We discussed earlier how the top Justice Department attorney in Washington State said that the federal government would not yield to the state referendums legalizing marijuana use and possession. This followed a statement the day after the election that the Administration would not change their policy on targeting marijuana, including medical marijuana. However, a new Gallup poll shows an impressive 64 percent of Americans object to the enforcement in state legalizing or decriminalizing pot. Only 34 percent supported the continuation of the Obama policy.
What is fascinating is that even those who oppose legalization of marijuana still opposed the Obama policy by 43 percent.
The Obama policy for the last four years has been the subject of continual criticism. As on national security and civil liberties, Obama has not wavered from continuing and even expanding on the earlier Bush policies. The massive bureaucracy of police, prosecutors, and policy makers in the drug campaign have become something of a perpetual enforcement machine — relying on the proceeds of drug raids and seizures to support hundreds of thousands of jobs. In the meantime, we are giving criminal records to tens of thousands of people every year and clogging our courts with pot cases. This is a case where citizens are far more rational than their leaders. Yet, for four years Obama have refused to budge on the issue and, after these historic state measures, the Justice Department has said that it will not yield even in these states. This includes a highly misleading statement made by the U.S. Attorney in Washington state. The Administration has previously declined to enforcement certain immigration laws and can clearly redirect federal resources toward enforcement of more serious drugs. The Administration could have backed off of these raids and prosecutions at any time in the last four years and, according to statements after the election, is not inclined to do so in the second term. The question is how much pressure can brought to bear on Congress, particularly from states who want to tax marijuana which could bring in billions in new revenue.