Mike Kueber's Blog

December 14, 2012

Recreational marijuana establishes a beachhead

Filed under: Culture,Issues,Law/justice,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 7:48 pm
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When I was in law school in the 70s, I befriended the president of the Austin chapter of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws).  Although I wasn’t a user, I was a supporter of his cause because of my libertarian, irreverent, contrarian, oppositional, iconoclastic streak.  Plus, the powerful, compelling arguments against criminalization affected my thinking, too. 

Although there has been some progress in the intervening decades, with the medicinal use of mj being approved in a growing number of states, no state had legalized the recreation use of mj.  That all changed this November when the voters in two states – Colorado and Washington – finally accepted the powerful, compelling arguments for de-criminalizing marijuana.  Hallelujah. 

There is even better news in the paper today.  According to the Washington Post, President Obama has declared that the federal government will respect the voters of CO and WA.  This is significant because the possession of mj is still violates federal law, and federal authorities in CA have been harassing the medicinal mj industry there.  The Post article contains three Obama quotes from an interview, and they almost seem spoken by different people:

  • “This is a tough problem, because Congress has not yet changed the law.  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?”  This is typical politician-speak.  Instead of proposing solutions, they propose conversations. 
  • 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.”  This is straight talking.
  • The president, who smoked pot often in high school, told Walters that he does not support general legalization “at this point.” It’s the same position he’s taken throughout his political career, despite his own history.  “There are a bunch of things I did that I regret when I was a kid.  “My attitude is, substance abuse generally is not good for our kids, not good for our society.”  “At this point” reminds me of Obama saying that his position on same-sex marriage was “evolving.”  That means that his position is temporary and will be reversed as soon as it is politically safe to do so.  



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