There’s a crisis of federalism happening in Colorado and Washington state since both states voted this month for moving toward marijuana legalization. Possession of less than an ounce of marijuana in Denver would be legal at the state level but illegal at the federal level, and nobody is sure what exactly that means.
The Post, in an editorial today, quickly dismisses the options of nullifying the federal law and sending federal agencies after legal-in-that-state tokers. Instead, the editorial board proposes a plausible-deniability, unofficial sanction of the state regulations — no big rule change, just a shift of priorities, much like the Justice Department’s decision not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act while essentially waiting for the courts to strike it down.
As can be expected, most of our commenters find this essentially wussy, an unnecessary contortion on the way to fuller, national legalization that everyone sees coming in the years ahead.
FergusonFoont says the only legal problem with marijuana is where it’s illegal:
The reason that marijuana is illegal today is that it has been illegal for a while. There is no actual reason worthy of the name for its continued illegality. The laws against it damage more lives than its sale, possession and use ever could, even in theory, and they introduce into its market the aspect of violence, and its undeserved reputation as a “gateway drug,” that would be utterly eliminated by its legality.
aahpat sees marijuana legislation at the root of bigger political issues and says politicians need to pay attention because pot is more popular than they are, even when they win:
Keeping pot illegal keeps millions of poor and/or minority Americans in prison and out of the polling booth.
Keeping drugs illegal is a very effective act of economic warfare being waged by the Jim Crow conservative white population upon the poor and minorities of America. Richard Nixon and the Dixie-crats knew this when they colluded to create the Jim Crow Drug War in 1971. It siphons countless billions of dollars in economic vitality out of these communities while at the same time criminally disenfranchising enough members of the community to neutralize the electoral empowerment effects of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Consider, in 2008, Massachusetts gave more than 65% of its votes to a pot reform initiative while giving only Barack Obama 62%.
Also in 2008 there were more than 55 million pot smokers in America. More than 18% of the United States population.
In Colorado this year Obama received 50% of the vote. Pot legalization received 53.3%.
scientist1 says any foot-dragging along the path to legalization emboldens people who have been deceiving us all this time:
This editorial is OK as far as it goes, but it studiously avoids the central issues. The War on Drugs is a political campaign, the most important weapon in the culture war of the last fifty years. It should be viewed — and attacked — as such.
The campaign of falsehoods and distortions about cannabis is closely related to the anti-scientific falsehoods being promulgated in particular by Rs with respect to global warming, evolution,and other issues.
Concern for sobriety must be balanced with a concern for the fundamental freedoms of the citizen. The Republicans don’t get this. The Democrats don’t get this. The Washington Post doesn’t get this.
As a result, the Beltway will continue to be surprised by the inexorability of the drive to restore freedom to the citizenry of this country. The go-slow approach advocated by the Post is a failure. The admin should move to reclassify cannabis immediately.
maddog420 has a very good reason this is an urgent concern:
Until cannabis is rescheduled, human clinical trials cannot happen. This is immoral, unethical, and unconscionable. The AMA says it is medicine. 6000 years of anecdotal evidence says it’s medicine. Shame on you, DHHS, FDA and DOJ. Quit practicing medicine without a license. Arrest suffering not patients!
But PostScript doesn’t think that’s true — she finds human clinical trials happening in America — but it looks like they have to be through the National Institutes of Health and/or National Institute on Drug Abuse, and so are subject to high regulation.
PamDB sees this as an opportunity for local farmers:
Grow local and put the Mexican drug operations out of business.
ticked hopes a whole industry will develop around American weed:
Imagine a new USA market- gourmet marijuana . . . grown in the USA and exported to the world.
Replacing the 40+ year failed drug war insanity and incarceration of American citizens and hundreds of thousands around the world killed and over $2 trillion wasted we could become the largest exporter of gourmet marijuana and employ millions and bring in untold amounts of tax dollars...
There is NO DOWNSIDE to legalized and regulated marijuana!
ffrey63 just has to rain on everyone’s local, gourmet, economy-boosting utopian parade:
Well, thanks to Colorado, big pharma will now be able to sell marijuana too — or do you think that they will stay out of it out of the goodness of their hearts?
So chalk it up as another point on the GDP.
PostScript has had some pretty wild dreams while hopped up on antihistamines, so she’s not excessively bothered by giving marijuana to Big Pharma. They’re doing fine with Benadryl and L-tryptophan, after all.