Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

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

timothy posted about a year ago | from the maybe-a-little-blow-when-you-could-afford-it dept.

United States 526

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."

cancel ×

526 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Discouraging underage use? (5, Informative)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#44711015)

Maybe this is why?

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

Re:Discouraging underage use? (5, Informative)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#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.

Re:Discouraging underage use? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44711475)

Not to mention that IQ measurements are crap and any attempt to compare "IQ" across any population without controlling for a zillion factors is ridiculous.

Re:Discouraging underage use? (1)

jopsen (885607) | about a year ago | (#44711727)

In social "sciences" these are valid means... and can infact be backed by statistics...

In social "sciences" a simple measurement with a lot data points is often better than quantitative data..

Re:Discouraging underage use? (4, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#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.

Re:Discouraging underage use? (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#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] .

Re:Discouraging underage use? (4, Insightful)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year ago | (#44711675)

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.

Re:Discouraging underage use? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#44711575)

tianted? you bias is showing.

There is a lot of good data the backs that up.
I would say there is enough evidence to put a over 21 law into effect until it is furthered studied.
It does seem to happen to upper middle class kids as well.

Clearly, we need better studies, but sometime we should be prudent.

Re:Discouraging underage use? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44711587)

NZ, the country where almost every that drinks has no problem driving while drunk, because there are only around 3 million people in a land about the size of the UK.

Re:Discouraging underage use? (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year ago | (#44711719)

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.

I'm betting most people lose at least eight IQ points by the time they turn 38.

That's why the mathematicians who do the groundbreaking work mostly are younger than 38. There are still brilliant mathematicians older than that, but they're not the ones who are doing the most important new work.

And alcohol? (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about a year ago | (#44711767)

Alcohol use and probably more "allowed substances" will probably also have a measurable correlation between IQ, IQ loss and demographics. The difference is that alcohol is not illegal and marijuana is in NZ. Notice I said correlation, not relation or causation. Only double blind studies between identical twins in identical demographics who will not use any other substance or partake any activity that has been related to IQ loss will give anything close to scientific proof. I'm not saying that smoking MJ won't make you stupid or that it's not bad for you. I'm merely questioning the validity of the research method.

Re:Discouraging underage use? (5, Insightful)

echnaton192 (1118591) | about a year ago | (#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.

Re:Discouraging underage use? (4, Interesting)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | about a year ago | (#44711549)

I'm no medicalologist, but I have to imagine that mass consumption of any mind-altering chemical (tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, etc.) while the brain is still developing will have an effect. The question is, is it worth keeping our prisons full of non-violent offenders to discourage their use?

Re:Discouraging underage use? (2)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#44711591)

medicalologist, nice., I like it better the scienctician.

The emperor has no clothes (3, Insightful)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#44711017)

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.

Re:The emperor has no clothes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44711093)

Why not? Law enforcement is part of the executive branch.

Re:The emperor has no clothes (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#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] .

Re:The emperor has no clothes (2)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#44711329)

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

The only prosecutorial discretion being practiced here is the evaluation of the likelihood of obtaining
a verdict in a state like Washington or Colorado, where juries are simply going to start handing federal prosecutors their hat.

Re:The emperor has no clothes (1, Insightful)

microbox (704317) | about a year ago | (#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.

Re:The emperor has no clothes (0)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#44711487)

What the fuck does Queensland have to do with the issue at hand?

The federal government does not enforce traffic laws, (except in federal parks). It is done by state and county/city enforcement, and it varies by location because they have different laws in each area.

A federal felony in one state is a federal felony in another state, and each state should get the same enforcement level (or lack there-of). This usually happens. Its the norm. Except with this administration, which likes to play divide and conquer.

Re:The emperor has no clothes (2)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#44711663)

Nope.

This is the best political move to get it legalized. If the people in the state want it legal, the fed is saying they are going to respect that states right, with qualifiers.

It's a great move and the best one that could happen in the current political climate. As far as moving towadrs legalization.

Please try to remember he is contending with a congress full of obstructionist and people who would let the country burn before legalizing marijuana.

" This usually happens. Its the norm."
no, not really.

How is this divide an conquer? If your state want's it to be legal, then we won't go in.

And the poster was just using Queensland as an example of rule or law. Calm down.

Oh, you are so filled with hate for Obama that you stopped thinking. I should have gathered that form the first post.
My bad, please go on frothing.

Re:The emperor has no clothes (4, Informative)

Frobnicator (565869) | about a year ago | (#44711593)

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.

