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Will the Feds Come After Legal Pot in Washington and Colorado?

Society & Culture  (tags: abuse, activists, americans, culture, education, ethics, freedoms, government, law, media, Marijuana, politics, rights, society )

- 1959 days ago -
Since it became clear last month that recreational marijuana initiatives would pass in Colorado and Washington, the big question has been: Will the Feds come after these states?

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Kit B (276)
Friday December 7, 2012, 5:19 pm
(Photo Credit: Shutter Stock)

Since it became clear last month that recreational marijuana initiatives would pass in Colorado and Washington, the big question has been: Will the Feds come after these states?

Under federal law, recreational marijuana use is still illegal. But now that the American people (in two states, at least) have made it clear they support legal recreational marijuana use, the Feds have to make a choice about whether to lay down the law – the federal law, that is -- or respect voters' choices.

The New York Times had a story yesterday about this issue. It noted that “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.

Indeed, legalizing marijuana for recreational use is popular among Democrats, but also among the majority of citizens as a whole in at least two states. It was controversial enough when the Feds were raiding medical weed facilities in California; just imagine the outcry if they try to go after full marijuana legalization that the citizens of Colorado and Washington voted for.

Meanwhile, legal marijuana advocates are waiting for the ruling to be handed down in the Americans for Safe Access v. DEA case, which went to the Federal Appeals Court back in October . According to Americans for Safe Access, the case “is an appeal of the DEA’s rejection of a petition filed in 2002 seeking to change the placement of marijuana as a Schedule I drug per the Controlled Substances Act. Based on the scientific evidence, ASA and our fellow plaintiffs feel that it is simply untrue that cannabis is a drug with a ‘high potential for abuse’ and ‘without accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.’” The case represents the first time in two decades that the science of medical marijuana has been considered by federal courts, and the ruling could have huge implications: The loser is expected to appeal to the Supreme Court, which could lead to huge changes in federal marijuana laws.

So will the Feds accept that the tide is turning? It looks like we’re about to find out.

Lauren Kelley is the activism and gender editor at AlterNet

mag.w.d. Aichberger (34)
Friday December 7, 2012, 5:57 pm
i, for one, would be rather surprised, if they didn't
after all,
Why does not government legalize marijuana?
Because this would be the sane thing to do!


JL A (281)
Friday December 7, 2012, 7:05 pm
They didn't and don't respect medical marijuana--cases in CA since election...

Arielle S (313)
Saturday December 8, 2012, 7:52 am
LOL, Nyack, I do believe you've hit the nail on the head - Monsanto will find a way to take it all over, charge big bucks, and genetically alter it in some weird way, too. Sigh

Jim P (3257)
Saturday December 8, 2012, 9:24 am
The feds should just simply butt out of MaryJane issue in Washington & Colorado, period. In other states too where it might become legal per voters.

After all, the War on Drugs, their Drug Policy is a bust, a failed policy. Their policy has, for years been a waste of tax dollars. The cartels continue to "grow", so to speak. Take away the illegality of MaryJane and the cartels start loosing part of their hold on the MaryJane issue.

Just a thought, the feds go after MaryJane especially in California where the voters made it legal
for medical MaryJane to be dispensed by state law. The Feds have been here and shut many of them down and arrested people too.

In another, but hotly contested issue, is the Roe v. Wade, the historic Supreme Court decision overturning a Texas interpretation of abortion law and making abortion legal in the United States. My question is why the feds do not go after the states that are trying to abolish clinics which perform abortions in addition to other medical cares like Planned Parenthood. Why don't the Feds protect those clinics? After all, abortion is legal per Federal Law.

As for "Monsanto" getting into this as a GMO plant - What they will try to is modify the MaryJane plant to cause a fast growing cancer in the body, lungs. Then, those people who have smoked their GMO, heavily modified MaryJane, will need to rely on big pharma for medications. Hmm... Just a thought...

Ty, Kit.

