Obama Declares Pot Enforcement Will Not Be Priority In Legalization States While Justice Department States There Will Be No Change In Federal Enforcement

marijuana_leafPresObamaAs we discussed earlier, the Justice Department issued a statement after the passage of state laws legalizing marijuana that they would not affected federal enforcement. Obama officials also stated after the election (after being silent during the campaign) that marijuana policy would not change. Now, President Obama has given an interview that the federal government will not make enforcement a “priority” against recreational users. This is being billed as a major scope on “Obama’s pot problem.” However, there may be less than meets the eye here. He does not address the organizations and distributors of legal marijuana, which his Administration has cracked down on for the last four years. It also raises an interesting contradiction with other fields where Obama had insisted that matters are left to the Justice Department on questions of enforcement.

Obama told ABC “We’ve got bigger fish to fry . . . It would not make sense for us to see a top priority as going after recreational users in states that have determined that it’s legal.” His use of “recreational users” is telling. The state police generally goes after recreational users. The controversy for the last four years has been the Administration’s crackdown on distributors and growers who supply legal marijuana for medical use etc.

The statement also contradicts the statements of officials in the Administration. The U.S. Attorney’s office in Seattle (the highest Justice official in the state) issued a public warning after the election that “[r]egardless of any changes in state law, including the change that will go into effect on Dec. 6 in Washington state, growing, selling or possessing any amount of marijuana remains illegal under federal law. … Neither states nor the executive branch can nullify a statute passed by Congress.”

As I noted earlier that the Justice Department statement is a curious statement since the Obama Administration recently did precisely that in the immigration area — it declared that it would no longer enforce the express law with regard to certain illegal aliens. It also refused to defend such laws as the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Moreover, the Justice Department routinely makes decisions on the allocation of resources and priorities. Likewise, soon after taking office, Obama notoriously went to the CIA and assured CIA employees that they would not be prosecuted for torture, even though he admitted that water boarding used is torture. The President’s statement would reflect that he is going that route, but only for recreational users.

He remains uncertain, however, on how he can refuse to enforce this federal law despite his promise not to prosecute torture at the CIA or refusal to enforce immigration rules: “This is a tough problem, because Congress has not yet changed the law,” Obama said. “I head up the executive branch; we’re supposed to be carrying out laws. And so what we’re going to need to have is a conversation about, How do you reconcile a federal law that still says marijuana is a federal offense and state laws that say that it’s legal?”

He can clearly make marijuana enforcement a non-priority and I agree with that move. Yet, such statements on “users” avoids the primary question. Will he continue his controversial policy of cracking down on distributors and growers in these states?

Source: ABC

152 thoughts on “Obama Declares Pot Enforcement Will Not Be Priority In Legalization States While Justice Department States There Will Be No Change In Federal Enforcement

  1. Blouise,

    I expected a better reply than just snark. The 2nd Amendment does not enable mass killing nor does it condone it. It protects a right our Founders thought important for more than one valid reason. Even as unbalanced as the fight would be, an armed populace is a deterrent to tyranny.

    You again mistake causations.

    Mass killers would still exist if we’d never had the 2nd Amendment. Disagree all you like, but that is a psychological fact. They’d use fire or poison or explosive or any one of the other many ways to kill lots of people in a short amount of time. The problem is still rooted in the culture where violence – of any sort – is an acceptable method for resolving problems. “Killer” is in the mind and the hand it controls – the will to action, the mens rea turned to an actus reus. How is at best a secondary consideration, but you acknowledged the reality of the 2nd Amendment and you know your options: seek repeal by amendment, seek reasonable gun controls that don’t destroy the right, learn to live with the consequences of the freedom or complain about it – which accomplishes nothing. As I said, the “cultural heritage of mass murder” will not be eliminated by eliminating guns. Guns are only one of myriad ways to commit violence. Their absence would only ensure the tyranny of the strong over the weak. Unless you think a 115 pound woman stands a better chance of fending off a 200 pound rapist with a knife or a cigarette lighter. Or an elderly or infirm person can fend off a mugger with charm and a pointed stick? Killing is not always done out of malice and one of the reasons our Founders created the 2nd was to bolster the right to self-defense. There is a saying that “God created man, but Col. Colt made them equal.” A gun is a tool. Like any tool it can cause death and injury when misused. The problem remains the killers themselves. To deprive others of their right to self-defense or to resist tyranny with violence if need be because of a small percentage of crazy, evil people misusing both a tool and their right to bear arms is simply an injustice on its own. You’ll never correct one injustice by perpetrating another. And you’ll never fix a problem by addressing a symptom and not the cause.

    I fully expect we’re just going to disagree on this matter.

