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Marijuana Legalization: What Can/Will the Feds Do? [FEATURE]

In the wake of last week's victories for marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington, everyone is waiting to see how the federal government will respond. But early indications are that we may be waiting for awhile, and that the federal options are limited.

How will the feds respond to legalization? (justice.gov)
While the legal possession -- and in the case of Colorado, cultivation -- provisions of the respective initiatives will go into effect in a matter of weeks (December 6 in Washington and no later than January 5 in Colorado), officials in both states have about a year to come up with regulations for commercial cultivation, processing, and distribution. That means the federal government also has some time to craft its response, and it sounds like it's going to need it.

So far, the federal response has been muted. The White House has not commented, the Office of National Drug Control Policy has not commented, and the Department of Justice has limited its comments to observing that it will continue to enforce the federal Controlled Substances Act.

"My understanding is that Justice was completely taken aback by this and by the wide margin of passage," said Eric Sterling, former counsel to the House Judiciary Committee and currently the executive director of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation. "They believed this would be a repeat of 2010, and they are really kind of astonished because they understand that this is a big thing politically and a complicated problem legally. People are writing memos, thinking about the relationship between federal and state law, doctrines of preemption, and what might be permitted under the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs."

What is clear is that marijuana remains illegal under federal law. In theory an army of DEA agents could swoop down on every joint-smoker in Washington or pot-grower in Colorado and haul them off to federal court and thence to federal prison. But that would require either a huge shift in Justice Department resources or a huge increase in federal marijuana enforcement funding, or both, and neither seems likely. More likely is selective, exemplary enforcement aimed at commercial operations, said one former White House anti-drug official.

"There will be a mixture of enforcement and silence, and let's not forget that federal law continues to trump state law," said Robert Weiner, former spokesman for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). "The Justice Department will decide if and at what point they will enforce the law, that's a prosecutorial decision the department will make."

Weiner pointed to the federal response to medical marijuana dispensaries in California and other states as a guide, noting that the feds don't have to arrest everybody in order to put a chill on the industry.

"Not every clinic in California has been raided, but Justice has successfully made the point that federal law trumps," he said. "They will have to decide where to place their resources, but if violations of federal law become blatant and people are using state laws as an excuse to flaunt federal drug laws, then the feds will have no choice but to come in."

Less clear is what else, exactly, the federal government can do. While federal drug laws may "trump" state laws, it is not at all certain that they preempt them. Preemption has a precise legal meaning, signifying that federal law supersedes state law and that the conflicting state law is null and void.

"Opponents of these laws would love nothing more than to be able to preempt them, but there is not a viable legal theory to do that," said Alex Kreit, a constitutional law expert at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego who co-authored an amicus brief on preemption in a now mooted California medical marijuana case. "Under the anti-commandeering principle, the federal government can't force a state to make something illegal. It can provide incentives to do so, but it can't outright force a state to criminalize marijuana."

An example of negative incentives used to force states to buckle under to federal demands is the battle over raising the drinking age in the 1980s and 1990s. In that case, Congress withheld federal highway funds from states that failed to raise the drinking age to 21. Now, all of them have complied.

Like Weiner, Kreit pointed to the record in California, where the federal government has gone up against the medical marijuana industry for more than 15 years now. The feds never tried to play the preemption card there, he noted.

"They know they can't force a state to criminalize a given behavior, which is why the federal government has never tried to push a preemption argument on these medical marijuana laws," he argued. "The federal government recognizes that's a losing battle. I would be surprised if they filed suit against Colorado or Washington saying their state laws are preempted. It would be purely a political maneuver, because they would know they would lose in court."

The federal government most certainly can enforce the Controlled Substances Act, Kreit said, but will be unlikely to be able to do so effectively.

