The Obama Administration Opposes Legalization — So Tell Us Something We Didn’t Already Know

The mainstream media is in a frenzy over statement’s issued today by the Justice Department alleging that the office will “vigorously enforce” federal anti-marijuana laws in California, regardless of whether voters enact Proposition 19 this November.

Even if Prop. 19 passes, federal drug laws will be ‘vigorously’ enforced, official says
via The Los Angeles Times

The nation’s top federal law enforcement official said the Obama administration would “vigorously enforce” drug laws against people who grow, distribute or sell marijuana for recreational use even if California voters pass a measure to legalize it.

U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr., in a letter sent Wednesday to nine former chiefs of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, wrote, “Let me state clearly that the Department of Justice strongly opposes Proposition 19. If passed, this legislation will greatly complicate federal drug enforcement efforts to the detriment of our citizens.”

The initiative on the Nov. 2 ballot would allow Californians 21 and older to grow up to 25 square feet and possess up to an ounce of marijuana. It also allows cities and counties to authorize cultivation and sales. Several cities, including Oakland, appear poised to do so if the law passes. [Author’s note: Oakland appears poised to do regardless of whether Prop. 19 passes or not.]

Holder’s letter was made public Friday.

… Possession and sales of marijuana are illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act. In his letter, Holder wrote: “We will vigorously enforce the CSA against those individuals and organizations that possess, manufacture or distribute marijuana for recreational use, even if such activities are permitted under state law.”

To which I’d respond: So what? Of course the Obama administration is wedded to America’s failed prohibition policies. After all, it is their policy.

And of course the voters of California cannot change the federal Controlled Substances Act via a statewide vote. Nobody ever claimed that they could.

However, here’s what is noteworthy. Despite the claims of various Prop. 19 opponents that the measure is in ‘direct conflict‘ with federal law or is somehow ‘unconstitutional‘ and would thus be ‘preempted’ by the Feds, at no time today did the federal government challenge the fact that Californians have the legal right to determine their own marijuana policies. Rather, the federal government simply reinforced that they remain of the opinion that marijuana ought to be criminally outlawed — a position that is out-of-step with the American public’s sentiment.

Furthermore, Californians have been here before, and not just in 1996. Seventy-eight years ago this November, Californians overwhelmingly voted for the repeal of a morally, socially, and economically failed public policy – alcohol prohibition. Voters did not wait for the federal government to act; they took the matter into their own hands. And they will do so again this November.

Finally, it goes without saying that the federal justice department — verbal bluster aside — lacks both the resources and the political will to take on the role of targeting and prosecuting the estimated 3.3 million Californians who are presently consuming cannabis for non-medical purposes. These duties are relegated to state, not federal, law enforcement officials. Just as medical marijuana has existed as a legal market in California, in obvious violation of federal Controlled Substances Act, Prop. 19 will too remain the law of the land post-November 2.

Which ultimately begs the question, “If a government’s legitimate use of state power is based on the consent of the governed, then at what point does marijuana prohibition — in particular the federal enforcement of prohibition — become illegitimate public policy?” Perhaps it is time to ask President Obama and United States Attorney General Eric Holder?

131 thoughts

  1. You see it’s set up like a deck of cards, they are sending us to early graves for all the diamonds, they’ll use a pair of clubs to beat the spades.

  2. Yea will cause problems the billion dollar pill companys are behind it. weed (helps) almost everything you make it legal and people will fall from there $$$$$ pills

  3. Once again, our country..our people..our lives..our decisions to be us..our whole future as a people..are being interferred with by the federal government..When is enough, enough? It is time to stop this insanity in its tracks. Its time to get rid of the laws based on the lies, and deceits, by the ones that enacted them.

    The federal government needs to start taking care of “country business”, and not interfere with “the” individuals rights to make their own decisions..The laws themselves are a violation of an individuals rights to procure …Amendment IV..of THE BILL OF RIGHTS…
    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized…..ALSO..Heres a good one..

    “” THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE “”

    OUR PEOPLE GOT TIRED OF THE GOVERNMENT IN CHARGE, AND CHANGED IT..in 1776..WHY…Because any government that does not allow the people/citizens, to pursue their own destinys is an unjust government, and should be abolished/overthrown…THINK ABOUT ALL OF THIS…SOUND FAMILIAR?????

  4. why did i vote for obama?

    i am never helping democrats or HIM again.

    The man is liar through and through.

  5. Shaking up the white house. LOL. Time to get them thinking about it. Prop 19 has done more than you can imagine. I hope Prop 19 passes so I can watch them do the funky chicken. LMAO—YES ON PROP 19!!!!!!

