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United States Politics

Obama Admin Says It Won't Fight Looser Marijuana Laws, With Conditions 526

Posted by timothy
from the maybe-a-little-blow-when-you-could-afford-it dept.
schwit1 writes with news that the Obama administration has released a memo stating that it will not fight liberalized marijuana laws in states like Colorado and Washington, but made that promise conditional on a set of guidelines, such as requiring efforts to dissuade underage use. From the Washington Post's coverage: "Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole detailed the administration's new stance, even as he reiterated that marijuana remains illegal under federal law. The memo directs federal prosecutors to focus their resources on eight specific areas of enforcement, rather than targeting individual marijuana users, which even President Obama has acknowledged is not the best use of federal manpower. Those areas include preventing distribution of marijuana to minors, preventing the sale of pot to cartels and gangs, preventing sales to other states where the drug remains illegal under state law, and stopping the growing of marijuana on public lands."
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Obama Admin Says It Won't Fight Looser Marijuana Laws, With Conditions

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  • by cold fjord (826450) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @05:39PM (#44711015)

    Maybe this is why?

    Is Marijuana a Safe Drug? Teenage Brain at Risk for Drug Abuse [scienceworldreport.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 29, 2013 @05:47PM (#44711101)

    Actually, that is exactly what it does. If you think the executive has ever enforced all the laws on the book, you are a fool. The resources simply have never existed.

    It's just the highest level of prosecutorial discretion [wikipedia.org].

  • by icebike (68054) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @06:02PM (#44711301)

    There was also a study of New Zealanders. They found that people who began using pot earlier in life and used it most frequently over the years experienced an average decline of eight IQ points by the time they turned 38. By comparison, those who never smoked pot had an average increase of one IQ point by the same age.

    A reanalysis of the New Zealand data by Ole Røgeberg of the Ragnar Frisch Center for Economic Research in Oslo, however, suggested that the IQ difference could be explained by socioeconomic factors. People who start smoking marijuana at an earlier age are often less intelligent to begin with.

    You will find most of the research is similarly tainted.

  • by Frobnicator (565869) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @06:33PM (#44711593) Journal

    In the United States, both selective enforcement and selective prosecution are generally legal.

    You can go back over a century to Yick Wo v Hopkins (1886) to see SCOTUS rulings on that. There are probably older rulings than that, but I'm too lazy to look them up.

    Impartial selective enforcement is legal to a degree. On its face police cannot enforce every law on the books. Even if they do intervene, the officer may know there is insufficient evidence for a known violation. Even if they intervene and there is likely sufficient evidence, they may believe a lesser action is appropriate, such as giving an individual a warning for a minor offense. Similarly for selective prosecution, the state is not required to blindly prosecute every offense, but to use prudence in selecting which cases to prosecute. Yes sometimes it is abused, but generally it is to the citizen's favor of dropping a case rather than abuses of prosecuting aggressively.

    Prejudicial selective enforcement is not legal. Only applying the law to people of a specific skin color or economic status or age or other aspect, that is unlawful.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 29, 2013 @06:41PM (#44711661)

    Wickard vs Filburn [wikipedia.org] was EXACTLY the case you are asking about. Supreme court ruled the commerce clause allowed the federal government to regulate an item grown on a farmer's land used by the farmer himself, it didn't even leave his private property much less the state.

    Since that decision the federal government has used the commerce clause to regulate anything that could be sold for money even if it doesn't cross state lines.

    Vote smaller government if you want less of this, but as long as you vote for the guys growing the government faster you will get more of it.

  • Re:Weasel words (Score:4, Informative)

    by interkin3tic (1469267) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @06:48PM (#44711721)
    Specifically on this issue too. Obama said he wouldn't spend federal funds fighting state's medical marijuana laws, yet his government has raided more dispensaries in states with medical marijuana laws than Bush's. source. [huffingtonpost.com]

    I don't regret voting for him in the general elections, but I do regret not giving money or volunteering for a better candidate in the primaries.
  • by PraiseBob (1923958) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @07:14PM (#44711965)
    Also relevant: DEA bans Armored car services from picking up Pot Shop cash [laweekly.com]

    Step 1) Prevent credit cards from being used
    Step 2) Prevent armored car services from being used
    Step 3) Complain about the high number of robberies and crime that type of business "attracts" and use that as justification for more regulation / bans
  • by icebike (68054) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @07:23PM (#44712027)

    Marijuana impairs attention. That seems to be the linkage that most people cite. But I find no hard statistics on this either.

    Since there is no legally recognized impairment level for Marijuana, and no legally recognized tests, (other than blood draws) either device based tests, or field sobriety tests, its hard to prove the extent to which it is present in accident situations. So if there was a car crash, the police have no real way to prove it was even a factor.

    University of Washington cited an Australian study [uw.edu]showing that the research is a total mess in this area. So a local TV station then went out and did their own tests. [huffingtonpost.com]

  • by lgw (121541) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @07:27PM (#44712065) Journal

    No, they are statistical science. They say nothing about the behavior of individuals, but make useful predictions about the statistical distribution of behaviors in the population. Just like the gas laws, Zero Kelvin.

  • by J053 (673094) <J053@shangri-lOPENBSDa.cx minus bsd> on Thursday August 29, 2013 @08:16PM (#44712443) Homepage Journal

    Federal marijuana prohibition is not a law, it is a usurpation. It took a constitutional amendment to ban alcohol, and that amendment was repealed. There is no legal authority whatsoever for the federal government to ban a drug.

    -jcr

    Actually, the basis for present-day prohibition of marijuana is the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs [wikipedia.org] of 1961, which updated the Paris Convention [wikipedia.org] of 1931. The Paris Convention was targeted at opioids, while the Single Convention of 1931 added cannabis and other drugs, as well as establishing the "Schedules" of drugs used today. Since the Single Convention is a treaty, it had to be ratified by the US Senate (in 1967), and has the same force as any other law or provision of the Constitution itself (see Art. VI, US Constitution). Thus, no Amendment was required to allow Congress to pass legislation implementing the Convention.

    I don't like it, but it's not unconstitutional.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 29, 2013 @09:05PM (#44712699)

    In New York City, a pack of cigarettes ($3-$7.00 retail) has $5.85 in state/local excise taxes and $1.01 in federal excise tax.

    Do you suppose they have more blackmarket cigarettes and associated crime than, say, Pennsylvania where the state excise tax is only $1.60/pack?

  • by Zontar The Mindless (9002) <plasticfish.info ... GOcom minus city> on Thursday August 29, 2013 @10:36PM (#44713175)

    You don't know too much about Norway, or many people from there, do you? "Røgeberg" is a completely legitimate Norwegian surname.

    BTW, Ø is not zero; it's the Norwegian (and Danish) equivalent of Ö.

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