And the Fast Talking Has Started...

I posited yesterday that federal fast talking about the Colorado and Washington initiatives would start soon. It turns out that federal fast talking hasn't even needed feds to get started, a "Network Media Fail" analysis by Peter Guither demonstrates:

Some of the network media have been trying to cover the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington and clearly are in catch-up mode, not really knowing how to talk about it. And they're completely thrown by the fact that the DOJ, for the most part, isn't coming right out and commenting. So they're all forced to turn to… Kevin Sabet.
 

Kevin is a former Office of National Drug Control Policy staffer -- Phil faced off with him in The Fix on Tuesday. He had a respectable level position at the agency, from what I understand, but he was not the drug czar or near it, and he doesn't work at ONDCP now. Pete questions why media would think he knows what's going on behind the scenes or why we should think he does.

I'll just comment on two things from the ABC article by Christina Ng that Pete highlighted:

"When you have the governors of both states [opposing it] as well as the president and Congress, who has already determined that marijuana is illegal, this is not going to be a walk in the park for marijuana enthusiasts," Sabet said. [...]
 

That is an inaccurate characterization by Kevin of the positions of the governors. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper opposed the initiative, and according to the Denver Post is speaking with federal officials to assess their intentions -- Eric Holder, head of all DOJ, not ONDCP. But Hickenlooper also told the Post that "[y]ou can't argue with the will of the voters" and they plan to move forward with it. Washington governor-elect Jay Inslee has also said that he'll respect the will of the voters.

The second is a paragraph that was not presented as a quote, so I don't know precisely what Kevin told Ms. Ng, but here it is:

In 2005, the Supreme Court by an 8-0 margin struck down a California law that legalized medical marijuana in the state. The Court said Congress had the power to criminalize marijuana under the Commerce Clause.
 

Raich v. Gonzales was actually 6-3, but more importantly, the court did not strike down California's medical marijuana law! What the court did was decline to limit the reach of federal law. There's a difference.

As I discussed yesterday, state and federal law can be different, but that doesn't mean they're in conflict. And not every type of conflict is legally impermissible. California's medical marijuana law is very much in effect -- the trouble there is to providers, not directly to patients, and it's from federal raids and other actions, and local zoning restrictions. Tellingly, no federal prosecutor in 16 years of state medical marijuana laws has ever tried to undo one of them in court.

Perhaps they'll try now with one of the legalization initiatives, but their prospects for success on that route are unclear. What seems most unlikely is that states would be forced to reverse not only their licensing provisions, but their elimination of penalties for users and some sellers; much less that federal agents, more limited in number than state and local police, would conduct the massive numbers of possession busts (or in Colorado home growing busts) needed to keep prohibition going at that level. That's why the medical marijuana laws work.

In the meanwhile, police and prosecutors in Washington have more or less confirmed the walk in the park beginning December 6th.

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Let the game of chess begin...

I highly doubt the powers that be will step aside and allow this, without a fight.  A small, naive, part of me MAYBE thinks they might give it a chance out of respect for the will of the American voters who passed this... but MOST of me realizes there WILL be resistance... an attempt to undo this.  Whether that comes in the form of a draconian crackdown, or in a more subtle way (setting these states up for failure by undermining their efforts every way they can, in order to then point at that failure and "win the argument")... I really believe we're going to see a desperate attempt to stop this thing cold.

I also believe their efforts will fail.

Since Tuesday night, I have seen this conversation engaged in many different social settings, some which you'd never EVER expect the issue to even be considered for discussion.. and I've been stunned by the amount of support the "average joe" shows for legalization.. What I've seen was that the ones who opposed legalization seemed to actually be the minority group.  Now I know I'm just one person, and I only have contact with so many people, but with gallup polling's numbers, and the social media we have at our fingertips, you can't deny--this is something MOST Americans want.

And correct me if I'm wrong, but Kevin Sabet would normally would shun even considering legalization, but even he is using terms like "the conversation is just starting", etc... so suddenly now it's a conversation.  It's not just a black and white right and wrong issue anymore.  That in and of itself is progress... even when you consider that he's basically just a washed up nobody at this point.

The feds let Sabet do the talking because they can't do shit

They might as well close ONDCP and give Gil his retirement check if all they have is this overeager coffee boy.  On another note, how are feds going to send a strong message, close down more dispensaries?  Lots of shock value there.  The Obama administration can rock the boat in court and the outcome will only strengthen our position, as well as provide ammo for other states challenging the feds on issues concerning illegal immigration and Obamacare. 

sabet has been cooked before

I urge everyone to view the panel discussion between Russ Belville and Kevin Sabet at The Baker Institute for Public Policy.

lol, to be real nice about it, Russ Belville wiped the floor with Mr. Sabet. It was a real cook-out, if u know what I mean.

As it turns out, Mr Sabet is flipping the words to uphold the War-On-Drugs at any cost, even to the point of showing a lack of education on his part. I think he might be lost over personal issues and has taken this Drug War on as a new wife.

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