"The Supreme Court said in Raich and in the Oakland Cannabis Buyers Club cases that the federal government has all the power in the world to enforce the Controlled Substances Act," Kreit said, "and if they wanted to interfere in that way, they could. They could wait for a retail business or manufacturer to apply for a license, and as soon as they do, they could prosecute them for conspiracy -- they wouldn't even have to wait for them to open -- or they could sue to enjoin them from opening," he explained.

"But you can only stop the dam from bursting for so long," Kreit continued. "In California, they were able to stop the dispensaries at the outset by suing OCBC and other dispensaries, and that was effective in part because there were so few targets, but at a certain point, once you've reached critical mass, the federal government doesn’t have the resources to shut down and prosecute everybody. It's like whack-a-mole. The feds have all the authority they could want to prosecute any dispensary or even any patients, but they haven't been effective in shutting down medical marijuana. They can interfere, but they can't close everybody down."

As with medical marijuana in California, so with legal marijuana in Colorado and Washington, Kreit said.

"My guess is that if the feds decided to prosecute in Colorado and Washington, it would go similarly," he opined. "At first, they could keep people from opening by going after them, either enjoining or prosecuting them, but that strategy only works so long."

"I think the career people in Justice will seek to block Colorado and Washington from carrying out the state regulatory regime of licensing cultivation and sales," Sterling predicted. "A lower court judge could look at Raich and conclude that interstate commerce is implicated and that the issue is thus settled, but the states could be serious about vindicating this, especially because of the potential tax revenue and even more so because of the looming fiscal cliff, where the states are looking cuts in federal spending. The states, as defenders of their power, will be very different from Angel Raich and Diane Monson in making their arguments to the court. I would not venture to guess how the Supreme Court would decide this when you have a well-argued state's 10th Amendment power being brought in a case like this."

"Enjoining state governments is unlikely to succeed," said Kreit. "Again, the federal government has taken as many different avenues as they can in trying to shut down medical marijuana, and yet, they've never argued that state laws are preempted. They know they're almost certain to lose in court. The federal government can't require states to make conduct illegal."

At ground zero, there is hope that the federal government will cooperate, not complicate things.

"We're in a wait and see mode," said Brian Vicente, executive director of Sensible Colorado and co-director of the Amendment 64 campaign. "It's our hope that the federal government will work with Colorado to implement this new regulatory structure with adequate safeguards that make them comfortable the law will be followed."

While that may seem unlikely to most observers, there is a "decent chance" that could happen, Vicente said. "Two mainstream states have overturned marijuana prohibition," he said. "The federal government can read the polls as well as we can. I think they realize public opinion has shifted and it may be time to allow different policies to develop at the state level."

The feds have time to come to a reasonable position, said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance.

"There is no need for a knee-jerk federal response, since the states are not required to create a regulatory scheme quickly," he said. "And while anti-marijuana forces more or less captured the drug czar's office early in Obama's first term, they're at odds with other people in the White House and the Obama administration whose views may be closer to our own. I think the White House will be the key. It's very likely that the fact that Attorney General Holder said nothing about the initiatives this fall, unlike two years ago, was because of the White House. I don't mean the drug czar's office; I mean the people who operate with respect to national politics and public policy."

Sterling disagreed about who is running drug policy in the Obama administration, but agreed that the feds have the chance to do the right thing.

"Given the large indifference to drugs as an issue by the Obama administration, its studious neglect of the issue, its toleration of an insipid director of ONDCP, its uncreative appointment of Bush's DEA administrator, it's clear that nobody of any seniority in the Obama White House is given this any attention. Unless Sasha and Malia come home from school and begin talking about this, it won't be on the presidential agenda, which means it will be driven by career bureaucrats in the DEA and DOJ," he argued.

That's too bad, he suggested, because the issue is an opportunity for bold action.

"They should respond in a vein of realism, which is that this is the future, the future is now," he advised. "They have an opportunity with these two different approaches to work with the states, letting them go forward in some way to see how they work and providing guidance in the establishment of regulations that would let the states do this and ideally minimize the interstate spillover of cultivation and sales."

