Friday, December 7, 2012

Federal Statism Considering Challenging States Rights, Initiated by Democratic Administration...

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
-vs- Tyranny

More federal power statism being exerted into the role that many believe ought to be reserved for the "Several States." I find myself thinking on just how the rEpublican right, and the social conservatives, both whom should support Washington and Colorado on this will ultimately come down.

WASHINGTON — Senior White House and Justice Department officials are considering plans for legal action against Colorado and Washington that could undermine voter-approved initiatives to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in those states, according to several people familiar with the deliberations.

Even as marijuana legalization supporters are celebrating their victories in the two states, the Obama administration has been holding high-level meetings since the election to debate the response of federal law enforcement agencies to the decriminalization efforts.

Marijuana use in both states continues to be illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act. One option is to sue the states on the grounds that any effort to regulate marijuana is pre-empted by federal law. Should the Justice Department prevail, it would raise the possibility of striking down the entire initiatives on the theory that voters would not have approved legalizing the drug without tight regulations and licensing similar to controls on hard alcohol.

Some law enforcement officials, alarmed at the prospect that marijuana users in both states could get used to flouting federal law openly, are said to be pushing for a stern response. But such a response would raise political complications for President Obama because marijuana legalization is popular among liberal Democrats who just turned out to re-elect him.

“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.”

Federal officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter. Several cautioned that the issue had raised complex legal and policy considerations — including enforcement priorities, litigation strategy and the impact of international antidrug treaties — that remain unresolved, and that no decision was imminent.

The Obama administration declined to comment on the deliberations, but pointed to a statement the Justice Department issued on Wednesday — the day before the initiative took effect in Washington — in the name of the United States attorney in Seattle, Jenny A. Durkan. She warned Washington residents that the drug remained illegal.

“In enacting the Controlled Substances Act, Congress determined that marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance,” she said. “Regardless of any changes in state law, including the change that will go into effect on December 6 in Washington State, growing, selling or possessing any amount of marijuana remains illegal under federal law.”

Ms. Durkan’s statement also hinted at the deliberations behind closed doors, saying: “The Department of Justice is reviewing the legalization initiatives recently passed in Colorado and Washington State. The department’s responsibility to enforce the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged.”

Federal officials have relied on their more numerous state and local counterparts to handle smaller marijuana cases. ... {Read More}

Looking forward to the debate that will without a doubt occur. Casting my vote for the States Right contingency. But undoubtedly a sticky wicket. Perhaps for both sides.

Via: Memeorandum


  1. As a Christian, a conservative and a former republican, many folks would be shocked to learn that I think it may be time to legalize pot. We waste too many government resources fighting it, only to make the crooks richer, as did prohibition. At the very least, we need to make felony convictions a thing of the past. We ALSO need to be able to grow it for fiber.

    1. As a fiscal conservative, social libertarian, and individual who respects ALL peaceful religious beliefs and practices while at the same time being an atheist himself I do believe you have summed it up quite well.

      That or we should institute a new prohibition on alcohol. You know, just to be consistent and non contradictory in practice.

    2. Great post, Les. The DoJ has another problem as well - both states, though more Washington, have rather extensive regulations that circumvent Federal enforcement prerogatives, as stem from treaties, interstate commerce, and various relative state criminal laws.

      Each state approached the issue rather similarly, but with differences that could be federal tests in the future.

      Obama does have a problem here, in that this is an example of congressional and state overreach. I'm sure the Obama administration would be happy to end the War on Pot, but state and congressional representatives have a lot of prisons and police stations at stake. And the workers in those industries vote for who ever happens to support their industries - utterly arbitrary, unnecessary, state-created industries. They know who's buttering their bread. Yes, the issue can be GOP-leaning partisan on the national level, but at the local level, it is almost completely non-partisan.

      This is about political patronage for an industry that is doing NO GOOD WHATSOEVER. The War on Pot is obviously counter-productive, unnecessary, arbitrary, and just plain cruel. Pot is as American as beer and potato chips. Imagine if we criminalized beer and potato chips?

      This is yet another example of too little direct democracy and too much representative government. Sometimes the more "representative" the more damaging and corrupt. It happens. It's good that we live in a country that leaves that question open at any given time. It's complicated and tough, but it's good. Let's hope this nationally stifling War on Pot comes to an end soon, thanks to the people rising up and saying "That's Enough."


    3. I would also like to add that the legalization of marijuana would cramp gang activity. Also, this subject should remain a state issue.

  2. I am in favor of the individual's right to go to hell in a handcart, if that's what he really wants to do. For every lazy, selfish, hedonistic fool bent of self-destruction there are dozen of decent, well-meaning potentially productive souls ready, willing and able to take his place.

    When it comes to spending public resources, I say, "Let the morons self-destruct, we have no time or money to waste on feckless, worthless individuals."

    However, in the face of looming fiscal disaster, our hopelessly unrewarding foreign entanglements in the Middle East, increasing threats to weaken and ultimately eliminate our sovereignty and territorial integrity by the UN, the metastatic growth of Red China's military power, and an educational system run amok that seems determined to prepare the young not only to accept our pending serfdom, and regard is as righteous and enlightened, but become vigorous advocates for our dissolution as a great power, issues such as marijuana, gay marriage and even abortion seem trivial, indeed.

    I frankly think these "social" issues have been floated by The Oligarchs as a series of RED HERRINGS to throw us off the scent of our true enemies.

    ~ FreeThinke

    1. You might be right FT. They are however real issues that like it or not need to be addressed in a rational and reasonable manner. Something a large share of the society /culture seems unable to accept.

  3. I am changing my mind on the pot thing. Partially due to this blog, but that is only a small part of it.

  4. The Feds are so behind the times on this issue and it is frightening to think how hard their iron hammer may come down on these states (the majority of voters therein) that voted against federal marijuana drug law (i.e. for legalization). I'm sure this is more of a "power" thing where the power brokers in DC don't want to see federal supremacy over states scaled back on ANY issue, including pot consumption.

    1. You pretty much hit the nail squarely on it's head Tim!

  5. I don't smokey th' weed, and I've no intention on smokin' the' weed. Free choice, personal responsibility.

    If any State, in exercising its Sovereignty, says "Hey, we all about smokin' sum of dat ganja, wut!", then so be it. If said State put it to a public vote, honestly inquiring of its citizenry as to what they want as an expressed majority, then go for it.

    State's rights vs. Federal rule? No contest. States should win each time, unless it's something like legalizing murder at will. Obviously there are unspoken boundaries and limits. Also, said States should have the foresight to make proper accommodations and preparations for the fallout, if any, from their decisions. In Washington State, the first time someone wrecks their car and kills others due to being blazed-up and stoned, what will Washington State do? These are things I am hoping they have considered, now that they are adding weed to the same list as alcohol. Legalizing weed for recreational smoking creates new possibilities/challenges for legislators. I'm hoping they have contingency plans in place.

    State's rights, all day long, folks. Let each State determine its own sense of morality through the expressed will of the majority. Indeed, indeed.

  6. A fact that so many refuse to recognize: there is a financial connection between the legal ourt system and the drug-rehab industry.

    Furthermore, a significant portion of court revenues consists of fines related to drug use (abuse). And, of course, many attorneys make their livings by defending those brought up on drug charges.

    Follow the money trail!

  7. 100 years of progressive jurisprudence has already settled this issue. The Feral Government can do any damned thing it pleases.

    (Not talking about you here, Les)

    Every time I hear a 'liberal' squeal about this issue, I chuckle.

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