Marijuana Ballot Initiatives

It's November 19, and President Obama Still Hasn't Responded to Legal Pot in Colorado and Washington

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On November 6, voters in Washington and Colorado legalized recreational use of marijuana and granted their respective state governments the power to regulate and tax sales of the drug. It is now November 19, and President Obama has yet to acknowledge that a massive shift in drug policy happened on the same day he was reelected. 

At Obama's first post-election press conference, reporters declined to ask a single question about marijuana. Executive branch agencies have issued non-responses. The D.C. offices of the DEA and the Justice Department said their responsibility to enforce the Controlled Substances Act "remains unchanged." Seattle DEA Agent Jodie Underwood told Reuters, "The state law is not going to change how the DEA operates."

While the responsiblity for changing America's drug laws belongs to Congress, Obama has a role in that process. Without Holder and Obama, after all, the sentencing disparity between crack cocaine and powder cocaine would have never been reduced. 

Furthermore, members of Congress–Republicans and Democrats both–have already responded to the ballot initiatives, by introducing legislation to exempt Colorado and Washington from the Controlled Substances Act, and by asking the Department of Justice, the DEA, and the White House to respect the will of Colorado and Washington voters. 

This isn't going away. Legislators in Rhode Island and Maine–states that already have medical marijuana–are introducing legalization bills in 2013. The 2014 election will likely see more marijuana-related ballot initiatives.

If a more nuanced response is in the works, Obama should not only say so, he should be the one to deliver it. And because it's never too late to lead from behind, we'll be counting the days until he decides to do so. 

NEXT: War on Christmas Begins in Santa Monica

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  1. This isn’t going away. Legislators in Rhode Island and Maine–states that already have medical marijuana–are introducing legalization bills in 2013. The 2014 election will likely see more marijuana-related ballot initiatives.
    Of course it’s going away. If you hold your hands over your ears and sing ‘la la la’, nobody will notice that you are betraying what you said you stood for. Besides, your worshippers will excuse it as ‘too complicated’ or something.

    1. “He’s waiting until his third term, then he’s totally legalizing it. Just give him time.”

    2. Here’s something else for my liberal Facebook friends not to talk about.

  2. It’s almost like he’s a complete sack of shit or something.

    1. But is he a sack MADE of shit? Or a sack FULL of shit?

      1. Why the false dilemma?

      2. First, sacks cannot be made of shit

        Second, when one says sack of potatoes they never wonder if the sack is made of potatoes.

        Third, you say denim sack to describe a sack made of denim…not say sack of denim.

        1. Boots of Spanish Leather disagrees.

        2. First, sacks cannot be made of shit

          I’m not going to tolerate your defeatist attitude. We put a man on the moon and won the Cold War. We can make a sack out of feces.

          1. Send this suggestion to Mythbusters.

  3. The optimist in me believes the administration is going to take a low key approach by doing and saying as little as possible until 2014 when at least two more states vote to legalize (California, Idaho, Maine, New Hampshire, Oregon, ???). At that point polls will show 53-55% majority nationwide supporting legalization and a handful of states already taking the leap. Using this momentum the administration can justify implementing major reforms.

    The realist in me believes the administration is going to take a low key approach by saying as little as possible while cracking skulls at every turn. Aided by a media that seems apathetic to the hypocrisy, this should be easily accomplished with very little backlash.

    1. the realist in you is wrong. there won’t be any such cracking and any such crackage would get a lot of media attention. the media darling is mj. it’s been legalized by popular vote and the feds know the era of prohibition of same is OVER. writings on the wall. the realist sees this and recognizes it.

      1. Serious question, dunphy. As a cop, do you have some “inside information” in regards to Federal law enforcement and these state initiatives? You seem pretty sure that the Feds are going to back down. I sure hope you are right. Is there much communication between local PD’s and Federal law enforcement agencies/DOJ?

      2. DIAF

  4. I’m waiting for the drug war addicts to react.

    1. They don’t even know they have a disease!

  5. Has anyone in either Washington or Colorado been busted for possession by a federal agent yet?

    If “the responsiblity for changing America’s drug laws belongs to Congress”
    And “Furthermore, members of Congress–Republicans and Democrats both–have already responded to the ballot initiatives, by introducing legislation to exempt Colorado and Washington from the Controlled Substances Act”
    The what else does the President need to do right now?