Re:The emperor has no clothes (1)

Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) | about a year ago | (#44711645)

This directive applies to all states, not just Wa and Co.

Re:The emperor has no clothes (5, Funny)

zlives (2009072) | about a year ago | (#44711105)

what is this constitution you speak off?

Re:The emperor has no clothes (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44711129)

Well, it used to be a seriously taken document that we, the people, wrote up to protect ourselves from facist, oppressive governments like the one we have now.

Re:The emperor has no clothes (-1, Troll)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year ago | (#44711271)

Other documents that used to be taken seriously, and were written for the concerns of their times, (and are still hung on to by some.)

The Old Testament.
The New Testament.
The Torah.
The Koran.
The Magna Carta.
The Domesday Book.

Re:The emperor has no clothes (2, Interesting)

PRMan (959735) | about a year ago | (#44711323)

Other documents that used to be taken seriously, and were written for the concerns of their times, (and are still hung on to by some.)

The Old Testament. The New Testament. The Torah. The Koran. The Magna Carta. The Domesday Book.

The Bible is still the best selling book in the world by over 40 times. So by "some" what you really mean is billions.

Re:The emperor has no clothes (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year ago | (#44711519)

The Bible is still the best selling book in the world by over 40 times.

Bullshit. It's not even the world's best selling book, let alone 40 times the nearest competitor. Your religious leader lied to you.

If you think otherwise, a citation that doesn't originate from a religious organisation please?

Re:The emperor has no clothes (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44711617)

From Guiness book of world records:

"Although it is impossible to obtain exact figures, there is little doubt that the Bible is the worlds best-selling and most widely distributed book." Then they go on to talk about the billions of copied printed and distributed. Lots of big numbers.

That's from 2 seconds on Google. I'm sure there are lots of other citations.

Re:The emperor has no clothes (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#44711615)

The Domesday book is not a book of law. It's an inventory. A very comprehensive inventory.

William the Conqueror, having just earned that title, was left with a bit of a problem: He was now the new ruler of England, but didn't know exactly how much he ruled. The records were a mess, and he needed to put his own loyal men in positions of land ownership and power, which required knowing which land was the most valuable. To make it even worse for him, the existing landowners recognised that their possessions were about to be appropriated and handed out to the lackeys of the new ruler - and they weren't above bickering, lying and outright forgery to try to keep as much as they could, so ownership disputes were common. Landowners squabbled over claimed ownership both to increase their holdings and, when the tax man came to visit, to claim the land and tax burden really belonged to their rivals. With such poor formal records, it often came down to one man's word against another's. To solve this William commissioned a massive survey of his entire country - every last peasant, field and pig - and upon completion, declared that the ownership records of this book were authorative and uncontestable. It has been proving an invaluable resource for historians ever since.

The book is more accurately spelt 'domesday' but pronounced 'doomsday.' Domesday was just the spelling of the time.

Re:The emperor has no clothes (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about a year ago | (#44711469)

The Domesday Book is still taken very seriously today. In fact, I can’t think of one person who does not think of it seriously.

It is one of the best historical surveys of England and Wales. A classic example of primary documentation. I can think of few things that can rival it until America starting doing census back in the 1880.

Or are you thinking about something else?

Re:The emperor has no clothes (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year ago | (#44711547)

No, that's exactly what I was referring to. It's a list of who owns what. No more and no less. And as it's a millennia old, none of that property is still in the same hands.

Of course all of the documents I listed are interesting as history. And the US constitution will be too, long after it no longer is used as a current legal document.

Re:The emperor has no clothes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44711379)

So fascist and oppressive that they are announcing that they've got better things to do than enforce laws which have been on the books for decadses.

Re:The emperor has no clothes (4, Interesting)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | about a year ago | (#44711457)

Well, it used to be a seriously taken document...

When was that?

The Alien and Sedition Acts [wikipedia.org] were passed just seven years after the Bill of Rights. The Bill Of Rights was pretty dormant until the 1930s, and nobody took that "equal protection" bit seriously until the 1960s.

Re:The emperor has no clothes (5, Insightful)

LetterRip (30937) | about a year ago | (#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.

Re:The emperor has no clothes (5, Insightful)

KiloByte (825081) | about a year ago | (#44711261)

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

Re:The emperor has no clothes (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44711445)

If I could only up-vote you

Re:The emperor has no clothes (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#44711647)

I'd argue that the laws should be decided on their merits or problems, not something purely artificial like "This seems like a good number of laws."

