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TWOD (The War on Drugs)

by on December 7, 2012

Two states passed laws allowing the possession of marijuana last month.  The Federal government, though, is happy to remind you that use of marijuana is illegal under federal law.  Or maybe the Federal government is just bluffing?  After all, “[t]he article goes on to explore some potentially extreme options with no indication that these specific options are being considered.  This appears to be a blatant political trial balloon using the New York Times to see what kinds of reactions there are and what political fallout might come from action… or inaction.”

Besides the inherent political fun of running trial articles to get a public reaction, what realities might encourage or prevent the government from “action… or inaction”?  Well, marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance under the Controlled Substance Act.  This means that

A. The drug has a high potential for abuse.
B. The drug has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States
C. There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug under medical supervision.

Laughable as that is, since eighteen states and the District of Columbia now allow it for medical use, that’s still the legal classification for marijuana.  But wait, we have a president.

[Obama’s] own life and career prove that this substance is no more potentially damaging to a human being than alcohol, which is not only legal but marketed to us with abandon. The future coalition he has built – especially its Millennial base – will splinter. Maybe even some libertarian Republicans will seize the issue and champion federalism consistently for a change.

But the main reason the president should instruct the Justice Department that this is not an area for discretionary prosecution is that choosing to focus on pot-prohibition in states that have legalized it defies reason. One of my core arguments for Obama has long been his adoption of what I consider pretty reasonable, if always debatable, policies. He is not an extremist, proposing laws and regulations that are designed to make a cultural point or wage a cultural war; he’s a pragmatist, trying to fix existing problems.

I’m not a big fan of marijuana – or pot (or weed) – and I’m always wishy-washy on federalism — on whether the government or the states should have the final word — on many issues.  But I don’t see why this is a priority of the federal government.

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From → Law, US Politics

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