Elle B (84)
Saturday December 8, 2012, 10:11 am
TY Kit. What if Pres. Obama had been arrested and/or sentenced when he experimented? Or even the non-inhaler...Global Bill? Now i could say the same about George W. ... or could i? Probably not, because Poppy would have pulled some strings, bucks, slight of hands and whooosh..G.W.B.'s illegal inkings would fade to invisible. . .doubt if B.H.O. would have experienced similar results...or even W.J.C. Which leads to the blatant and depravedexample of New York's crazed Stop 'n Frisk bookwork-- ends up providing vastly disproportionate numbers of mostly male youth of color with life-time adult criminal records ... most begin with small amounts of marijuana for personal use or some other trumped up minor charges. For the most part drug laws are RACIST inspirations... in both origin and enforcement. It's time to remedy the racism. Initial efforts may be awkward but so be it. Profits and power should not be at the expense of the vulnerable...period. Washington State needs to take the lead further and get good minds on this pronto...there are working international models to draw from [pos. and neg.] Industrial hemp should have never been outlawed either...time to get that mess off the books as well...that legislation has been stalled for decades [ working models are just across the border...] This is just a piece of a very rigged game that needs to be set straight. . .Feds need to sit tight and stand in place. . . [ Sidebar innuendo: a vast array of excellent in place cardio [et al] workouts and routines are available .... that would very beneficial for feds et al] War On Ass-hat...more like means of manipulation. NOTE: Agree with good points on GMO/Big Pharma, J.C-D. We are capable of better sustainable solutions...if we bother and are not obstructed by the usual profit-mongering suspects.

Theodore Shayne (56)
Saturday December 8, 2012, 11:48 am
Two things about "Barry" in that he was writing "King Barry" in the wet sidewalk cement outside of his "high"school and secondly he was groomed by the Trilats under Zbiggy from a young age. Had he been arrested I'm sure the charges would have been expunged from his record very quickly.
Per GWB we all know he liked his coke. It is also alleged that he was in Brownsville Texas across the river from Matamoros; the implication being that he had dealings with the drug czar and cult leader there
Adolfo Constanzo. HL Lucas claimed he was trained by a death cult there around the same time. I always found it odd that HL Lucas was the only criminal pardoned under the governorship of Bush.
Were we to know the truth about our leaders and their predilections such as bestiality; pedophilia; bisexuality; murder; collusion etc. we wouldn't vote for them.

Jae A (316)
Saturday December 8, 2012, 1:40 pm
First...Pic looks like a leaf a dance friend of our gave us off one of her plants...she's 78 ~ and grows some primo cannibus near San Diego. We are currently building a green house for our next years personal 'medical supply' needs.

Feds. best back off now ...waste of time and it and go forward Obama , not backasswards on this now that these states have said yes to legal cannibus for all.

What we need is a war on Monsanto ! ..before they come up with that 'brand' and another monopoly ~

Jae A (316)
Saturday December 8, 2012, 2:01 pm
I smoked my first in about 1966 or 67..became a reg. weekend smoker by around 1970/71.......became an almost daily[evenng/weekend] toker by 1973...haven't been to a doctor since 1972. Think there might be a connection between the two :-) ..Mac and I sure as hell do.

Jae A (316)
Saturday December 8, 2012, 2:05 pm
Oh yeah, almost forgot to say...Puffpuffpass to all ~ and now it's my nap time :-). Well it is Saturday.

Heidi Aubrey (16)
Saturday December 8, 2012, 2:50 pm
I really don't understand why people feel the need to alter their mind(drugs or alcohol) so to let loose of their faculties, act like idiots and pose a danger to others when driving under the influence for "their right to get high". I guess its their right to lose all short term memory, inhale as much or more tar than cigarettes, and loose normal motor skills so they can only function in minimum wage jobs where no real thought or complex decision making is involved. Maybe spending the days sitting on the couch going "ooooooh" at the pretty lights on t.v. is somehow fulfilling life.

Jae A (316)
Saturday December 8, 2012, 3:21 pm
Good health is a good reason for the rest of your comment I can only's Saturday...chill out my opinion what you have said in your comment is just a cartoon image/version which is much the opposite of the reality of cannabis using/users. True their are strains for relaxing..really relaxing... but there are also strains for focusing and being active...while helping ones health over all.

It's a Bummer :-)...I think... that some go with the cartoon version over the benefits,which personal enjoyment is certain one but only one of it's benefits........ in my opinion. People act like idiots and pose a danger to others who aren't high on anything so what's your real point ? T 69 years of age my functions are ok...I dance with total control so apparently my motor skills are short term memory is fine,so I've been told, as is my long term memory. We are in the home imporvement business..labor intense at tmes..up on ladders for hours at a time some days, for one...teach dancing as another friends with their building projects...and we are about to add one night a week as food venders at our local weekly street festival...but yes...there are times we just enjoy looking at pretty lights...while at other times..enjoying dancing under spot lights or by candle again..where is all that you are saying come from...? Something you read / heard or was that derived from personal experiences ? If not by personal experiences then I can see why you don't understand why people consume/partake cannabis for the multipul reasons they do, nor what the real effects from it actually to the varying strains available ...Just say'n.