"As part of that, they should ideally move to rewrite the Controlled Substances Act and begin working in the UN with other countries to revise the Single Convention on Narcotics. Our 100-year-old approach is now being rejected, not simply by the behavior of drug users, but by the voters, many of whom are not drug users," Sterling said. "That would be a way that a wise, forward-thinking, statesman-like public official should respond."

That would indeed be forward-thinking, but is probably more than can be reasonably expected from the Obama White House. Still, the administration has the opportunity to not pick a fight with little political upside, and it has time to decide what to do before the sky falls. Marijuana legalization has already happened in two states, and is an increasingly popular position. The federal government clearly hasn't been in the lead and it's not going to be able to effectively stop it; now, if it's not ready to follow, it can least get out of the way.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Justice confuses the Justice department

...but give them time.  It's a new concept for them!

A common theme I've seen in discussion about this

A common theme I've seen in discussion about this, is that the federal government absolutely can prevent the commercial production and distribution of marijuana in these states, but that they can't do anything about the states not arresting for possession.

This, to me, makes the idea of them not cooperating with the states seem suicidal.  Think about it, if they step on the states' toes and don't allow the regulation aspect of this initiative, then they are effectively turning a legalization law into a decriminalization law.  This would be allowing the black market to run completely amok, and channeling huge amounts of money directly to illegal organizations.

From a tactical standpoint, it seems the feds will definitely try to stand in the way of these states.  It's a no-brainer, I mean.  Oh look, an attempt to turn drug dealing into a large scale business.  Easy target.  But from a strategic standpoint, preventing regulation and control by the state is undermining the entire anti-drug effort by feeding money to a criminal element and preventing the very safeguards and controls the laws were designed to implement from going into effect.  After all, A-64 and I-502 implement age restrictions for sales, and the general concept is keeping weed off the streets, and in a controlled environment where children won't have access to it.

It works for alcohol, as surveys show, most kids find it easier to get their hands on a joint than they do a bottle of liquor.  I have fond memories of being a high school student trying to get alcohol.  It always felt extremely risky.  That liquor store clerk was looking at you HARD when you were around his store, you never quite dared go in there yourself unless you were very dumb or very cocky.  You just had this overwhelming sense of dread, and had to play these ridiculous little games like pouring vodka into an empty water bottle in an attempt to hide it.

The one thing the feds should recognize is that these aren't "pro-pot" laws.  They are going to make it tougher for kids to get their hands on pot, IF the states are allowed to implement the regulations without interference.  I think people in these two states want to see these laws succeed enough that they are going to play by all the rules and help make the new system work.

Booze vs Pot

When I was in high school we had no problem getting alcohol--because a guy in his late 20's wanted marijuana. He bought our booze and we bought his pot. Problem solved.

Call or email the white house--tell them it's time to end this insanity!

4 more states trying to make

4 more states trying to make pot legal :) lol Omega

The feds aren't exactly known

The feds aren't exactly known for having a smart strategy in the drug war. They're mostly known for being heavy-handed and trying to score political points. Even if the game has changed, without interference from the political establishment, the guys at the DEA have never really gotten traction by controlling the market or reducing drug problems (primarily because they've never done either)---their points are scored by dope on the table. Having the feds arresting individuals for possession has historically tended backfire in terms of public opinion. With half the country supporting marijuana legalization measures of some form, I would be very surprised if the feds really started making a concerted effort to haul people off for a gram in their pocket---politically, it might accelerate a growing public opposition to the drug war.

On the other hand, it's probably in their best interest, politically, to more narrowly focus on unpopular targets. This doesn't mean they have to co-operate with the states, it means that they will have to make a mental calculation that factors in public opinion before they make a bust. If you have a license granted by the state that a retailer doesn't want, that will probably provoke a bust. If you have billboard advertising weed in Oklahoma, that will probably provoke a bust. Basically any excuse---but there has to be one.

