Jacob Sullum on Federal (Dis)Respect for State Marijuana Laws at Forbes


Smoking a joint

Last week, writes Reason's Jacob Sullum, nearly 10 months after voters in Colorado and Washington decided to legalize marijuana, the U.S. Justice Department finally responded. Its announcement, which took the form of a memo to U.S. attorneys from Deputy Attorney General James Cole, promised neither acceptance nor confrontation, saying only that the Justice Department probably has better things to do than prosecute newly legal marijuana growers and sellers, provided state regulation is strict enough to allay federal concerns.

This conditional forbearance was widely interpreted as a "green light" for legalization. But anyone familiar with the Obama administration's inconsistent, disingenuous approach to medical marijuana has to wonder whether the Cole memo truly signals a newfound respect for state policy choices.

Read the rest of "There Are Reasons To Doubt The Feds' Newfound Respect For State Marijuana Laws" at Forbes.

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  1. first?

    1. …um …
      Dave’s not here, man.

  2. If a state fails to adequately deal with these issues, Cole said, the Justice Department may yet decide to prosecute state-approved suppliers or “challenge the regulatory structure itself.”

    That’s pretty much designed to fail, since federal, state or local law enforcement has been historically unable to hit any of the “enforcement priorities” the Justice Department requires to leave states unmolested. For instance, when has any police force been capable of “preventing the growing of marijuana on public lands” in the past? In fact, drug laws don’t prevent anything; they just punish when caught.

    The Cole memo is a trap.

    1. The Cole memo is a trap.

      And a perfect example of what the law has become; whatever they want it to mean. Sure, you can go ahead and do your MJ thing right up until it becomes useful for someone in power to bring the hammer down on you for it. Piss off the wrong person, some prosecutor looking to improve his election chances, someone in law enforcement likes your stuff, whatever.

  3. If you need to be convinced that Twitter is ultimately evil:

    Not too late to delete that one. RT @daveweigel Pacific Rim #mysexlifeinmovietitles

    ? Matt Welch (@mleewelch) September 5, 2013


  4. I don’t know if this post is the Evening Links After Dark, but I’ll just drop this here

    Most people would consider radical libertarianism and communism polar opposites: The first glorifies personal freedom. The second would obliterate it. Yet the ideologies are simply mirror images. Both attempt to answer the same questions, and fail to do so in similar ways. Where communism was adopted, the result was misery, poverty and tyranny. If extremist libertarians ever translated their beliefs into policy, it would lead to the same kinds of catastrophe.
    Like communism, this philosophy is defective in its misreading of human nature, misunderstanding of how societies work and utter failure to adapt to changing circumstances. Radical libertarianism assumes that humans are wired only to be selfish, when in fact cooperation is the height of human evolution. It assumes that societies are efficient mechanisms requiring no rules or enforcers, when, in fact, they are fragile ecosystems prone to collapse and easily overwhelmed by free-riders. And it is fanatically rigid in its insistence on a single solution to every problem: Roll back the state!

    The projection in that second paragraph is especially strong.

    1. That’s a nice exercise in fallacious argumentation.

    2. I like that it actually cited Somalia as an example.

    3. Pretty standard conflation of “cooperation” and “do what we say or we’ll fucking crush you.”

    4. On the up side all of this hate and misrepresentation that’s starting to come our way seems to me that somehow our arguments are gaining traction.

    5. Of course Nanny Bloomberg would push this nonsense. He’d lose out big time with any change in the Statist Quo.

  5. Fuck these fascist pricks and everyone who ever voted for or enforced any anti-drug law. They don’t give a shit about state policy or what’s good for people. They only care about power and money. There were memos and statements about respecting local policy on medical mj as they were ratcheting up raids and arrests and ruining more lives.

    I’m a little pissed right now because I just got turned down for a purchase of allergy meds even though there’s no way I should be over the limit. I already spent the entire month of July with bronchitis and I’m sick of this stupid shit. No intelligent person can claim that any of this does any good, yet the local and fed pols clamor for more and more restrictions on something that someone somewhere might do something they don’t like with. I was trying to look up limits online and found only story after story of this with both reporters and commenters saying it was often or commonly used to make meth. Often? Bullshit, it’s often taken to help people who suffer from allergies, you idiotic, mendacious fucks.

    1. Meanwhile have your doctor write a prescription (to which the limits don’t apply). Failing that, get ephedra (Ma Huang) from an herbalist shop and make tea from it.

  6. This is gonna be an issue in the 2016 presidential race. Assuming (and yeah I know what a lying mendacious fuck BO is) that this memo is relativity complied with, someone is going to ask the next candidates whether they will withdraw this memo or at least what their positions are. Secondly, this memo is gonna inspire even more weed relate entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs with wads of cash who will be hiring lobbyist.
    IMHO, by November 2016, 25 states will have either outright legalization and/or medical weed. And there will likely be hemp related ballot initiatives in even more states.
    Candidates, being the cowards they are, seeing the tea leaves, are not going to be able to preach a draconian approach. However, again because they are fucking cowards, they won’t come out and agree the weed prohibition is futile and should be discarded.

  7. Its time for McDonald’s to wind in this franchise horseshit and make all outlets corporate owned with uniform policy. I just ran across a McDonald’s that- get this- “doesn’t take coupons”, ones that the company itself put out and at least partially reimburses the store for. I know, right? I went to the McDonald’s because I had a coupon, I might as well get tacos or gook food if I want to pay full price.

    1. Considering the relative concentration of McDonald’s (there are three in my small burg alone), I’d just go to another one.

      Fuck ’em.

      But – being in the auto bidness – I completely understand the frustration with franchise arrangements.

  8. As I wrote last week, the feds will show respect because that’s how the mainstream media have spun it. The major media make reality, they don’t just report it.

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