Marijuana prohibition

Reply Mon 12 Nov, 2012 01:07 am
With the states of Colorado and Washington being the first to enact legalization of marijuana laws, and the federal government having solidified its power to criminalize marijuana through the Supreme Court's 2005 decision in Gonzales v. Raich, it seems that the issue will center around whether the federal government has the power to coerce state law enforcement to enforce the federal law.

Another thing that might happen is that legalization will eventually be pursued by all of the states, and the federal law will be repealed without a fight.

In the words of Harvard Law professor, Noah Feldman, in his Bloomberg opinion piece:

If the federal ban on marijuana is here to stay, that leaves the question of the federal government’s capacity to enforce its laws. In practice, the feds cannot go after small- time growers in any serious way, to say nothing of users. Could they enlist state law enforcement to enforce federal law? The health-care decision says that Congress cannot threaten the withdrawal of major funding, and earlier precedent involving gun control says that the federal government may not commandeer state resources. So any federal effort to make states enforce antidrug laws would be subject to legal challenge.

The upshot is that de facto legalization of marijuana might occur even if the federal government never takes part. There will be no dramatic headline, as there would be for a same-sex marriage decision. But the will of the people will prevail, and the Supreme Court will not stand in the way.

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Reply Mon 12 Nov, 2012 01:20 pm
Infra, quite an embarrassment to the Fed isn't it
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Reply Mon 12 Nov, 2012 06:39 pm
Well, the Obama Administration has taken an approach to prioritize the Justice Dept's. resources to "go after things that are really doing folks damage," but at the same time they've aggressively gone after medical marijuana dispensaries in several of the states that have legalized it.

But medical marijuana is a different issue than legalization of marijuana.

How will the federal government react to the precedent set by the states of Colorado and Washington?
Reply Mon 12 Nov, 2012 07:03 pm
It is going to be an interesting thing to watch. We went the smart way, and added it as a Constitutional amendment to our Constitution.

I think this is going to be a win win for CO. It is really going to push the issue of states rights.
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