfeiture laws. Reminds me of an Aesop fable, the Eagle and it’s feather. Asset Forfeiture was a great idea in theory, but in the hands of Bureaucrats it becomes a tool of oppression used to leverage ourselves from our Liberties, and there will always be Bureaucrats.
I don’t like or support drug cartels. There are many recreational drugs I don’t like or care to use or care to have others use, but in the end, it’s not my business.
In the end I think it’s appropriate for the Government to limit the sale, possession and use of these types of drugs, but not prohibit in toto. Under the common welfare clause they have the right to regulate and limit the providers, the sellers and the users, but prohibit.
Not very, but then most folks are now educated in schools with "standards" dictated by the feds, so there aren't too many bright people left.
And clearly our current drug laws saved them.
The problem in your story is the fact that we have laws that force contributing members of society to give to those who CHOSE to do dope, i.e. theft. If someone CHOOSES to fail, and doing dope is clearly making that choice, then I shouldn’t have to pay for their stupidity. Freedom comes with responsibility.
That means I shouldn’t have to pay with my money for their housing and food, with my money for overactive and overreaching “law enforcement”, but especially not with my God given rights or with my freedoms.
I'm guessing that you WILL have a problem with the WOD the day after your first no-knock raid....
Yep, when the feds come to arrest the low level pot users, the county sheriff should be there to arrest and expel the feds.
We need a precedent set where any law that a state makes that isn’t an enumerated power of the Congress (Art I Sec 8) takes precedent over federal regulation.
Since that section of the Constitution doesn’t cover “substances”, state law is supreme via the 10th amendment.
(I’m not in favor of pot use. But I AM in favor of standing up to the feds and putting them in their cage.)
My friend just died of pancreatic cancer. He found great relief smoking pot.
It’s a free country if people want to smoke it (even if they are not sick) I say have at it.
The state of Washington says that the amount that will go into the coffers is 550 million which is enough to pay the entire year of the Police department which means that they should be able to lower everyone’s property taxes right??? lol.
I was thinking hypocritical, but it is very puzzling.
OK, here are the first five paragraphs from the first link...
Guess what? The District Court ruled in favor of the sheriffs. In fact, they stated, Wyoming is a sovereign state and the duly elected sheriff of a county is the highest law enforcement official within a county and has law enforcement powers exceeding that of any other state or federal official. Go back and re-read this quote.
The court confirms and asserts that the duly elected sheriff of a county is the highest law enforcement official within a county and has law enforcement powers EXCEEDING that of any other state OR federal official. And you thought the 10th Amendment was dead and buried not in Wyoming, not yet.
Bighorn County Sheriff Dave Mattis spoke at a press conference following a recent U.S. District Court decision
(Case No. 2:96-cv-099-J (2006)) and announced that all federal officials are forbidden to enter his county without his prior approval
If a sheriff doesnt want the Feds in his county he has the constitutional right and power to keep them out, or ask them to leave, or retain them in custody.