Jae A (316)
Saturday December 8, 2012, 3:24 pm
I actually believe that you might have alcohol consumtion and pharmed/prescription drugs mixed up with that of cannabis Heidi..jusss say'n.

Kit B (276)
Saturday December 8, 2012, 3:31 pm

Give it up Jae. Some people do believe things about Pot that are not true. Yes, Pot can be used to get high, unlike alcohol they do not become aggressive. As for driving - generally I don't want any one that is high driving, but those using marijuana are far less likely to cause a dangerous accident. Unlike any other plant this one is extremely beneficial to both humans and animals, and more important it is beneficial to our planet.

. (0)
Saturday December 8, 2012, 3:31 pm
The laws that apply to operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of any drug such as alcohol should apply to those under the influence of marijuana. Don't misunderstand as I'm all for legalizing marijuana and pardoning those felons who are only guilty of non-violent crimes. It is Saturday so put tunes on and enjoy. I don't use drugs at all either regardless of whether they're legal or not. That's my choice and if you want to imbibe and aren't hurting anyone; that's yours.

. (0)
Saturday December 8, 2012, 3:33 pm
BTW I do hope that the FEDS remember that there is such a thing as state's rights? Oh, I forgot; there was a Civil War over that very thing wasn't there? Of course it didn't Lincoln so why should it stop Obama and the boys.

Kit B (276)
Saturday December 8, 2012, 3:46 pm

States rights does apply in this discussion but for every one to have a choice, to use or not. It must be a Federal law, and that may be coming sooner rather than later. People are not as naive as they once were about any of the illegal drugs. Anyone that wishes to can do some real research and find out facts verses propaganda.

Personally, I would end the very expensive and useless war on drugs. Anyone that wishes to can get drunk as a a lord with the blessings of the alcohol and tobacco lobby, therefore the blessings of the US Federal government, such hypocrisy is unseemly and the "War on Drugs" is a foolish expense we can not afford.

Thanks - I sent out Green Stars where and when I could.

Yvonne White (229)
Saturday December 8, 2012, 3:54 pm
"Will the Feds come after these states?" Of course! They busted State licensed Medical Dispenseries in CA. & other states - why Wouldn't they screw with recreactional users???

Kathy B (106)
Saturday December 8, 2012, 4:16 pm
Since 2003 The Seattle Police Department themselves have officially told the public that minor marijuana possession has been the lowest enforcement priority for the Seattle Police Department, so in sense, the voters have just backed them up.

After the law passed the district attorneys in King and Pierce counties (the largest counties in the state) removed something like 400 more minor possession cases from their caseloads, saving the taxpayers money and allowing for more serious crimes to be brought to court faster.

There are many benefits of M.J. being legal!

Lois Jordan (63)
Saturday December 8, 2012, 4:35 pm
Just a few weeks ago I read that there is presently a decision pending in DC on whether to take cannabis off Schedule 1. It was placed there for purely political reasons back in the 70's during the Nixon Admin. I don't know if a decision has been made, or if the discussion is ongoing. But, this is the MOST crucial element in the war on medical absolute game-changer. Reading this, I thought maybe Obama was waiting for that decision.
BTW, cannabis works wonders for migraines.....

pam w (139)
Saturday December 8, 2012, 7:34 pm
Yes, can definitely help with migraines AND menstrual cramps!

It's an HERB, people! A plant.....just like the basil, rosemary & cilantro I grow in my garden! It's NOT a chemical concocted by some dope czar! It's a PLANT!

Imagine if the government told you that growing your own cilantro is illegal?


Brad N. (0)
Saturday December 8, 2012, 10:04 pm
Has anyone read about cannabis oil curing cancer...fact or fiction???

jo M. (3)
Sunday December 9, 2012, 12:26 am
But Pam, when was the last time you heard of someone getting high on basil, rosemary, or cilantro? It's not exactly the same. So long as the dopeheads don't use it in public, and stay off the roads, away from machinery, away from any form of public work entirely, and the states can make some money taxing it and fining the lawbreakers, everyone should be happy. Well, maybe not the ones who will still get fired from their jobs if their employers catch them with it in their system, but I suppose one must have priorities. Also feel sorry for the kids of drunks and potheads.

Gloria picchetti (304)
Sunday December 9, 2012, 1:21 am
The feds should go after real criminals instead of potheads.

