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Published On: Mon, Dec 10th, 2012

Obama administration working hard to overturn legalization of pot in 2 states

New legislation in Washington state went into effect this week that legalizes for the first time in ages the possession of marijuana. Federal law still says otherwise.

President Obama discussed smoking pot in his book and this photo circulates the web leading people to believe he is a supporter of marijuana legalization. Now that two states moved forward on legalization, the Obama administration’s response or lack there of, is under watch.

Thursday the state law in Washington gave protection to citizens in contradiction to the US Federal rules which are on the books. Marijuana advocates in the Pacific Northwest, the lifting of the ban is a pretty big victory, but no faces challenges from the Justice Department.

Since voters in Washington and Colorado opted on Election Day to legalize small amounts of marijuana for recreational use, the Department of Justice has been relatively quiet over how it will handle what is likely to become a heated debate regarding states’ rights. In an article published by The New York Times this week, reporter Charlie Savage says senior White House and Justice Department officials are already attempting to tackle how to handle the new marijuana laws, and are amid deliberations right now that will determine when, where and how national law enforcement can intervene.

“Neither states nor the executive branch can nullify a statute passed by Congress.  In enacting the Controlled Substances Act, Congress determined that marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance.  Regardless of any changes in state law, including the change that will go into effect on December 6th in Washington State, growing, selling or possessing any amount of marijuana remains illegal under federal law,” United States Attorney for the Western District Of Washington Jenny Durkan’s office said in a statement.

The AP describes the scene in Seattle:

The crowds of happy people lighting joints under Seattle’s Space Needle early Thursday morning with nary a police officer in sight bespoke the new reality: Marijuana is legal under Washington state law.

Hundreds gathered at Seattle Center for a New Year’s Eve-style countdown to 12 a.m., when the legalization measure passed by voters last month took effect. When the clock struck, they cheered and sparked up in unison.

The Department of Justice has still not finished reviewing either law, saying only that their enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act remains “unchanged.”

“It’s a sticky wicket for Obama,” said Bruce Buchanan, a political science professor at the University of Texas at Austin, saying any aggressive move on such a high-profile question would be seen as “a slap in the face to his base right after they’ve just handed him a chance to realize his presidential dreams.”

The White House website discusses pot legalization:

Legalization would further burden the criminal justice system

  • Legalizing marijuana would increase use of the drug and, consequently, the harm it causes, thus adding to the burden on the criminal justice system. Arrests for alcohol‐related crimes, such as violations of liquor laws, public drunkenness, and driving under the influence, totaled nearly 2.7 million in 2008. Marijuana‐possession arrests under current laws in 2008 totaled around 750,000.
  • Most people whose only crime is marijuana possession do not go to prison. A survey by the Bureau of Justice Statistics showed that 0.7% of all state inmates were behind bars for marijuana possession only (with many of them pleading down from more serious crimes). Other independent research has shown that the risk of arrest for each “joint,” or marijuana cigarette, smoked is about 1 arrest for every 12,000 joints.

Legalization would do little, if anything, to curb drug violence

  • Marijuana accounts for only a portion of the proceeds gained by criminal organizations that profit from drug distribution, human trafficking, and other crimes, so legalizing marijuana would not deter these groups from continuing to operate.
  • Under the most commonly proposed legalization regime – one that imposes high taxes on marijuana – violent drug cartels would simply undercut legal prices to keep their market share. With increased demand for marijuana resulting from legalization, these groups would likely grow stronger.

 

 

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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Displaying 7 Comments
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  1. ya ok says:

    sarah your wrong you mite not know most of are foods are GMO foods witch causes CANCER and are water KILLS brain cells thanks to FLORIDE and milk has bad chemicals because PAIN KILLERS are given to cows marijuana DOSE NOT effect the BRAIN look it up norml.com or norml.org and the PATCH can lead to DEATH and POT DOSE KILL ANYONE YOUR just IGNORANT and not well EDUCATED PEOPLE THESE DAYS im telling you

  2. Jacob McNew says:

    “Legalization would do little, if anything, to curb drug violence

    Marijuana accounts for only a portion of the proceeds gained by criminal organizations that profit from drug distribution, human trafficking, and other crimes, so legalizing marijuana would not deter these groups from continuing to operate.
    Under the most commonly proposed legalization regime – one that imposes high taxes on marijuana – violent drug cartels would simply undercut legal prices to keep their market share. With increased demand for marijuana resulting from legalization, these groups would likely grow stronger.” That’s total bull shit. 1. Just because marijuana isn’t the ONLY thing that gangs make money off of, doesn’t mean there is no point in taking that extra money away from them.. and 2. WHY THE FUCK WOULD PEOPLE GO THROUGH “‘VIOLENT’ DRUG CARTEL” WHEN THEY CAN GO TO LEGITIMATE BUSINESS? They wouldn’t. You just can’t think outside of the box. You’re stuck on prohibition being the right way to handle these things. Alcohol prohibition made everything worse. So did drug prohibition. But we are just used to it. Something really needs to be done.. LEGALIZE IT!

  3. CommonCents says:

    Legalizing will cause an increase in use? Great! I hope you are right. I have stopped drinking and only vaporize marijuana. I have no more hangovers, no more black outs, and no more worrying about alcohol poisoning. It is a personal choice and the government should not tell people what to do with their own body. But in all honesty, even if it is ilegal, people will use marijuana anyways. Marijuana does not cause harm, it’s people. And if most people that get caught with marijuana dont go to prison, then why the hell is it ilegal?

    • Sarah says:

      I am sure that POT is not the only thing that could have helped your issue caused by your inability to not say no to alcohol to start with …… there are many other solutions to simple health issues such as …. accupunture, homeopathic legal food based vitamin, patch, counceling, community support, & self responsibility and commitment! Something most pot users are too out of it to comprehend! Anyways, the purpose of medical pot was designed for elderly ….. who are actually at a point in their lives to make these decisions. GET A LIFE ….

  4. Chris says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed your opinionated and un-educated article. Please, keep me laughing.

  5. Whitney says:

    “Legalizing marijuana would increase use of the drug and, consequently, the harm it causes, thus adding to the burden on the criminal justice system. Arrests for alcohol‐related crimes, such as violations of liquor laws, public drunkenness, and driving under the influence, totaled nearly 2.7 million in 2008. Marijuana‐possession arrests under current laws in 2008 totaled around 750,000.”

    I call BULLSHIT!! When’s the last time you saw a drunk beating up their spouse, being belligerent, or robbing someplace?

    Now, think of the last time you saw a pothead do any of that . . . . . or, even THINK about doing that . . . . . They might point their fingers in a gun shape at their buddy that ate the last of the Pringles, while trying not to laugh about it . . . . .

  6. Middle Man Mack says:

    Drug dealers and the police have all my money. I am stuck in the middle of the white houses bullshit.

    I am 100% me 0% you. you have no power over me on this particular topic. federal workers, your imaginations are scrambling to rationalize why your right, when your wrong.

    human being from north carolina

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