If we told the government it could do ten things and only ten things, the first thing it would do would be to try to increase the number. The second would be to define however many things it was doing as ten. The third would be taxes. The fourth would be NSA spying. They'd argue about the remaining six slots, and after heated yelling matches on cable news, it would be announced that education, healthcare, and several other services you might actually use sadly could not be included on the list of ten.

Re:The emperor has no clothes (1)

KiloByte (825081) | about a year ago | (#44711743)

You have still way too much faith in the government. Their primary concern is monetizing (or otherwise consummating) the power they got. Spying alone won't get them bribes^Wcampaign donations, it's merely a tool to make the donations less likely to dry out.

Re:The emperor has no clothes (2)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about a year ago | (#44711441)

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.

No, the government needs to axe the laws. Drives me bananas when governments pass law after law after law, with no mechanism for enforcement. It should be required that the government fund enforcement if a new law is passed, and that enforcement cannot be funded through borrowing.

Re:The emperor has no clothes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44711681)

It should be required that the government fund enforcement if a new law is passed

I'll do you one better. It should be required that the government pre-fund enforcement, say, to a period of 75 years.

Re:The emperor has no clothes (1, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#44711685)

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

Re:The emperor has no clothes (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year ago | (#44711183)

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.

Which specific item of the constitution do you imagine prevents that?

As the lead of the federal executive, it's precisely his job to choose what priorities the feds have, amongst those things they are empowered to do.

Re:The emperor has no clothes (0)

DaHat (247651) | about a year ago | (#44711321)

Which specific item of the constitution do you imagine prevents that?

Article Two, Section One, Clause Eight:

I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

How exactly does "picking which laws I want to enforce" get lumped into his oath to "faithfully execute" his office? ... not that this is the first time he's opted to ignore the law and rule by fiat.

Re:The emperor has no clothes (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44711491)

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

Re:The emperor has no clothes (-1, Troll)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year ago | (#44711611)

I can see why you are marked as a "freak" user. You have no logical argument.

Re:The emperor has no clothes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44711705)

Posts like his are why I drink.

Re:The emperor has no clothes (1)

DaHat (247651) | about a year ago | (#44711769)

I can see why you are marked as a "freak" user. You have no logical argument.

Says the person who responds not to my post but to how Slashdot identified friends/foes.

Yes... quite logical.

Re:The emperor has no clothes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44711707)

How exactly does "picking which laws I want to enforce" get lumped into his oath to "faithfully execute" his office?

"Hmm, this person robbed a liquor store, but this other one shot up a mall. But I can only allocate enough resources to prosecute one of them. I know, I'll flip a coin!"

Yeah, it's a total mystery how consciously picking which law to prosecute constitutes faithfully executing his office.

Moron.

Re:The emperor has no clothes (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#44711713)

Can you not read? maybe english is a second language?

first off:
I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

there isn't enough money, so the best of his ability is to prioritize.

"not that this is the first time a president opted to ignore the law and rule by fiat."
FIFY

You should try to understand the parts of the Constitution you quote as well as comprehend what all the words mean.

Re:The emperor has no clothes (1)

AdamHaun (43173) | about a year ago | (#44711223)

Every jurisdiction effectively picks and chooses which laws it's going to enforce and when. It's called "prioritizing". And sure enough, that's what the feds are doing:

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.

The moral and legal value of prioritization is in the results (i.e. who gets targeted and who gets ignored), not the act itself.

Re:The emperor has no clothes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44711235)

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.

With so many laws on the books everyone in law enforcement choose which laws to enforce. Google "three felonies a day".

Re:The emperor has no clothes (1)

multisync (218450) | about a year ago | (#44711259)

Obama's position does not constitutionally allow him to pick and choose which laws he will and will not enforce

You seriously believe the office of the Attorney General lacks the authority to give federal prosecutors direction on how they manage their limited resources?

Re:The emperor has no clothes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44711279)

Someone needs to learn U.S. civics.

The executive branch is much like the cops. If they choose not to arrest you for jaywalking they do not "execute" that law. It is directly in his power to control what they focus their enforcement of the laws on.

The power of the Executive Branch is vested in the President of the United States, who also acts as head of state and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. The President is responsible for implementing and enforcing the laws written by Congress and, to that end, appoints the heads of the federal agencies, including the Cabinet. The Vice President is also part of the Executive Branch, ready to assume the Presidency should the need arise.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/our-government/executive-branch

Re:The emperor has no clothes (0)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#44711283)

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.