  6. This has gone nuclear viral,over 5000 comments at the Huffington Post in 1 hour and 10 minutes….
    That has to be a record of some kind.

  7. This is a prime example of the conundrum created by letting the cops, feds or otherwise, keep part of or all the drug money they confiscate. Now they are addicted to those funds. Who knows, they may even have a deal with the dealers to take a certain cut. This Black Marketing of normal goods creates corruption within government. Look at Mexico, do you really think we are that far away from becoming like them? Think again. If food, water, and toilet paper were black market items it would be no different. This was started as a means of taking voting power away from those who opposed the ones in power. Now it has gone to far. Vote yes on Prop 19!!!

  8. I bet anythng that I have,that if you were an old trusted friend of Prs.Obama and was just hanging out,and asked him what he would like to do to the grass l;aws. He would say get it legal.But he dont.

    just goes to show ya.

  9. Why in America when you elect a Black man they can’t have compassion for Black people..Jim Crow 2.0 must continue from Holder and Warbama. America the whack job.

  10. THE BARBARIANS ARE AT THE GATE OF THEIR BERLIN WALL OF MARIJUANA PROHIBITION AND THE WALL IS STARTING TO CRUMBLE INTO DUST JUST LIKE OUR RIGHTS UNDER THE CONSTITUTION. THE FEDERAL OVERLORDS OF OUR COUNTRY ARE GETTING NERVOUS OVER PROP 19. THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE TO VOTE IS GETTING TO BE A JOKE WHEN VOTING ON MARIJUANA ISSUES. BIG BROTHER AND THE SOCIALISTIC POWER OF OUR GOVERNMENT = CONTROL. WAH-WAH-WAH MR. HOLDER ALL THE ANTI-PROHIBITIONISTS ARE LAUGHING AT YOU AND THE REST OF THE FED CRONIES. SO WHEN IS PRESIDENT OBAMA GOING TO APPOINT A POT CZAR?

  11. It is true that this is another effort to put fear into the public mind. The public mind will eventually prevail.

  12. I pay taxes in this fucking country just like every single person who lives here. WE should be able to smoke Pot if WE want to. and all these assholes in power forget how they got there. WE VOTE FOR YOU! And you thank us by putting us in jail for having something that doesnt hurt anyone! But sit back and drink your beer buddy and go out and run someone over because your too drunk to see the lines. But oh noo i cant get the munchies, EVERYONE WATCH out I might eat too many cookies, Get real man

  13. I am a 60-year-old white female, and a registered voter in the state of California who votes by absentee ballot.

    I HAVE ALREADY VOTED YES ON PROP. 19., AND I HAVE THE BALLOT STUB TO PROVE THAT I CAST A LEGAL BALLOT.

    What comes out of Obama the Hypocrite’s mouth is unimportant, because we are going to ‘put our own house in order’, and the feds don’t have to be happy with our decisions because THEY DON’T LIVE HERE. It is completely stupid to give millions of dollars each year to Mexican drug-lords when we can put those same dollars into our own state coffers, and improve public safety for the citizens of California by the simple expedient of legalizing marijuana. I also see big revenues from cannabis tourism in our future, which will also be a very welcome development.

    Supposedly, I am exactly the demographic (white/over-50/female) who is not supposed to be in favor of legalization according to the polls. HAH! Once again, the polls fail to predict the visceral rage of long-time Californians who are done with throwing millions down the sucking sump-hole of failed prohibition policy, and who are sick and tired of seeing legal medical marijuana patients and growers harassed. If it takes legalization to protect them, then so be it!

    Come January 1, 2011 (when Prop 19 WILL become law) I plan to grow a pot-plant in my living room JUST BECAUSE I CAN. I can also envision a day when one will be able to go to someplace like a Home Depot garden department and buy indica/sativa seedlings the same way that one buys tomato sets and kitchen herbs now. In order to stay competitive, nurseries are going to have to give people WHAT IS, AFTER ALL, COMPLETELY LEGAL TO GROW IN OUR GARDENS.

    So, stay GREEN, dream BIG, and remember that there are friends and allies for the Cause in exactly the places where the polls and the pundits say there shouldn’t be!!!

  14. Legal Pharmaceutical Drugs have killed over “1 Million” Americans in the last ten years, United States Attorney General Stats, (Fact not Fiction). Marijuana has killed “Zero” Americans, United States Attorney General Stats, (Fact not Fiction).

