Our anti-prohibitionist friends at the prestigious Washington, DC think-tank The Cato Institute will feature a live debate today at 4PM (eastern) entitled The Law and Politics of Marijuana Prohibition. The main focus of the debate, in the wake of Colorado and Washington voters recently approving binding ballot initiatives legalizing and taxing cannabis, is the very important–and unknown–federal response to this next generation of state-based cannabis law reforms that run afoul of the current–and unpopular–federal prohibition on cannabis that is now seventy-five years old.
According to Gallup and PPP polling–to say nothing of the vote totals in Colorado and Washington–more than fifty percent of the population supports legalizing cannabis. Even more recent Gallup polling strongly indicates Americans want the federal government to respect states’ efforts to reform cannabis laws.
Representing the argument that the states can indeed expand personal civil liberties via reform of cannabis laws is Vanderbilt law professor Robert Mikos, and representing, well, the status quo, is former congressman and Drug Enforcement Administration head Asa Hutchinson (who argues that states can’t legalize cannabis, because that will violate federal laws…cannabis is an evil drug…blah-blah-blah).
Also of great note, in advance of today’s live debate, The Cato Institute released a new (and compelling) academic paper by Professor Mikos entitled ‘On the Limits of Federal Supremacy: When States Relax (or Abandon) Marijuana Bans’
You can watch this debate @ 4PM eastern live here.
It seems others are opening their eyes as well…
[Paul Armentano responds: The author of this letter, Dr. Mitch Earleywine, is a member of NORML’s Advisory Board.]
So this federal probation guy says to me(A year or so ago) “Because the federal government doesn’t believe in medical marijuana” And my response to him was “What are you gonna do when too many no longer believe in the federal government?” That day is approaching. Here’s hoping it arrives before our sentencing date, Jan/25 next year.
Ethan Nadelman *shredded* Asa Hutchison and some racist border goon in a debate at the University of Arkansas. It was embarrassing how weak Asa’s arguments were then with his whole, ‘think of the children’ and ‘all drug users are criminals’ arguments. Interestingly, it’s becoming more and more apparent that LEO’s at all levels are trying to stand on te only thing they have left to argue: Federal supremacy of states and individuals.
Oppressors *always* oppress the most on the eve of their demise. They know their position is untenable and will do ever more belligerent acts on their way to the unemployment line. Some will turn to crime even. It’s going to get uglier before they are defeated once and for all.
And BTW, we should let Joe Biden spew his nonsense all he wants. He’s the perfect antidote for the idiocy that spews out of Tommy Chong.
How can the Supremecy Clause prevail when arrest and conviction data prove the Federal government cannot enforce the law with equal protection? If the Federal government funds local LEO’s with Gederal dollars, and the resulting enforcement actions prove to be racially biased, are they not de facto endorsing a violation of the Equal Protection clause?
The other thing I got from this panel is the tacit endorsement of the decriminalization of small amounts. While I can see where Federal enforcement may target distribution, I fail to see where licensure violates the CSA. It is as Dr. Mikos states it: licensure for the purpose of complying with state law does not compel those authorities to comply with any federal law if their sole purpose is to ensure compliance with state law. On the other hand, federal law is clearly applicable to distribution centers and I’ve little doubt that’s where the federal authorities will target their efforts.
As for how they target those centers, I’m not sure they have much they can do criminally, as even Mr. Hutchinson conceded that jury nullification – though he believes jurists are compelled to follow the law – is nearly certain to render all but the true black market cases null and void.
Can Feds ursue asset forfeiture? Sure. Can they claim authority under Supremacy or Commerce clauses? Sure. Will the public stand for these belligerent acts? In CO and WA, I doubt t, and President Obama will be in an extremely difficult position to defend the actions of his officers in public court. In short, I felt like Asa had essentially surrendered, and has acknowledged that the war is lost, public opinion is swayed against prohibition, and all that’s left are the areas of the Constitution they’ve succeeded with previously. Only problem is the public has lost all faith and trust in Federal supremacy.
Let freedom ring?
I missed it, is there any footage of it?
Robert Mikos’ performance?? Well….. he killed it!!!!!!!
What is the most unfair is the fact that we are on the defensive still about Marijuana. Marijuana is the Hightest Sacrament of the Worldwide Church of Jesus Christ. It is well known that Jesus Christ, main purpose was to get the Gospels thru the generations, so we could get to this marvelous moment in history we are in right now.
Right now is the time to save all the paperwork and just legalize it. Still have public laws the same. EVERYONE is allowed to worship God and be able to see life from a better vantage point! Challenge the people who are against it. No one is against it. They have not been help accountable for destroying our best industry for the environment, Spirit of man, everything else. Full Legalization is only way not to judge. End racism, power back to people, have their own medicine, feel how they want too.
Any chance anyone has a link to watch this? missed it being live, as I was at work.
[Paul Armentano responds: Check back here to see if the forum has been archived: http://www.cato.org/multimedia/events.%5D
Props to these educated men fighting the good fight. I’m not one but I’m doing my best. Here’s the link to my response to the white houses response. Sign up and sign them all.
I have been an addiction professional for over 25 years. I would like to interface with others in my profession who would like to see an end to cannabis prohibition. I have watched my field become a corrupt extension of the legal system under the umbrella of “helping addicts”. Not sure if this is the place to look, but I’m just starting this journey. thanks.
I gotta give it up to NORML and thier undaunting and professional spirit of ushering these big but important changes to our society and our world The conviction courage and clarity which they have displayed has been inspirational The fights far from over but I think we got our foot in the door Just waiting for the rest of the dominoes to fall WAY TO GO NORML!!!! WE LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!