Exactly. This administration plays pretty fast and loose with enforcement and SELECTIVE enforcement. Enforcing marijuana laws in one place and not another is a clear violation of the equal protection clause.

Enforcing marijuana laws anywhere is somewhat questionable, in that its largely a harmless drug.

You could, I suppose, take the position that Once a state enacts laws and regulations on the sale and use of marijuana that it then has clearly taken control of the policing of marijuana use back into its own hands, and therefore the Tenth Amendment [wikipedia.org] kicks in. However, I haven't seen any indication that this is Obama's reasoning.

Re:The emperor has no clothes (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year ago | (#44711399)

This administration plays pretty fast and loose with enforcement and SELECTIVE enforcement.

Who said the feds are going to selectively enforce? The presidential memo specifically says the new policies for enforcement apply in ALL states.

Re:The emperor has no clothes (2)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about a year ago | (#44711295)

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.

Actually, law enforcement is the executive branch's job. It was congress's failure to recognize the constitution that was the failure on this one. Can somebody please explain to me why in 1917 it required a constitutional amendment for the federal government to make alcohol illegal, which would show it was recognized that without the 18th amendment, that making alcohol illegal was a violation of the constitution because the federal government didn't have that power, but now the federal government can make marijuana illegal without a constitutional amendment? Whether or not a drug is illegal is supposed to be up to each state, not the federal government.

Re:The emperor has no clothes (1)

DaHat (247651) | about a year ago | (#44711405)

You seem to be assuming that constitutional amendments are passed by the federal government alone, and ignoring the fact that 3/4ths of the several states must also ratify a given amendment for it to be adopted.

As far as it taking an amendment to make alcohol illegal but not pot... talk to the courts. They have (sadly) upheld the federal laws to this effect repeatedly.

Granted... they did once also say that a farmer growing wheat on his own land and for his own consumption did run afoul of a federal law (Wickard v Filburn)... so this is all nothing new.

Re:The emperor has no clothes (1)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#44711303)

Must have never heard of prosecutorial discretion, then. Nobody, neither personally nor at any level of government, has any obligation to uniformly enforce all laws. I'd have hoped that people who think otherwise are just happy drug users - to my bewilderment, it turns out not to be the case :(

Re:The emperor has no clothes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44711311)

Sure he does... this is part of the "checks and balances."

Legislative branch passes a bad law? Executive decides it wont enforce it. Consider it a form of prosecutorial discretion.

Legislative branch doesnt like that? They can impeach him.

Re:The emperor has no clothes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44711325)

The real irony is the black President siding with states' rights over the rule of federal law which is arguably the greater morally.

Everyone has to set priorities for everything (2)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | about a year ago | (#44711497)

Complete enforcement of every law on the books is impossible. Making choices is inevitable.

With a hundred quatloos to spend, it is better management to spend a hundred deterring sales to minors than to split it between protecting children and harassing adults.

Making choices consistent with the will of the people and with states's rights seems like a good idea.

Re:The emperor has no clothes (5, Insightful)

JohnG (93975) | about a year ago | (#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.

Spaced Out! (1)

cookYourDog (3030961) | about a year ago | (#44711047)

Is it possible that the US's lack of prison space had anything to do with this? Or do we want to REALLY BE SOME COUNTRY, and beat the world record (ours) for highest per-capita incarceration rate?

Re:Spaced Out! (3, Insightful)

zlives (2009072) | about a year ago | (#44711141)

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

Re:Spaced Out! (1)

echnaton192 (1118591) | about a year ago | (#44711643)

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

What, like forever?

Just googled it. This is sick.

Re:Spaced Out! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44711163)

Prisons are businesses anymore...it's easier to fill them with nonviolent drug users and much much safer for the guards. I mean really, the whole reason weed was against the law in the first place was to protect our law enforcement officials from the truly dangerous criminals.

Re:Spaced Out! (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#44711169)

Meh, they're probably just trying to lull us into a false sense of security before deploying the dragnet.

Remember, private prisons often sell themselves on promises of 90-95% fill rates!

Re:Spaced Out! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44711219)

Obama not keeping his word? Inconceivable!

Its a free country (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44711055)

As long as you do exactly what the government asks, no questions asked

Weasel words (5, Insightful)

fhic (214533) | about a year ago | (#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:Weasel words (1)

zlives (2009072) | about a year ago | (#44711173)

i almost wish the statute of limitation was long enough that the Last 3 presidents could have been brought up on charges... maybe that would change the thinking.