    You’ve made up your mind regardless of any reasonable counter arguments. You’ve chosen to make blanket assertions about motives for gun ownership, misattributed causation, and ignore human nature in a fine display of outcome determinism. It’s disappointingly bad reasoning. However, given that it is the only instance I’ve seen of seriously bad reasoning from you, I guess I’ll keep ya.😉 Everyone has something they are peculiarly irrational about. With me, it’s Canadian Bacon and red heads.

  2. How come you are all talking about guns when the topic is pot? Is it bad for you? Is it bad enough to make it a crime to have pot? Is it worse than tobacco? Tobacco kills. It kills the schmucks in Congress who write laws while they smoke tobacco to make your kid a criminal for smoking pot. Cigarette smoking is dangerous, hazad to your health. Heed the words of Peter Tosh.

  3. Gene,

    Calling it snark does not make it so and honestly, no snark was intended. Here’s exactly what I think:

    You should know me well enough by now to understand the basis of my objections to all this folderah. It is the emotionalism of the gun owners and the Second Amendment false worshipers that must also be dismissed and, quite frankly, ignored.

    The original intent of the Second as it pertains to firearms has its history in English law and as I understand it the United States Supreme Court addressed the matter three times … 1876, 1886, 1939 and on each occasion held that it granted the people a right to bear arms only within the militia and seemed to have no trouble defining the term militia as that organized by Congress and subject to joint federal and state control. What we refer to as the collective right model.

    Along comes 1960 and the first known article to introduce the “individual right” interpretation and notably the first source listed in that article was was from the NRA’s magazine, American Rifle. It’s been downhill ever since.

    It is time to fix that which has been intentionally broken. Period.

    ( student article published in the William and Mary Law Review entitled “The Right To Bear Arms, A Study in Judicial Misinterpretation” … the number of errors are staggering.
    http://scholarship.law.wm.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3295&context=wmlr&sei-redir=1&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2Fsearch%3Fq%3D%2522The%2BRight%2BTo%2BBear%2BArms%252C%2BA%2BStudy%2Bin%2BJudicial%2BMisinterpretation%2522%26rlz%3D1C1CHFX_enUS430US430%26aq%3Df%26oq%3D%2522The%2BRight%2BTo%2BBear%2BArms%252C%2BA%2BStudy%2Bin%2BJudicial%2BMisinterpretation%2522%26sugexp%3Dchrome%2Cmod%3D11%26sourceid%3Dchrome%26ie%3DUTF-8#search=%22Right%20Bear%20Arms%2C%20Study%20Judicial%20Misinterpretation%22 )

  4. Actually Blouise the individual right traces back to the English Bill of Rights of 1689 which restored the right to bear arms for self-defense to Protestants. Part of the rational for the DOI was King George disarming Americans. Our Bill of Rights is heavily based on the English precedent.

  5. Gene,

    It goes back further than that … 1689 was a do-over. (hints of it can be found in the Assize of Arms of 1181 which was the introduction of “militias”). Many, many months ago mespo promised to do a piece on the Second Amendment but he never followed through.

    So, I did my own study and I have tons of sources just waiting for the next horrific mass killing.

  6. pete,

    falderal/folderol/falderah – a meaningless refrain in songs

    “I love to go a-wandering,
    Along the mountain track,
    And as I go, I love to sing,
    My knapsack on my back.

    Falderee, falderah,
    Fajderee, Falderaha – ha- ha – ha – ha

    Falderee, falderah,

    My knapsack on my back.”

  7. We would still be under the yoke of some British King had the American Revolutionaries not been armed. When the populace is armed with weapons that can compete with the tyrants’ armaments then there is a brake on tryanny. If only the federal troops have automatic weapons and not the state troops, and not the people, then the likes of King George can tell us how to live and the likes of Adolph Hitler can commit mass murder. And Hitler did not start at some Catholic mass.

    I was in Israel in 1980 back before I was a dog. The school teachers brought their classes around to the Holocaust Museum for show and tell. The teachers themselves were all carrying Uzi automatic weapons in case some terrorist messed with the school kids. Not a bad notion. If I had a kid in school in New York then I would want my teacher to be armed. If we had a well armed militia in that school then the lunatic named Adam would not have gotten off so many rounds. Think about it. This anti gun thing is a bunch of no wing Schmuckma.

  8. if it gets to the point of arming kindergarten teachers because random violence has become so prevalent, then i’ll agree that we have too many guns or too many crazies and we need to get one or the other away from society.

  9. Ach der lieber! But what if the teacher who has the Uzi also has a son she named Adam who is nuts and flunked elementary algebra in sixth grade and steals the Uzi, shoots mom, goes to school and gets even with the high handed teachers who flunked him and the fellow students who made fun of him cause mom named him Adam. I know it sounds crazy and like something that would happen in Connecticut or New York but ya never know. So, I have second thoughts on the teachers being issued Uzi automatice weapons to keep the terrorists at bay at the Holocaust Museum. See my last post above. One can be wrong sometimes. After all, I am just a dog barkin and growlin into this dogalogue machine.

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