That doesn't mean they'll co-operate with the states, it means they'll pretty much continue doing what they're doing. Any response whatsoever is likely to cost them; embracing the states will certainly cost them. My prediction is that they'll just pretend it didn't happen and prioritize based on whatever will keep the federal funding coming in.

Excellent

Very well done. By far the best written and most informational article I've read on the subject, Thanks for writing this.

"What Can/Will the Feds

"What Can/Will the Feds Do? ", The first thing that comes to mind, is take any part of the new State law to court, Federal Court, where the Judges are chosen in most situations, by Top State commercial interests or by Federal appointment by Federal Politicians which are elected by their continuants, top National commercial interests.

Perhaps they will even find a way to dump the issue into Homeland security which is excused from ANY, oversight. It has been done with the MJ on certain requests already. It makes a great black whole from which there is no way, once in.

One thing is certain, the 'ol "it's something we need to talk about.." will be tried as delay is always the tool of those whom are paid to do the job of obstructing, leaving those attempting to circumvent obstruction which do not have the advantage of Federal Tax Dollars to sustain their struggle are worn down.

Similar to this .............

I see parallels to a business I have been involved in for the past 4 years ......... electronic cigarettes. In 2008 when these devices first showed up in this country, the FDA did not take them serious and simply made veiled threats against the importation of them into this country. Yes they on occasion would seize shipments coming in from China but they did not have the resources to effectively put a dent in the slowly increasing demand. 

As the industry began to grow and gain steam, a few larger companies decided to fight back and they sued the FDA from attempting to squash the industry. The companies won in court and the electronic cigarette market has grown to the point where they are sold at most convenience stores throughout America. 

The point is ............ the FDA had their chance to step on this hard when it was in its infancy, didn't do it and lost their chance to stop it before it got really started. 

I see the exact same thing happening in marijuana industry. From the Feds perspective, there may have been a time when all this could have been stopped but those days are long gone and at this point it is too big to stop. Like the e-cig business many people worked tirelessly to keep the fight and the faith in the face of much adversity. It's times like these my faith in America's ideals come to light. Then I wake up from the dream ............

They never have and never will be able to control this plant

Its time for the feds to leave the states alone. The government has never been able to control the most useful plant on the planet and never will.. Food, clothing, shelter, energy, medicine, insight. Once everyone is able to grow this plant and as much as they want the price will be like corn or beans. There will no longer be a criminal element involved. Free the plant , free the people.

Texas

so with people like this running Texas with the Idea the War on Drugs can be won ,wow just wow.This was her reply after i sent a email

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison10:22 AM (25 minutes ago) to me Dear Friend:     Thank you for contacting me regarding efforts to legalize marijuana.  I welcome your thoughts and comments.      As drug use continues to rise in our country, especially among our youths, I believe we need to send a message that all illegal drug use is dangerous.  We can win the war on drugs, but we will not do so by legalizing marijuana or encouraging its use for any purpose.      Researchers have found that marijuana use can adversely affect brain activity and the respiratory system, lead to increases in heart rate and blood pressure, and impair critical skills related to attention, memory, and learning.  In addition, the harmful chemical in marijuana, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), has been linked to low birth weight and impaired motor development in children whose mother used marijuana.        I appreciate hearing from you, and I hope that you will not hesitate to contact me on any issue that is important to you. Sincerely,Kay Bailey HutchisonUnited States Senator 284 Russell Senate Office BuildingWashington, DC  20510

I got a bunch of those, too...

...and it sure does piss ya off to be disregarded by the person

who is supposed to be representing you.  But it still lets them know,

even if they respond with bullshit.  We're onto them.  Now they

know.  So what you did was not wasted effort, in my opinion.

Well done.

Drew B's picture

Lobbyists & Corruption

As usual Phil's reporting and sources are top notch. But I think we should not overlook two key problems: lobbyists and corrupt actors.