Re:Weasel words (1)

RoknrolZombie (2504888) | about a year ago | (#44711185)

The feds will flipflop on this as soon as Obama is out of office. Right now he's trying to save face and this is a really easy way for him to do it without having to spend more money. As soon as the new boss buys his way into office it'll be his (or hers, but really it'll be his) discretion to prosecute users in those states.

Re:Weasel words (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year ago | (#44711351)

The feds will flipflop on this as soon as Obama is out of office.

That depends. If it's a Republican president, you're probably right. If it's a democrat one, that's unlikely.

In this day and age, the majority of Democratic voters don't want a war on cannabis users. And there's no strong business case to either (other than the private prisons providers.) That reality applies just as much to the next Democrat president as this one.

Re:Weasel words (1)

DanTheStone (1212500) | about a year ago | (#44711227)

Agreed. If you have the ability to fix a problem and choose not to, you should not be congratulated for standing on a soapbox and saying it should be fixed.

Re:Weasel words (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44711433)

It's like GWB's signing statements, which he used as ways to modify enforcement elements of laws that he couldn't veto and maintain his needed political capital.

Re:Weasel words (2)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year ago | (#44711287)

The next few years will demonstrate legal recreational use won't cause the Reefer Madness Armageddon. More people will recognize the stupidity of squandering billions on the prohibition/prison industry and a tipping point will be reached.

Re:Weasel words (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#44711335)

All of these "conditions" are arbitrary and open to whatever interpretation the feds feel like today.

Well, Obama has about as much credibility here as his detractors, which is to say, not much. I lost the last of my respect when he issued a memo saying he'd only use drones in the event of an imminent danger to the country. He then went on to redefine imminent in geological terms, and danger as pretty much whatever the Administration thought it was. Your point here is very valid -- what the government says anymore has as much value as a Zimbabwe dollar. What it does, however, can be judged.

All the people who were convicted under laws the administration nows says are outmodded are still in jail. Local police continue to arrest people for simple possession. The DEA continues to raid and burn dispensaries in these states, and abduct their owners (and sometimes patients). Their behavior has changed not at all.

So, at least in the opinion of this author, the federal government will continue to act in this fashion, until such time as enough states pass laws about this that it becomes tenable to disband the DEA by means of an amendment to the Constitution. Congress will not back down; Even if tomorrow it was revealed that a new discovery means that we could synthesize the cure for cancer from marijuana, these assholes would continue breaking down people's doors and shooting them... though probably then for violating some company's patent. -_-

Re:Weasel words (2)

SoupGuru (723634) | about a year ago | (#44711337)

But it's better than Obama saying he's going to double the enforcement of marijuana laws, right? Or do you want the laws enforced? I get confused. It's so hard to understand people when they're more interested in tearing the man down than any discussion.

The President just said he's not going to enforce federal pot laws in states that want to legalize it. I think that's kind of a big fucking deal. If you're pro-legalization, this should be a big fucking deal. The President himself just legitimized your position that has been marginalized for DECADES.

Re:Weasel words (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#44711367)

Exactly, given ALL the evidence, and all the studies, the fact that this remains Schedule 1 clearly shows that DEA is driving the law, and not the other way around.

But as more states follow Colorado and Washington, the whole issue ill eventually resolve itself, as congress will be forced to remove it from the purview of the DEA.

Re:Weasel words (3, Informative)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#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.

More fallout from Snowdon.... (4, Insightful)

whoever57 (658626) | about a year ago | (#44711143)

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

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

Re:More fallout from Snowdon.... (4, Funny)

Ghjnut (1843450) | about a year ago | (#44711237)

If he gets us all thoroughly stoned, we may forget what we were up in arms about. That conniving bastard!

Re:More fallout from Snowdon.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44711627)

Why? He doesn't give a shit about anything (other than starting another middle-east war which his citizens don't want). He's had his maximum two terms, put through all the laws his corporate controllers wanted = job done. Come next election, he'll just be another half-caste doing the dinner talk circuit to make a living. He utter failed after the abysmal Bush / Rumsfeld warmongering regime, and will be remembered as an utter liar.

Finally an Exec. order I agree with. (1)

Badblackdog (1211452) | about a year ago | (#44711197)

"Pass the dutchie to the left hand side"

Yes, but what about banking? (5, Interesting)

14erCleaner (745600) | about a year ago | (#44711229)

Are the Feds going to stop harassing banks [businessweek.com] that accept marijuana businesses as customers? Currently, medical dispensaries have to operate as cash-only businesses, which leaves them vulnerable to robberies.

