With the Prop 19 vote less than a month away and polling strong, it has apparently dawned on the nation's top drug warriors that now might be a good time to start freaking out. Hence, we find nine former DEA administrators complaining in The Wall Street Journal that Attorney General Eric Holder hasn't been busy threatening Californians with a federal crackdown:
…if passed by voters in November, Proposition 19—also known as the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010—will be in direct conflict with the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), a federal law that makes the production and sale of marijuana a federal crime. In our federal system, a state law that conflicts with a federal law violates the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution and is void.
We have urged Attorney General Eric Holder to speak out on this issue. If Mr. Holder and his department remain silent, it will send an unfortunate message to the public and to our law-enforcement counterparts overseas and in this country. The Justice Department's continued silence also indicates a willingness to ignore the policy set out by the president in his National Drug Control Strategy.
Yeah, you ignorant hippies, hasn't anyone ever told you that it's illegal to legalize marijuana? If you're wondering how come medical marijuana has been openly sold in storefronts across California ever since the passage of Prop 215 back in 1996, you must be hallucinating, because that never happened.
Seriously though, how ridiculous is it that these desperate drug warriors are deploying the same insultingly stupid distraction tactics that failed them more than a decade ago? They actually want Holder to tell voters that Prop 19 will be "void" even if it passes, as though no one in California has ever heard of a marijuana dispensary. This, in their view, is an argument so strong as to warrant an entire Wall Street Journal op-ed dedicated to it.
For another layer of absurdity, consider that one of the authors, Karen Tandy, presided over the DEA during a dramatic expansion of the medical marijuana industry that she now claims is legally impossible, even though it actually happened in real life while she was in charge of federal drug enforcement. She knows as well as anyone that California can make its own drug laws whether the DEA likes it or not. It's true that she could have prosecuted everyone in sight under federal law, but for a variety of practical and political reasons, that isn't what happened. It's not likely to happen if Prop 19 passes either, at least not unless Obama has a masochistic desire to further alienate his base as we heads towards 2012.