Let States Legalize Marijuana, U.S. Conference of Mayors Tells Feds


It has been seven and a half months since residents of Colorado and Washington voted to legalize marijuana, and so far the Obama administration has not responded in any substantive way, although Attorney General Eric Holder keeps promising a policy statement "soon." Yesterday the U.S. Conference of Mayors, meeting in Las Vegas, weighed in on the side of federalism, unanimously endorsing a resolution declaring that "states and localities should be able to set whatever marijuana policies work best to improve the public safety and health of their communities." Accordingly, the mayors say "federal laws, including the Controlled Substance Act, should be amended to explicitly allow states to set their own marijuana policies without federal interference." Until that can be accomplished, the mayors urge President Obama to "reexamine the priorities of federal agencies to prevent the expenditure of resources on actions that undermine the duly enacted marijuana laws of states." The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2013, introduced by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) in April,  would take the decision away from Obama administration by barring federal prosecution of people who grow, possess, transport, or sell marijuana in compliance with state laws. 

The mayors' resolution also directly criticizes marijuana prohibition as "costly and ineffective," saying it enriches violent criminals, results in racially disproportionate arrests, and diverts resources from "programs that more effectively serve the public and keep our cities safe from serious and violent crime." It suggests that decriminalization can allow states to "more effectively and responsibly control marijuana use and sales among adults in their jurisdictions in a way that reduces costs and crime and improves public health and safety." And it notes that polls indicate most Americans, including opponents of legalization, believe the federal government should not try to stop states from making that policy choice. In a similar expression of deference to state voters' choices, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who opposed Washington's legalization initiative in November, last week joined other members of her state's congressional delegation in signing a letter urging Holder to leave state-legal marijuana businesses unmolested. 

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10 responses to “Let States Legalize Marijuana, U.S. Conference of Mayors Tells Feds

  1. I wonder what their play is. Are they waiting until after the midterms for some reason? Or just before them? Are they enjoying the uncertainty or taking bids from this lobby or that to go one way or the other? Or are they just completely uncertain how to deal with states that take it upon themselves to legalize marijuana?

  2. “states and localities should be able to set whatever marijuana policies work best to improve the public safety and health of their communities.”

    Well its better than what we have already, but I don’t agree with this.

    1. Theoretically it allows localities to *increase* the penalties for drug possession, up to execution, if they so desire.

    2. This thinking is antithetical to the principles enshrined in the constitution. Individual liberty is paramount – if you want to curtail that liberty in any way, no matter how slight, you need to put forth a damn good evidence backed reason for it. As such the default should be that localities can *not* choose their own drug control policies, rather they should not be free to choose *any* drug control policy.

  3. Is this the same conference of mayors that was shocked… SHOCKED when Greg Nickels didn’t win another term, and didn’t even get a top-two showing in the primary?


    Yep, same group.

  4. But… WA wants an answer! Give them an answer now! Please, please, they want your divine blessings!

  5. Let States Legalize Marijuana, U.S. Conference of Mayors Tells Feds

    “Fuck You Right in the Ass, Feds Tell U.S. Conference of Mayors.”

  6. And in other news, ManBearPig does fastest 180 in history of world!

    Al Gore: I love you Obama, moar carbon credits, please, oh great messiah!

  7. SOunds like a plan to me dude.

  8. Holder:
    “Bow before you speak, vermin!”



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