    1. the legalization law hasn’t even gone INTO effect yet.
      granted, the feds almost never arrest for mere possession anyway

  6. he knows the writing is on the wall. the era of MJ prohibitionism is coming to an end. more and more states are going to legalize and the feds are going to go along because they have to.

    this is NOT going away, as riggs says. put a fork in MJ prohibition. it’s done. over. finished.

    1. The Federal government outlawed Four Loko and is about to outlaw Monster and 5 hour energy.

      Never underestimate the power of federal nannyism.

  7. He’s a very busy man.

  8. “What I specifically said was that we were not going to prioritize prosecutions of persons who are using medical marijuana,” Obama said. “I never made a commitment that somehow we were going to give carte blanche to large-scale producers and operators of marijuana — and the reason is, because it’s against federal law.”

    The president continued: “I can’t nullify congressional law. I can’t ask the Justice Department to say, ‘Ignore completely a federal law that’s on the books.’ What I can say is, ‘Use your prosecutorial discretion and properly prioritize your resources to go after things that are really doing folks damage.’ As a consequence, there haven’t been prosecutions of users of marijuana for medical purposes.”

    We won’t prosecute you for using medical/legal marijuana. We’ll just do everything in our power to make sure you can’t get it. And if we manage to seize some assets along the way, REVENUE BITCHES!

    1. “The president continued: “I can’t nullify congressional law. I can’t ask the Justice Department to say, ‘Ignore completely a federal law that’s on the books.”

      What a lying sack of shit

      1. It’s especially a lie, since he did precisely that when it came to the DoJ defending or not-defending DOMA in court.

  9. Just for you, Fosdick. From the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

    Two Belgrade residents were sentenced in U.S. District Court in Helena last week on charges of manufacturing marijuana and money laundering.

    Federal Judge Dana L. Christensen on Friday sentenced Randy Martin Leibenguth, 25, to three months in prison followed by nine months of home arrest. He was also ordered to forfeit $50,000 and work 150 hours of community service. He will be on probation for five years after his release.

    Stephanie Marie Gibson (formerly Leibenguth), 38, was given credit for five days in jail and will be on probation for four years. She, too, was ordered to forfeit $50,000 and perform 150 hours of community service.

    —–

    The investigation was a joint effort among federal agencies and local law enforcement including the Missouri River Drug Task Force, Bozeman and Belgrade police departments and Gallatin and Park county sheriff’s offices.

    Don’t worry, folks; your local law enforcement professional will NEVER take sides with the federal government in order to lock you in a cage and steal your stuff. After all, they work for YOU.

    1. completely not relevant to my point or my prediction. Montana has NOT legalized recreational MJ

      so, it’s completely irrelevant to my point

      if you are having a hard time grasping it, try some reading comprehension.

      for fuck’s sake, i have criticized the feds countless times for doing EXACTLY what they are doing in this case.

      PROSECUTING MEDICAL MARIJIUANA CASES

      this is a medical mj case, NOT a recreational case made legal by changes in the law

      hth

      here;’s a hint, btw. medical MJ among other things is opposed by big pharma to put it mildly.

      1. oh also…

        “On March 14, 2011, law enforcement officers seized 539 marijuana plants from the Leibenguths at 32 Dollar Drive and 892 plants from Z.Z. at 34 Dollar Drive. The group also had products containing marijuana including “edibles, lotions, lip balms, oils (and) soaps,” the statement says.”

        atfpapic, i am willing to bet that medical MJ law in montana does not cover the production of products like lip balms and soaps

        but regardless, this was not a recreational mj case pursuant to state law legalizing same, which was what my point clearly addressed.

        the war is over. more and more states will legalize and the feds are not going to go against them

        1. The group also had products containing marijuana including “edibles, lotions, lip balms, oils (and) soaps,” the statement says.”

          Jeebus, dunphy, are you really falling for that one?

          All sorts of perfectly legal products are made from “hemp”, including, wait for it, edibles, lotions, lip balms, oils (and) soaps.

          The pigs just threw that in there to get suckers to fall for their attempt to portray this as some kind of pot product manufacturing gig.

        2. I’m still wondering, BTW, why a copocracy that is perfectly willing to put the jackboot to legal medpot will refuse to do so for legal funpot.

        3. Bullshit. They aren’t going to go after individual users, but that’s never been an enforcement priority for the feds. Hasn’t stopped them from shutting down MMJ all over Cali. I’ll make a bet right here, right now: the first person to open a legal retail marijuana operation in Colorado will get shut down by the feds in under a year. Any takers?

