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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 intermodal (534361) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @04:39PM (#44711017) Homepage Journal

    Obama doesn't seem to understand the restrictions on executive power.

    Hell, I'm pro-legalization, but Obama's position does not constitutionally allow him to pick and choose which laws he will and will not enforce. Not that it's ever stopped him.

  • Weasel words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fhic (214533) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @04:44PM (#44711071)
    All of these "conditions" are arbitrary and open to whatever interpretation the feds feel like today. In the meantime, it's still being kept as a Schedule 1 drug. This administration has repeatedly and consistently said one thing and done another. You'll forgive me if I don't believe a word of this, which has no more weight than a touchy-feely press release.
  • Re:Spaced Out! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by zlives (2009072) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @04:49PM (#44711141)

    Outsourced prisons and then removal of citizenship will fix that. Most felons already can't vote.

  • by whoever57 (658626) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @04:49PM (#44711143) Journal

    a rather crude attempt to get Obama's supporters back on his side.

    "Don't look over there..... look here, shiny!"

  • by LetterRip (30937) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @04:51PM (#44711155)

    Hell, I'm pro-legalization, but Obama's position does not constitutionally allow him to pick and choose which laws he will and will not enforce. Not that it's ever stopped him.

    The government has limited resources and it is literally impossible to enforce all of the federal laws to the full extent. Therefore the government must prioritize enforcement. If some laws are so low in priority that there is no enforcement, then congress can increase funding for federal law enforcement officials if they really want those enforced.

  • by KiloByte (825081) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @05:00PM (#44711261)

    No, this means the amount of laws needs to be cut by a factor of 100 if not 1000.

  • by microbox (704317) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @05:12PM (#44711403)

    But a SPECIFIC offense ought to be treated the same in one place as another, don't you think?

    Are you kidding? Do you always drive the speed limit? Do you always cross and sidewalks? Do you always give way to people on crossing the road. (As soon as the foot hits asphalt you are meant to stop.) In Queensland Australia, it is illegal to pass a person on the right side.

    There is a difference between rule and law.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 29, 2013 @05:21PM (#44711491)

    Think hard about all that.... He isn't violating the constitution.

  • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @05:23PM (#44711515)

    The ideal solution to me would be to treat it like tobacco: Keep it legal, but at the same time take measures to very strongly discourage use.

  • by echnaton192 (1118591) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @05:25PM (#44711527)

    Maybe this is why?

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

    Why modded -1? This study supports other studies that came to similar conclusions:

    Yes. Marijuhana-abuse by minors is a big problem. Not if done once, but an abuse, that does not affect grown ups (from 21 or better, 25 years on) very much has a devastating effect on their brains. The reason, as I understood it, is the rearranging of the whole brain structure while being juvenile. This rearrangement, as new scans showed, is much more fundamental than previously known. And smoking grass fucks that up big time. And it messes with the hormon levels. Those rearrangements possibly can not take place after the normal timeframe. If they were haltet or obfuscated by marihuana abuse, those youngsters have a permanent brain damage.

    But: Abusing any brain affecting drug in that time will possibly do the same, so drinking alcohol instead of smoking is not an option. If I had children, I would insist on limiting marijuhana use to one time pet year, four times max until they are 21 (you are an adult at 18 here, so a bit of cooperation from the other side would be necessary. Any smoking of marihuana under the age of 16 would be completely out of the question.

    Your war on drugs was one big mistake. But inform yourself before letting your kids use it limitless. If those studies are right, they suggest that using marihuana (esp. in a vaporizer) is indeed less dangerous than alcohol for the body. And does not effect grown ups as much as heavy drinking would. Even really heavy abuse does not make you significantly dumber, just a measurable bit and it is possible that the brain could recover, except for some problems with the short time memory, which MAY stay. But for youngsters that use marijuhana heavily, it may be that it really blows their mind away. But they would be DEAD if they drank as much, so demonizing pot is really dumb. Being dead means no brain functions whatsoever, so instead of being less stellar in school, they would rot...

    But: It seems like the dangers to young people were underestimated.