The last three Mexican Drug Czar’s

Mariano Francisco Herran Salvatti

• attorney general in Chiapas for more than six years, secretary of economic development, drug czar for President Ernesto Zedillo from 1997 to 2000

• about $12.5 million

Noe Ramirez Mandujano

• nation's top anti-drug official from 2006 until August 2008

• arrested in November on charges he accepted $450,000 a month in bribes from drug traffickers

Jose de Jesus Gutierrez Rebollo

• drug czar (fired in 1997), Herran's predecessor

• an investigation revealed he had received payments from the Juarez drug cartel

http://articles.cnn.com/2009-01-26/world/mexico.drug.czar_1_drug-czar-dr...

 

I think it's ludicrous to believe no one in any of our Fed agencies is on the take from either lobbyists or the drug cartels. In fact, I suspect the DEA itself is the most infiltrated of all. There’s no doubt in my mind people like former El Paso County Commissioner Willie Gandara Jr. are strewn throughout U.S. Federal agencies. I bet they are raging like crazy in committee rooms now, just like this: “Legalizing drugs is the coward practice of combating cartels, it is an insult to our men and women in law enforcement, and the laziest form of parenting…” Not long after saying that he was arrested on federal drug-trafficking charges. http://www.elpasotimes.com/ci_20024482 (Sorry to say but that story has now gone behind an obscene paywall.)

I feel positive the corrupt actors in law enforcement, politics, industry, etc… are worried their big investments in bribes and illegal drugs are about to drop in value like a brick, thus they will scream and shout like Willie above.

Pre-emption, legal theories," trumping"

Robert Weiner's comment :

"The Justice Department will decide if and at what point they will enforce the law, that's a prosecutorial decision the department will make."

goes to the heart of the problem of our "legal system" (since calling it a Justice system would be a lie).

In any criminal court there is a judge (representative of the State paid by the State) a prosecutor (representative of the State paid by the State), a hapless defendant (represented by paid counsel if he can afford it or "free" counsel paid by the State), and a JURY -- supposedly of one's peers, that is paid diddly and represents the people as distinct from "the people" which is a title of legitimacy that the State likes to claim, since, in theory, it serves at the pleasure of the people through the exercise of the travesties that pass as elections.

The Justice system can not enforce anything unless and until the JURY signs off on it. The jury is the only protection that an individual has against the naked aggression of the State. This is why "professional" jurists hate juries; they aren't under the State's control. It is also why all of their machinations and legal theories will come to naught. As soon as the majority of the people (and the last time I checked 2/3 is a majority) realize that they can stop ALL enforcement of these stupid drug laws by refusing to convict...the game is over.

Even in Federal court.

Write to your senators and representative now.

<b>Write to  your senators and representative now.</b>

Write your congressman

Write to your Senators and Representative to make marijuana legal. Absolutely and unconditionally legal.

 

 There are 7 groups that don't want to end the WOD

1 Conservative political and religious groups

2 Police and Correction officers unions (Excluding those in LEAP)

3 Liquor Industry

4 Tobacco Industry

5 Pharmaceutical industry

6 Owners of Privatized Prisons

7 The Drug Cartels.  

Additions

Business owners that can fire employees for positive drug tests with no unemployment payments or repercussions.

Insurance Companies that can deny claims based on failed tests.

Drug testing Labs.

Government itself that controls the masses through Drug Testing.

The list goes on and on...

2 more

The forced (court-mandated) rehab industry.

The competition to hemp, the cotton industrial complex and synthetic (oil-based) fiber related industries.

corrupt banks, judges, prosecutors, lawyers, politicians etc

and third rate comedians still mining some very stale jokes about weed.

Race and Drug Arrests

The statistics are staggering.  From memory, I believe that, in LA,

one is SEVEN TIMES MORE LIKELY to be arrested for MJ if you

are black, than if you are white.  And, right on down the line, all

across this great land of freedom, justice, and equality.