  15. A.G. Eric Holder would “vigorously prosecute” CA cannabis crimes.

    L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca would “enforce (Federal?) MJ laws”.

    The entire history of USA marijuana prohibition has been based upon outright lies. It has always been about suppressing the civil rights of minorities. For 40 years it has been about a rationale for persecuting opponents of the Military Industrial Complex and Crony Corporatism.

    The DEA has based their fascist police state upon the big lie that cannabis is properly classified as a Schedule 1 substance. At least twice, the political leadership of the DEA has resisted the orders of DEA judges to reclassify cannabis to Schedule 2 or other less restrictive classifications. There are a substantial number of USA patents on the medical applications of cannabis, including US Patent 6630507 issued to the government itself.

    The USA political leadership has been a captive of a fascistic cabal of corporate special interests since Nixon forward. Two scientific taxpayer funded government studies concluded that cannabis should be decriminalized or re-legalized, the La Guardia Commission Report and the Shafer Commission Report.
    Both scientific studies were “buried” as not being politically advantageous.

    When Prop 19 is passed in a few weeks, I would like to see AG Holder prosecute a legal case all the way to the Supreme Court. The Feds will lose in court, on any number of levels expounded here, not to mention the 9th and 10th Amendments to the Constitution.

    This bluster makes AG Holder look really bad, and the Obama administration as a whole look even worse, just before mid-term elections. The spew from L.A. County Sheriff comes off as sounding decidedly fascistic and undemocratic, let alone in direct contradiction to his oath of office, to enforce the laws of the State of California. Should that promise come to pass, Lee Baca is setting himself up for a voter recall at best, and possible prosecution at worst.

    Fight fascism. Vote for freedom. Vote for Prop 19.

  16. umm hey feds people all over California are using cannabis right now,hey feds people all across the usa are using cannabis right now,hey feds people lie in your polls, they smoke weed then tell you on your phone poll they don’t use it.a lot of people use weed every year feds just make it legal tax it and give the people hope and change, i hope there’s change soon demacraps are on there way out for lying repugs will control soon so lets get this over fast

  17. What are the feds so afraid of? Why are they pushing so hard to “threaten” their enforcement upon us? It seems to me that they are swimming against the tide. Pretty soon they will get tired and give up because they are drowning in public opposition. There is power in the people and this is one battle we are choosing to fight. There has been no other time in our history that so many people have come together for the common good. We are all in positions to push the legalization of weed. I don’t live in CA., but I will be with all of you in spirit.

  18. i’m guessing more people than anyone is thinking voted for Obama out of hope that he would be softer on marijuana. I certainly did.

    my mistake.

  19. If the DEA go all out to California then I say we bankrupt them, I suggest a 300% increase in marijuana activity every else in the country until the policy goes national. We will see legalized pot in our life time

    Hazah

  20. They are shaking in their pussy boots. They are downright SCARED of the power of the people. They are scared of losing their stranglehold.

    DONT GIVE THEM AN INCH PEOPLE. THEY ARE THE ONES WHO STARTED THIS WAR… A ONE SIDES WAR AGAINST THEIR OWN CITIZENS. AND WE WILL BE THE ONES TO FINISH IT.

    YOU CAN THREATEN US ALL YOU WANT.
    WE KNOW YOU ARE A JOKE.
    TRY AND STOP US YOU COWARD TERRORISTS.
    WE KNOW WHO THE TRUE PATRIOTS OF THIS COUNTRY ARE

  21. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/15/AR2010101502439.html

    SAN FRANCISCO — Attorney General Eric Holder is warning that the federal government will not look the other way, as it has with medical marijuana, if voters next month make California the first state to legalize pot.

    Marijuana is illegal under federal law, which drug agents will “vigorously enforce” against anyone carrying, growing or selling it, Holder said.

    The comments in a letter to ex-federal drug enforcement chiefs were the attorney general’s most direct statement yet against Proposition 19 and set up another showdown with California over marijuana if the measure passes.

    “If you don’t like the law, then change it”

    Oink

  22. HAHAHAHAAA THEY ARE SOOOO %&*@#$# SCARED!!!!!!! APRIL 29TH 1992 ALL OVER BABY!!! LETS GO WE NOT GOIN DOWN WITHOUT A FIGHT!!!! I ALREADY HEAR THE STREETS OF CALI ECHOING BOB’S SONG… “GET UP STAND UP!!!!!!! STAND UP 4 UR RIGHTS!!!”

