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Article posted Nov 12 2012, 5:40 AM Category: General Source: StoptheDrugWar.org Print

Feds Unsure What to Do About State Legalization

by David Borden

A Washington Post story by Sari Horwitz reports that federal officials don't know what they are going to do about marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington:
"I really don't know what we're going to do," said one high-ranking law enforcement official involved in the decision who was not authorized to speak publicly.
Attorney General Eric Holder had ignored a letter signed by all the past DEA chiefs last September urging him to speak out against the ballot initiatives. That may have been a political decision to avoid losing Democratic support in Colorado, the article suggests:
"It was a battleground state," said [another] administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk publicly.
Horwitz's otherwise good article repeated the same fallacy we have seen crop up in other news reports of late, the idea that states can't do this because of federal law, a fallacy that I predicted here and have already noted here. The article states:
The most likely outcome will be that the Justice Department will prevent the laws from going into effect by announcing that federal law preempts the state initiatives, which would make marijuana legal for recreational use, law enforcement sources said.
Perhaps it's just a typo, and I don't know what the sources told Mr. Horwitz, but no matter what the legal and practical outcome of all of this, it is not the case that DOJ can preempt a state's law by making an announcement about. They can ask a court to preempt the laws, and then the court will decide. Significant legal precedent indicates that Congress cannot force states to criminalize conduct they don't want to criminalize, anymore more than states can force Congress to lift such criminalization -- as I've pointed out, in 16 years of state medical marijuana laws, no federal prosecutor has ever tried to do so. Maybe they'll try now, and if so we'll see what the Supreme Court's inconsistent conservatives say and what the liberals say. But they've had plenty of incentive to go that route already, and for some reason haven't.

Not that the feds can't make a fight of things. As the medical marijuana battles show, they have ways to interfere. They can send vaguely threatening letters, implying without directly stating that state employees would be violating federal law by implementing regulations for marijuana, as US Attorneys in most medical marijuana jurisdictions have done. That could scare the governors, who could seek delays implementing the initiatives, which in turn would have to be addressed in court. The IRS could move against the new businesses, auditing and penalizing them under a tax rule that disallows most expense deductions for illegal enterprises. (The law bizarrely allows dispensaries to deduct the cost of marijuana itself, but not other things like payroll or rent.) They can make it hard for marijuana businesses to maintain relationships with banks. And of course they can raid any marijuana store that they choose to.

But none of that is the same as preempting the laws themselves. And none of it would stop people from possession marijuana whenever they want, legally under the states' laws, or in Colorado from growing it. This needs to be repeated as often as possible: Colorado and Washington's marijuana laws are different from federal marijuana law, but that doesn't mean they conflict with it; and not every conflict is legally impermissible. If federal law just preempted state law in that way, 18 states would not have medical marijuana today.





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Comments 1 - 4 of 4 Add Comment Page 1 of 1
Anonymous

Posted: Nov 12 2012, 9:28 PM

Link
6464 They could do something about it if they wanted to. Why is the minimum legal drinking age 21 in every state? Because the feds dangled the carrot of federal highway funds in front of them and tol;d them they couldn't get the funds if they didn't raise their drinking age to 21. So the states did because they had their hands out for the federal money. Well, the feds could do something similar with this. So why haven't they?
The feds don't want to solve the drug problem. They want the populace doped up. Remember how they concluded that John Lennon was so doped out of his mind that he wasn't a threat? Notice how certain states that have liberal marijuana laws, such as Colorado, also have some strict gun laws. They restrict guns but let people have dope. Why do you think that is?
It's sad that some here can't see where this is going. They think it's freedom, while the ultimate plan is really slavery.
Peter

Posted: Nov 13 2012, 5:15 AM

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81161 As soon as you're born they make you feel small
By giving you no time instead of it all
Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all
A working class hero is something to be

They hurt you at home and they hit you at school
They hate you if you're clever and they despise a fool
Till you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules
A working class hero is something to be

When they've tortured and scared you for twenty-odd years
Then they expect you to pick a career
When you can't really function you're so full of fear
A working class hero is something to be

Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV
And you think you're so clever and classless and free
But you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see
A working class hero is something to be

There's room at the top they're telling you still
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill
If you want to be like the folks on the hill

A working class hero is something to be
If you want to be a hero well just follow me


Quote : "Remember how they concluded that John Lennon was so doped out of his mind that he wasn't a threat?"

I guess that's why 'they' had their Manchurian candidate shoot him in the back ??
Anonymous

Posted: Nov 13 2012, 7:01 PM

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64134 Pretty simple y'all ain't going to do a thing about it!! It will be legalized everywhere!! Sorry cant ruin peoples lives anymore!! You know you hate that!!now focus on real crimes the easy train is pulling out of the station!!! To bad so sad for ya all I have to say is ho ho hee hee this is the life for me gfys
Anonymous

Posted: Nov 22 2012, 5:02 AM

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9885 Why don't you get your head out of your asses, quit giving the pharmaceutical companies a tax dodging hand job and start trying to make a profit from the one drug that doesn't pollute your water ways with chemical shit for once, jackasses! You might be able to pay off your outrageous debt by doing so, schmucks! But that could be a good thing and they most likely don't want us to have good things in the fucking world! Right ?


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