(Okay, sarcasm there, but still noble principles.)

 

How can the Justice Department accept such disparity without

comment or action?  Do they even notice?  WTF?

Does federal drug law "trump"or preempt state law?

"To trump" a law is not a legal term, so what Robert Weiner is saying is unclear. Article VI of the U.S. Constitution says that federal laws and treaties are the "supreme Law of the Land." This means that depending on the conflict between state and federal law, the state law does not apply.

The CO and WA initiatives are complex. The portion of the initiatives that says, "In our state it is legal to possess marijuana," means that state authorities can't prosecute a person 21 and older for possessing up to an ounce of marijuana. The federal government cannot directly invalidate that law and they can't make the state enforce federal law, as Alex Kreit noted. Theoretically the federal government could attempt to enforce the law directly with its own law enforcement officers, but it does not have the personnel, the prosecutors, the judges or courtrooms. CO had only 157 federal drug cases out of about 600 total criminal cases in the whole state in FY 2011. So that it is impractical. A federal agent, on a case by case basis, could "trump" the CO law and arrest someone who violated the federal marijuana law in his presence, such as a Park Service Ranger arresting campers passing joints around their cookstove in Rocky Mountain National Park -- perhaps that is what Robert Weiner was referring to, but that enforcement would be so random it would be meaningless as a deterrent.

But the CO and WA laws authorize each state to set up a regulatory apparatus to license and tax the cultivation and distribution of marijuana. This is considered "commerce." The Constitution authorizes Congress to regulate "commerce among the several states," i.e., "interstate commerce." The Supreme Court has ruled that some kinds of intrastate commerce that affect interstate commerce are subject to federal regulation.

How likely is it that CO and WA legal distribution of marijuana is going to affect marijuana commerce with other states? Highly likely. If a federal court can be convinced of that, then that court is likely to rule that the federal drug law preempts the legal distribution and regulation portions of the CO and WA legalization initiatives. If the federal court preempts the CO and WA distribution provisions, then there will be no legal distribution system, no regulation, and no taxation. The feds will be fighting to maintain the criminal market to supply the legal possession demand in the state. Sounds absurd, doesn't it? But they would justify it as necessary to prevent the possibility of leakage of legal CO and WA marijuana to other states where it remains illegal. Their underlying reason would be to fight the fall of the prohibition dominoes in other states that will consider following the lead of CO and WA. The feds will also argue that they must make this argument to carry out our obligations under the Single Convention on Narcotics which they would argue only allows legal marijuana sales under a single national (i.e. federal) agency's control.

Of course, the Single Convention can't be enforced against a state if to do so would violate the U.S. Constitution, such as the 10th Amendment that reserves undelegated powers to the States. Did the First Congress that adopted the Bill of Rights reserve to the States the power to regulate the cultivation and distribution of hemp, namely Cannabis? The courts are going to consider arguments by the states very carefully.

So the feds may have the legal ability to stop the state distribution laws from taking effect but no legal or practical ability to stop the state legalization of possession laws from taking effect -- with one exception.

The CO provision is an amendment to its state constitution. It is not easily changed. Congress has tried to force states to change their laws by conditioning some kind of federal money, such as federal highway construction funds for the states, on state law changes to conform to a federal policy. A state does not have to have a 21 year old alcohol drinking age -- but it can't get federal highway construction money.

Congress (not the Justice Department) could attempt to coerce CO and WA to abandon their marijuana possession legalization by threatening to deny some important federal funds. That might be an instance of Congress "trumping" state law.