  23. How dare the government kick sand in the face of law abiding citizens.Where is our life,liberty and pursuit of happiness? A Gov. of the people,by the people and for the people will, for lack of a better term, “WEED OUT” the puppets on the anti-Cannabis payroll.This is going to be tough since they legalized bribery,another term for lobbists, for campaign contributions.VOTE VOTE VOTE, not just for Prop 19, but for all Pro Cannabis canidates.

  24. Where is our life, liberity, and persuit of happiness? Well if I remember correctly there was a time when we had to FIGHT to get those freedoms, and have had to FIGHT to keep them. Need I say more?

  25. I think that the most interesting and note-worthy assessment of the drug war and or marijuana in particular goes beyond drugs or marijuana in itself. The topic is a can of worms that stretches across many unrelated topics or in other words, sets precedence of the power that both state and federal governmental powers have over each other.

    Currently our government has grown into a system of command being passed from the top down where as our Constitution reaffirms power from the bottom (the American People)going up. We have lost much control and the drug war is the stalemate of this power struggle.

    If for no other reason, Legalize to prove that the American people are in power and will set laws there of. If we pass law and Federal level goes against the will of the American people, then we seed the roots of our great freedom and put our federal government in it’s rightful place, our humble master.

    Currently we are on a path to democratic dictatorship. We are on a dangerous and beaten path that our ancestors fought selflessly in the past to procure our safety from. Fight the power, Be the power!

  26. Doug’s Question above; “What ever happened to a government that is for the people and by the people?” Good Question! A
    Answer: Sold to corporation in exchange for votes and pockets stuffed full of our tax dollars and a promises for more.
    It is getting real easy to see that our Country was stolen from us by those who speak false profits and lies of freedom when they plan to enslave us.
    Do you feel like a slave yet?
    Our government employees are wayward and in so have committed treason of the highest degree.
    This government would rather we the people die in a falsehood of freedoms and so called predesribed liberties than have true freedom, freedom and liberty from them.
    I say go CA citizens and put that vote in their face, in the face of the world. The people of the world are real tired of these tyrants and as you know these tyrants are not only in other parts of the world, no they are in the leadership of this Country.
    They fill our congress seats from every state.
    Look at Kansas, not sure why we even have election here. S. Brownback has already purchased the governorship of Kansas some time ago.
    Notice that that the scariest thing on earth is going to Manhattan Kansas, directly in the middle of our food supply. A Bio-Lab of terroristic kind. And for that Brownback gets to be governor of brum-fuck Kansas.
    I guess we, as American need to decide when we had enough of this bullshit, and call it out into the open. I for one am tired of these treasonist tyrants running in our government filling thier pockets as the nation structure fall down all a round us. When is enough, enough?
    Or are we willing to just be lead of the cliff?
    If that be the case I want to go down like those in warsaws who fought so bravely against tyrants who know nothing but evil.
    I am going to vote my heart out but I don’t think it will mean a thing, I’ve lost faith in the American System as it stands today. I want my Constitution adhere to forthwith and without any further delay for I have had enough and I now am saying WHEN!

  27. Lets see the whole “vigorously enforce” is what kind of made me chuckle a wee bit. so “IF” prop 19 passes ( we know it will ) then there going to decide to step in on a ” federal ” level to enforce ” Federal ” law if WE THE PEOPLE take it to the supreme court such as a previous poster replied what will they say when asked y didnt you step in before this bill and do anything but instead you wait till now when people are taking control all that ” MEANINGLESS THREAT ” BS which is what it is goes out the window.

    from me personally i would love to place ” THE GOVERMENT ” on the stand and as them questions…

    1. So now that you have your head halfway out of your ass, does marijuana still turn people into mindless beasts.

    2. Does reefer still make darkies think they’re as good as white men. ( Harry J. Anslinger quote )

    3.Is it still that Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind. ( personally i’ve never robbed someone so i could get a fix of a bowl pack )

  28. I would call it voter tampering. The Feds can’t come out against a voter inititive before the results…isn’t this unlawful?

  29. I can’t believe that Obama,through Holder,just cut the throat of every Democratic candidate. Right before even a midterm election.
    I wonder what kind of meetings are going on in the Democratic Hdqtrs today?
    Eric Holder just cut loose all ties to the democratic party and the very group of supporters that put Obama
    in office and got Eric his job.
    If they are going to get any of that support back,the democrats in congress are going to have to act very quickly.
    They have painted themselves into a corner and no matter how they jump out,someone is going to get landed on.
    The rescheduling of cannabis to any other classification would shut down the federal law machine before it spends billions of dollars doing the same thing again and accomplishing nothing but the ruining of peoples lives and spending money.
    That or the decriminalization of cannabis at the Federal level. Come on Democratic Congress,make up your feeble minds,but don’t take long,,,,you got to do it before the vote or your candidates will pay for it all over the country.