Re:Yes, but what about banking? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44711361)

so.. drug cartels are fine customers but marijuana growers aren't good enough for banks? O.o I guess it's a volume thing...

Re:Yes, but what about banking? (2)

stox (131684) | about a year ago | (#44711501)

Also, they can't deduct expenses from their revenue for tax purposes. So, basically, they have to pay the current tax rates on revenue, and not income.

Re:Yes, but what about banking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44711555)

What about banking, and what about police raids on legal marijuana dispensaries with SWAT teams and flash grenades and weapons?

I guess on the other hand, we're undoing nearly 80 years of behaviour here. There are bound to be complete fuck ups. The apparatus set up to "wage war" on cannabis is absolutely vast, and no-one seems to know what the fuck they're doing..

I guess watching a few videos for Seattle Hempfest this year made me realise just how far the cause for legislation has come on. There may be hope after all.

this Washingtonian's observation (1)

themushroom (197365) | about a year ago | (#44711253)

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.

Which is typically how you get pot in the first place, historically. Now you just buy it in the store! :-D

Meantime, drive down your average Washington metro city's street and you'll see dispenseries every other block. Funny how that industry cropped up so quicklike. (Irony: Voters closed the state liquor stores, so alcohol vendors have popped up next to the marijuana vendors.)

That's all very nice (0)

Trailer Trash (60756) | about a year ago | (#44711375)

But, in the end, the real question is under what Constitutional authority the federal government supposes to ban or even regulate a substance that is grown and sold within a state. You'd think a "Constitutional scholar" like our beloved President would ask that before he started enforcing laws with vigor as he has.

Oh, and for those of you wondering - there is no such Constitutional authority. Marijuana is under the purview of the states, and if a state says "it's legal", it's legal. Period. The appropriate thing to do would be to make it a felony for federal agents to attempt to enforce unconstitutional laws in your state at the same time you legalize marijuana, with the stipulation that they have to pay for all legal defenses out of their own pockets. Problem solved tomorrow.

Re:That's all very nice (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44711509)

During his Constitutional studies he might have noticed that those laws have always been held to be valid. Did your curriculum skip over those cases? You might want to ask for a refund on your law degree.

Re:That's all very nice (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year ago | (#44711599)

The appropriate thing to do would be to make it a felony for federal agents to attempt to enforce unconstitutional laws in your state at the same time you legalize marijuana, with the stipulation that they have to pay for all legal defenses out of their own pockets.

That doesn't work. Here's why:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.

That makes any state attempting to nullify a federal law completely pointless, even if they keep on trying to do so (the latest being Missouri).

The recourse you're supposed to have is this: Demand from your federal elected officials that they change / repeal the federal law about it. Obama says he's changing federal law enforcement practice (who knows if it will actually change), but the only legitimate legal option here is to get Congress to change it.

Re:That's all very nice (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#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:That's all very nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44711667)

SCOTUS said it federal territory under interstate commerse clause, even if it is grown, sold and consumed entirely within one state. Yes it is the most horrific decision ever, however it is the law of the land.

Zero Credibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44711417)

He has zero credibility, after what he said about not coming down on clinics as long as they were conforming to state law.

Since there is no rule of law (1)

Baldrson (78598) | about a year ago | (#44711559)

Since there is no rule of law, as is obviously the case given the Constitution grants no powers to the Federal government to regulate intrastate manufacture and use of drugs, what's keeping people in power alive?

Good! (1)

reboot246 (623534) | about a year ago | (#44711691)

Being stoned is a great way to cope with this economy. The government seems to be on something (I'm not quite sure what), so why not the general population?

Smoke 'em if you got 'em!

I really like these new Marijuana laws (5, Interesting)

rsilvergun (571051) | about a year ago | (#44711729)

they let the police ignore wealthy smokers while still using the Federal Law to lock up poor people. It's a great way to keep the poor out of your neighborhood. Odds are if you get a group of lower income people together at least one has pot on him, and Federal law lets you seize everyone's property. Sure, legally you get it back, but if you're working 50+ hours/week at two $7.25/hr jobs who's got time for that (unless you can afford a lawyer, but then wealth rears it's head again).

So viva la Medical Marijuana, and our two separate legal systems: One for the poors and one for the rich.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?