Eric Sterling

What Colorado and Washington should have done, but haven't

Both Colorado and Washington should have told the DEA that marijuana has accepted medical use in treatment in the United States long ago.  I know both of them have asked the DEA if marijuana is medicine, but the voters never gave them the right to ask that question.  The voters answered it.  It's medicine.  The voters said it was.  End of story.  State officials don't have the authority to ask the DEA if it's okay.  Federal classification of marijuana is just an ordinary federal regulation, not a statute.  Congress never set a national standard for accepted medical use of marijuana, or any other controlled substance.  States retain their residual sovereignty unless Congress takes it away.  Congress never said marijuana "shall have" no accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, so it's a power retained by the states, not by a federal agency.  Colorado and Washington have screwed this up so bad it will takes decades of litigation to sort it all out.  In the meantime, they have started a title wave of reform all around the planet, so I'm not suggesting I'd roll the clock back for one minute.  I wish they would get it right, but they are acting just as brainless as the other 16 states that have accepted the medical use of marijuana in the United States.  I guess people would rather use marijuana than get the federal law fixed.  We'll see how that works out.

I read this article and all

I read this article and all of it sounds like a bureaucratic nightmare thats going to engulf human resources and millions of dollars  for decades to come.

I mean can they just stop it all and once and for all respect the choices of people of Colorado and Washington.

It sounds as if it is legal but it is not legal .When will this nonsense stops and if Americans want marijuana legal then they should legalize it at the proper place where it would make all the difference. Otherwise the exercise is totally futile

I don't really believe for a second...

I don't really believe for a second that the DOJ and/or DEA were "shocked that the measures passed."  They had to have known, period.  You're trying to tell me they don't have members in the intelligence community who aren't capable of reading and interpreting simple polls that showed overwhelming support?

The administration has been in 'damage control' mode for the last couple of years now.  The strategy is to try to divert attention away from this... you might even know marijuana even existed in this world if you only take a snapshop of official press releases and statements and debates, etc... 

What they're doing right now is containment, and trying to limit exposure of what's happening, sweep it under the rug, so to speak.  Even the news outlets haven't been giving this as much attention as I think it warrants.  yes it made headlines and we've seen a few good opinion pieces and speculation articles from a few major media sources, but all in all... they seem to also be side-stepping.

I suggest that they DOJ and DEA and the Presidents staff KENW the measures were going to pass, and that's why Eric Holder didn't say anything, even after the former drug czars publicly called on him to do so.

At this point I think major brainstorming is going on to try to slowly transition to legal weed while keeping the war on drugs very much alive and making sure they crack down on other illegal drugs even harder, while also trying to maintain their honor and dignity and save as much face as possible that legal weed was their idea to begin with.

Just my take on things.. I might be totally wrong, maybe they're planning on utterly and completely sabotaging this and shooting it down with a ruthlessness we have yet to even imagine, but I have a feeling they are carefully and quietly trying to just mitigate damage at this point.

At this point it really is an honest shame that law and order in this country is trivialized by absurd laws that the majority of Americans don't support anymore.  50% support legalization the right thing to do is repeal prohibition on the federal level and allow individual states to decide.

That way the traditional values conservative states can still outlaw the substance and the liberal states can allow it.  Of course that opens the whole can of worms with interstate distribution and the like, but fundamentally it's the right choice to make at least.

 I live in WA and voted

 I live in WA and voted against because of the conflict between federal and state law. I have never taken a law class of any kind, but i do have a question. Since  federal law prohibits pot, can the Fed get a warrant, confiscate the marijuana from the business , not prosecute, but leave it basically bankrupt?

Yes they can and have

Yes, they can and have done that.. simply bust in, take everything, and leave.  That being said, they are more likely to also prosecute.

But don't worry, I think that kind of stuff happening is a thing of the past, as of 6 November 2012... A64 and I-502 passing have just let the genie out of the bottle... things are going to change.

Use the Drug Enforcement

Use the Drug Enforcement Administration's agents to search for pipe bombs, not marijuana pipes. MaryJ.

hallucinogenic

Pot is just the first step before you start using crack, cocaine and other hallucinogenic drugs. tery

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Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Safe Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School