Cannabis News Stop the Drug War!
  Let California Voters Lead The Way
Posted by CN Staff on October 22, 2010 at 06:28:38 PT
By Edward Schumacher-Matos 
Source: Washington Post 

cannabis California -- Another federal-state showdown is brewing, but this one has nothing to do with immigrants. It has to do with pot. Californians may very well vote in November to legalize recreational marijuana, though the Obama administration, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and others in the political establishment are trying to scare them off by warning that legalization violates federal law.

While late-night comedians have been having a field day with the pot measure, it arguably would have more profound effects on the nation's social and criminal policy than will who wins the midterms, an election that certainly has more genuine elements of looniness.

President Obama opposes legalization. Attorney General Eric Holder, in a letter to nine former heads of the Drug Enforcement Administration who have been lobbying against the measure, wrote that: "We will vigorously enforce the [federal Controlled Substances Act] against those individuals and organizations that possess, manufacture or distribute marijuana for recreational use, even if such activities are permitted under state law."

But Californians shouldn't back down. They should vote yes on Proposition 19 and lead the nation out of the morass created by prohibition that has been so costly in lives, taxes and personal freedom.

There are good arguments against legalization. It could lead to more pot use, especially among young people. New breeds of marijuana get stronger, and abuse of them affects health. Many users of more powerful drugs started with pot. Criminal gangs will continue selling other drugs, so legalization won't get them off the streets.

But so much in life is a balancing act. To my thinking, the costs of prohibition are much higher than the risks of legalization.

Nearly half of all Americans have smoked pot; almost all are doing just fine. Abuse of alcohol and so many other things has equal or worse health effects. The strength of marijuana can be regulated. And you have to start somewhere in taking the profit out of drugs and shrinking the size, power and violence of drug gangs.

This latter point is key. California offers a chance to experiment with one drug in one state. Pot is semi-legal there anyway. Laws allowing "medical marijuana" use are widespread, and last month Schwarzenegger signed a law downgrading possession of less than an ounce from a misdemeanor to an infraction -- making it like a traffic ticket.

The conflict between state and federal law could create legal chaos -- but only if both sides make it so.

Proposition 19 calls on the state essentially to ignore federal law when it comes to marijuana. Both the federal and state governments would continue to target traffickers of other drugs. The federal government could go after small-time pot consumers, growers and sellers, but it doesn't have the street resources for much of that. Washington already looks the other way on medical marijuana.

In the Arizona immigration case, the administration sued to stop the implementation of a law in which the state tried to actively do something that was a federal responsibility. The California case would involve a state trying not to enforce a federal law. It is unclear how far Washington can go in forcing it to do so.

In a 1992 case pitting the federal government against New York over implementation of federal radioactive waste regulations, the Supreme Court ruled: "We have always understood that even where Congress has the authority under the Constitution to pass laws requiring or prohibiting certain acts, it lacks the power directly to compel the states to require or prohibit those acts."

Washington can't "commandeer" a state, the court said, though the precise limits of federalism remain a work in progress.

Few remember that the end of alcohol prohibition began with states. A dozen voted to amend or repeal their prohibition laws before the federal government finally did.

The maddening beauty of American federalism is that states are left to experiment on many things in what is a national cauldron of government creating best practices. Obama would do well to hold the administration's fire and seek to collaborate with California voters on drug-use solutions.

Edward Schumacher-Matos is syndicated by the Washington Post Writers Group.

Source: Washington Post (DC)
Author: Edward Schumacher-Matos
Published: October 21, 2010
Copyright: 2010 Washington Post Company
Contact: letters@washpost.com
URL: http://drugsense.org/url/K1hR1vAg
Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/

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Comment #8 posted by Florida on October 22, 2010 at 17:25:19 PT:

It is all about Jobs
Because the plan to create jobs is failing I guess they figure out how to waste a lot of tax money and create a lot of federal jobs arresting non-violent people and nevertheless increase their moderm slave work force. How ironic.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #7 posted by Hope on October 22, 2010 at 16:04:35 PT
Comment 4
Well said, Lucas. Well said.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #6 posted by Hope on October 22, 2010 at 15:54:48 PT
Comment 2
That sounds so wonderful.

Some people are so lucky.

*sigh*

I love carbonation.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #5 posted by runruff on October 22, 2010 at 15:00:38 PT
I say...
Marilize Legajuana!

If not now ..then ? tommorrow or...the next day? Maybe next week...or?

Whatcha doin' say, about April?

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #4 posted by Lucas on October 22, 2010 at 13:39:44 PT
Cynical but Hopeful
> if the author fills the piece with lies it seriously damages their credibility

I agree, but am no longer expecting truth in news. Everything has spin.

What I do like is that while this reporter tried to give equal time to both positions, the lies about children, potency, health, gangs, vs the right of Californians to not enforce Federal law.

There have been a number of cases in California that highlight the fact that State peace officers are NOT empowered to enforce Federal law in contradiction of State law.

But within this past week, the LA Sheriff announced exactly that, he will enforce Federal law, even if Prop 19 passes.. And the LA District Attorney, Cooley, is running for STATE Attorney General. These guys have been actively colluding with the Feds, to subvert California law..

So there are powerful prohibitionist forces at work, trying to stuff the Marijuana Genie back in the bottle.. Im just glad they are having to work so hard.

The momentum of the popular vote is in direct contradiction to the powers that be. For example, we have a Governator, and a State Senator campaigning against Prop 19. That cant be right, that elected officials get to sway the peoples vote on any issue.. Happens all the time..

Im not totally cynical, after 40 years of using Cannabis under Prohibition, I still hope for legalization. Shaffer comission, Jimmy Carter, Clinton, Obama, even Bush 2, gave me hope, but as of today, the DEA is still in control of prohibition. Even ex Drug Czars get to capture headlines. They never learn, lies for a lifetime, they think they're saving children.. from imagined bogey men.

We live in a country that uses covert paramilitary forces, disinformation, manipulated elections, and even prohibition, to insure that the people stay under control. Im just glad to live free of them, by luck.

Have another hit, pray, do good deeds, take care of your loved ones, and Vote, because it pisses them off, and might help.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #3 posted by schmeff on October 22, 2010 at 12:10:49 PT
A Complete Fool?
That seems overly harsh. This isn't the statement of a complete fool:

"But Californians shouldn't back down. They should vote yes on Proposition 19 and lead the nation out of the morass created by prohibition that has been so costly in lives, taxes and personal freedom."

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #2 posted by konagold on October 22, 2010 at 12:07:13 PT
FoM
carbonated pot pop

http://dixieelixirs.com/

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #1 posted by Sam Adams on October 22, 2010 at 09:55:42 PT
why the lies, always the lies
for a second there I thought we might have a MSM postive editorial, but alas, it's only an op-ed.

Why this??

"There are good arguments against legalization. It could lead to more pot use, especially among young people. New breeds of marijuana get stronger, and abuse of them affects health. Many users of more powerful drugs started with pot. Criminal gangs will continue selling other drugs, so legalization won't get them off the streets."

There is not a scintilla of evidence - ANYWHERE - that the first statement is true - ALL evidence points to LOWER usage among minors in the regulated model.

"New breeds of marijuana get stronger" is there any evidence linking this statement to fact? Is the herb in Holland stronger than America? hell no, west coast USA herb has been the most potent for decades.

Then a little Gateway lying is thrown in for effect, and a statement that tries to convince us that 50% smaller criminal gangs are no better than 100%-sized criminal gangs!

I'm sorry but when I sit down to read something if the author fills the piece with lies it seriously damages their credibility. This author is clearly a complete fool.

[ Post Comment ]


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