Cheryl O (82)
Sunday December 9, 2012, 8:37 am
Oh yes indeed they will. Takes money out of their pockets because if you are aware of the funding on the war on drugs u know exactly what I mean, they wont make marijuana legal, which Im not sure how you can even put laws and restrictions on A PLANT that grows in the ground thats older then government itself, not to mention throw someone in prison over it, HOWEVER you can go get all the drugs you need at the drs offices, which will compleatly destroy ones life, addiction is promised with these things, but if you have a federal label that once deadly drugs is now OK FOR YOU TO GO GET AT THE PHARMACY and end up selling your children for drugs or killing yourself cuz the addiction possesses you in a very nasty way, I for one know for absolute certainty this happens anyhow marijuana is the most effective medication on earth, proven thousands of times over, its all about money,greed, and control, walgreens AMERICAS DRUG dealer right across from Mcdonalds in every city in the country.

Cheryl O (82)
Sunday December 9, 2012, 8:43 am
drug companies make 20 times more profit then any fortune 500 business in the world and there you have it

Jae A (316)
Sunday December 9, 2012, 11:02 am
Simple rule of thumb, so to say...*use not abuse*...goes for many things in life from food intake to relationships.

Kit B (276)
Sunday December 9, 2012, 11:13 am

That joM must be in the top five of low information comments. Indeed Jae, with most things in life - abuse is also a choice.

Thanks to so many of you that have bothered to learn the facts in this ongoing national "debate". Green Stars sent when possible.

Jae A (316)
Sunday December 9, 2012, 11:19 am my opinion .

What Ca. law makers wanted was for people to be allowed to grow their own for personal use..but the realization that many can not grow their own due to various ability and so forth it only seemed reasonable to have somewhere that those who can not grow their own to be able to buy it..without having to do so 'on the street' basically. Thus came the concept of dispensaries. Problems came from that of course..some not licensed..not paying taxes if not a communal/charity based outlet and so forth. Large growers selling to unauthorized persons and so forth. Time will work out all these details ....or so that is the 'they' say. We shall see. :-).

Hope everyone had a pleasant weekend doing what they enjoyed doing. For us it was ...dancing and puffpuffpass....both of which are proven to be very ...healthy activities :-).

donald Baumgartner (6)
Sunday December 9, 2012, 1:12 pm
Mixed emotions on this one!!!

jo M. (3)
Sunday December 9, 2012, 5:04 pm
Well, Kit, your comment just put you down there scraping the bottom of the barrel. What could you possibly disagree with in my comment?

marie C (163)
Sunday December 9, 2012, 5:31 pm
I agree with pot for medicinal purposes if anything can make a painful end easier take it but at the end of the day its like alcohol it affects different people in different different ways
My only experience of seeing multiple pot smokers was in Jamaica many were brain dead and most had no teeth this was in a village outside of Montego Bay A very multi cultural community The pot was called Ganja and apparently was very probably different to what is being discussed here I am not pro pot but not knowledgeable enough about it to get into a serious discussion
Jae is one of my favourite people on C2 thoughtful intelligent and kind so it obviously does him no harm.

Kit B (276)
Sunday December 9, 2012, 6:07 pm

Jae is indeed a darling treasure. I've read about this for years and without legalization we can not move forward on the important issue of developing the cannabinoids, which have shown amazing results in treating cancer and many other diseases. Marijuana use for recreation has shown no real physical effects, some do suffer with a psychological addiction. Who can say those people would not be addicted to aspirin? Though not often discussed, but the THC is far more effective in juicing method than the smoking method. For direct treatment it is not smoked and the THC, is not needed for the cannabinoids to be useful. The US government owns the patents on the cannabinoids in Marijuana - a very cheap but effective medicinal plant.

Joanne Dixon (38)
Sunday December 9, 2012, 9:00 pm
Medical marijuana has been in Colorado about as long as in California, and the Feds did not come after us - just California. I have heard it said it's because Colorado did a better job of keeping track of the dispensaries, but I wouldn't bet any expensive body parts on that myself. It might have been because we were lower profile - or, we may simply have kept a lower profile because the Feds didn't come after us. Well, we shall see.

Kit B (276)
Monday December 10, 2012, 8:01 am

There are a few news reports already out there that discuss the need for the Federal government to back-off. The real irony here is that those who claim to want a smaller government with less direct interference in personal choices are often the first to be against legalization of marijuana and against a woman's right to chose even birth control.
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