          1. I’ll be more interested to see what happens in WA where the state will be opening the retail outlets.

            1. That state will back down in the face of federal threats is my take on that one. The WA AG will make supremacy clause noises and refuse to endorse whatever scheme is proposed.

              Colorado has more chance to get to the end game on busting individuals.

            2. My guess is they will never get off the ground and the Feds will first threaten to take the land and buildings where pot is sold…then they will take the land and buildings where the pot is sold.

  10. President Obama has yet to acknowledge that a massive shift in drug policy happened on the same day he was reelected.

    1) That’s because, from his perspective, there was no shift in drug policy.

    2) He has yet to acknowledge lots of things. What’s magic about this?

  11. He’s still in shock that marijuana received more votes in CO than he did. Add to that, states where marijuana was on the ballots had a much larger turnout of young voters. Marijuana legalization will prevail due to the demographics and not because it is the right thing to do. Young voters favor it and old voters don’t, but are dying off.

  12. You only need ask one question: is Gil Kerlikowske still head of the ONDCP?

    Yes? Then the administration has no plans to change its drug war policies.

  13. this is a medical mj case, NOT a recreational case made legal by changes in the law

    They were openly acting as licensed medical marijuana providers, based on:

    An initiative approved by the voters of Montana and regulations derived from that

    and

    “Assurances” from the Dreamboat-in-Chief that medical marijuana was not a high priority use of DoJ resources.

    But that’s okay; when the local police participate in business-as-usual marijuana raids in Washington and Colorado, I’m sure you will find a way, with your finely honed legal acumen, to justify their actions.

    Have a nice day, fuckface.

    1. C’mon, P, its perfectly obvious that cops who are ready and willing, nay, eager, to bring down the jackboot on legal medpot will refuse, on principle, to do so for legal funpot. Only a member of the bigorati would doubt this for a second.

    2. Dunphy said that people are hardly ever charged federally for just possession. The Montana case was for fairly large scale production. We already knew that the feds were still busting growers and retail sellers. Just saying.

  14. Let’s not forget the role of the IRS in squelching marijuana providers. They have already taken a position on “allowable business expenses”. There is no such thing.

    Who will rent property or loan money to purchase property when the feds are waiting to swoop in and seize it?

    What happens when the FDIC issues a directive saying they will revoke the charter of any bank which provides financial services to those involved in the marijuana trade?

  15. In all the Reason articles about this topic, there seems to be an underlying assumption that marijuana prohibition is the same as alcohol prohibition. But with alcohol prohibition, there was an alignment of business and public interest in wishing that prohibition to end. With marijuana prohibition, the pharmaceutical industry would like to see the prohibition continue as it sees potentially billions of dollars in revenue from cannabinoid based drugs. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that the Obama administration continues to fight against legalization as a payoff to the pharmaceutical industry for supporting Obamacare.

    1. What a cynical attitude :-). Yet you’re probably right.

      It’s a year later yet Obama, our King, continues to rule and ignore the will of the people who elected him…

  16. “Without Holder and Obama, after all, the sentencing disparity between crack cocaine and powder cocaine would have never been reduced.”

    Please. You are ignoring the real work on this matter, which has involved numerous pols from both parties, all the usual suspects in the anti-drug-war orgs, and grassroots activists. It was brought to The Big O and Holder with a bow on it. They originated neither the idea nor the final form of the sentencing change. It was politically expedient, so they glommed on to it. Damn glommers, anyway…

  17. I think it’s time we start legalizing Marijuana everywhere. Stop living in fear and start thinking about how great the future will be! LEGALIZE IT!

    Why don’t we just start legalizing it everywhere? Why are so many people still stuck in this FEAR stage…? Stop worrying, start hoping. LEGALIZE IT!

    If you live in a state where Marijuana isn’t legal yet and still want the same type of highs, I suggest checking out uIntoxicate.com. It has amazingly detailed legal highs reviews and where to get them without getting ripped off!
    Also! I’m starting up a new forum dedicated to my fellows stoners. Come on over and join the high conversations! We’re quite new, but VERY welcoming.

    CHECK IT: http://uintoxicate.com/
    STONER FORUMS: http://www.stonersofthestates.com/forum/

  18. I think this is not good for us, the drug is not good thing, why we need it?

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