  • by JohnG (93975) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @05:27PM (#44711537)

    Well, the constitution doesn't allow the federal government to enforce marijuana laws at all. That's why they had to pass an amendment to enforce alcohol prohibition at the federal level. Aside from preventing the sale of marijuana across state lines, the federal government has no constitutional authority to enforce the laws that Obama is saying he will be lenient on. Seems to me this is one of the few times that he actually does understand the restrictions on his power.

  • by icebike (68054) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @05:31PM (#44711565)

    The ideal solution to me would be to treat it like tobacco: Keep it legal, but at the same time take measures to very strongly discourage use.

    Except the tobacco scare tactics are unwarranted, with the possible exception for under-age use, or use while driving, as with any intoxicant.
    Beer and wine regulatory mechanisms seem more appropriate. In fact Washington State tasked the Liquor board with the job of managing Marijuana sales and use in the state.

    Yet still feds seem intent on sticking their oar in [theatlanticwire.com].

  • by interval1066 (668936) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @05:43PM (#44711675) Homepage Journal
    Regulate it like alcohol, including enforcing bans on driving while high, just like alcohol. Now tax the hell out of it, and end of discussion. The "war" on pot was a rediculous waste of fed and state resources, and created a permanant underclass of unemployable criminals who've done nothing more thann get high. The fed needs to get off its high horse and rewrite whatever laws are keeping pot in the "felony" lists (other than, like I said, driving while high that results in killing someone, maybe). Enough is enough. Knock off this sham.
  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday August 29, 2013 @05:44PM (#44711685) Homepage Journal

    Spoken with all the experience, knowledge and view of a 14 year old.

  • by jcr (53032) <jcr.mac@com> on Thursday August 29, 2013 @06:06PM (#44711895) 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

  • by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @06:08PM (#44711919) Homepage
    So you are saying that social sciences aren't actually science? Say it isn't so!
  • by couchslug (175151) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @06:22PM (#44712017)

    Is MJ safer than jail?

    The laws don't have their intended effect.

  • by Kjella (173770) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @06:47PM (#44712231) Homepage

    I'd lean more towards the explanation that older people have more knowledge and experience which means they're more set in their ways and don't challenge accepted truths like the younger generation does. While it also from time to time produces gems it's also the cause of all the people trying to reinvent the wheel, why go for the new and crazy when you can use the tried and true. It might not be quite as glamorous, but the world needs both highly competent doctors as well as the odd Nobel prize in medicine.

  • by mjwx (966435) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @08:21PM (#44712791)

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

    Well, there's plenty of evidence that Marijuana has effects on response time (like most depressants).

    For most of us who've smoked pot, we know it definitely affects your faculties to the point where you cant drive safely, more over this is more noticeable to the user than it is with alcohol. Unlike alcohol, pot users tend to avoid taking extreme risks like excessive speed (people driving high tend to be slower than the median, which is still bad) but still have the problems with fine motor control (keeping the wheel straight) as well as reduced response speed and impaired perception.

    I'm pro-decriminalisation of marijuana, but really it needs to be treated like other legal mind altering drugs (I.E. Alcohol). In Australia we treat driving under the influence of drugs to be the same as driving under the influence of Alcohol but you also get a drug conviction, not just a DUI conviction.

  • by manwargi (1361031) on Friday August 30, 2013 @12:33AM (#44713865)

    Everyone has a vice for coping with a hard, painful world. Sometimes it is drinking. Sometimes it is smoking. Sometimes it is cheating on their partner. Porn. Hard drugs; and some would dare to argue that prescribed psyche medication is the same thing but more legal. Escapism to the fantasy of books/movies/games. The excitement of gambling. In the absence of these things people will do absolutely absurd things to get out of their skull such as strangling themselves or "i-dosing" [newsok.com]. Don't forget about suicide. Many [wikipedia.org] brilliant [wikipedia.org] minds [wikipedia.org] belong [wikipedia.org] to someone [wikipedia.org] addicted to something or depressed [chortle.co.uk] and looking for a way out. While I don't smoke or use any drugs myself I won't judge anybody who does too hard.

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