  30. Is Obama a Socialist? I’ll leave that question to others but he sure is an authoritarian-centric type of President, more interested in protecting the power of the executive branch instead of working towards freedom and democracy. There will be change The People (of all persuasions) can believe in during the 2010 election and then we can move on removing this cancer from 1600 Pennsylvania in 2012. We will see how much he wants to laugh off the MJ vote then!

  31. Dudes and Chix, I’m telling you, this is more of the same Bullshit. Our Government couldn’t pull it’s head out if you tied it to a towtruck. This a racially based, white Christian thing. This a the same shit as Christine O’donnel and the fucking right wing legislating morality, and the politicians who can’t tell them to fuck off cuz they would loose the vote and their money. SAVE YOUR SEEDS, AND HIDE YOUR WEED. Give up a sack one week and donate to NORML.

  32. Dear Editor,
    The legalization of marijuana would have been great, but the
    legalization of industrial hemp would have been better!
    Hemp will create thousands of jobs and return economic control to the
    people. No more wars for petroleum, use hemp instead. Hemp can lead the
    way to economic and ecological sustainability, and help save the
    remnants of our biosphere’s precious heritage, the diversity of life
    that we should bequeath to the seventh generation and beyond.
    and listen to our first President George Washington-
    “make the most of the hemp seed and sow it everywhere!”

    Our Governor should stand up and fight the government if they start using heavy handedness on medical marijuana patients!
    If a government’s legitimate use of state power is based on the consent of the governed, then at what point does marijuana prohibition — in particular the federal enforcement of prohibition — become illegitimate public policy?”

    Darral Good 14727 Bothell way NE apt 33 Shoreline Wa 98155“

  33. I be thinking that the DEA and LEOs in california are going to have their hands full.Sounds like a job for the national guard dressed in full military gear coming to bust down your door for smoking a little joint in the privacy of your own home.DOES THIS REMIND YOU OF ANT TIME IN THE HISTROY (GERMANY AND HITLER) .
    This is where this war on drugs is heading.Military dressed LEOs armed with assalt rifle and no knock warrents busting in doors sounds just like a form of NAZI.VOTE ALL PROHIBITIONISTS OUT OF OFFICE.
    The government works for the people and it is HIGH time to take this country back.
    Maybe passive and non violent protest has not worked the way we had hoped.Maybe violence should be meet with violence.Enough of our people have died fight prohibition(in prison or just out right shot by cops).May be if some of those on the other side paid with their own blood things might change.Alot of LEOs were killed by bootleggers and those fighting alcohol prohibition before alcohol was taxed regulated and then the public educated about it.I dont condon violence ,but I also will not stand by while someone is breaking into my house.
    VOTE YES ON PROP 19.LET US TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK FROM THE GREEDY POWER HUNGRY POLITICIANS.
    GREED GREED GREED EVERYONE WANT TO CONTROL GODS LITTLE WEED.

  34. ?”Prohibition cannot be enforced,for the simple reason the majority of Americans do not want it enforced and are resisting its enforcement,That being so, the orderly thing to do ,under our form of government, is to abolish a law that can not be enforced, a law in which the people of the country do not want enforced.”

  35. if the people of calf. vote to legalize pot then it should be legal. if the U.S. gov. sticks there nose into and tries to stop it like they say they are, then the U.S. is not a fare and free country. the country would be another Russia. then it’s time to move north of the border. if the U.S. government steps in and says what the people who voted for this over rule the people then it’s not for the people by the people. that is a bunch of hog wash and shows what kid of government the U.S. is realy runing.

  36. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-marijuana-holder-20101016,0,5547626.story

    “In a letter sent Wednesday to the former DEA administrators, Holder wrote, “Let me state clearly that the Department of Justice strongly opposes Proposition 19. If passed, this legislation will greatly complicate federal drug enforcement efforts to the detriment of our citizens.”

    “If you don’t like the law, then change it”

    “A Citizen” Votes Yes on Proposition 19

  37. Yes i rembember the L.A.riots well. I was on the edge of my seat ready to rise, yet i held my peace, and stayed where i was. However if proposition 19 passes, and i see those police night-sticks swinging one more time, i will rise from my seat, turn off the tv and take the long midnight drive down through S.L.C. and across Nevada. I will come to Califorina and stand in the streets in protest with with the good people of that great state. Yeah well Attorney General Eric Holder peace and love to you to.

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