Former Federal Prosecutor: Feds Should Honor States’ Pot Laws

Former federal prosecutor and current law professor Mark Osler offers his take on how the feds might react to Colorado and Washington’s new marijuana laws:

Via CNN:

The residents of Colorado and Washington state have voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, and all hell is about to break loose — at least ideologically. The problem is that pot is still very much illegal under federal law, and the Obama administration must decide whether to enforce federal law in a state that has rejected the substance of that law.

What makes this development fascinating is that it brings into conflict two important strains of political thought in America: federalism and moralism.

Federalists, who seek to limit the power of the federal government relative to the states and individuals, will urge a hands-off approach. Moralists, on the other hand, strongly believe in the maintenance of an established social order and will argue for continuing enforcement of federal narcotics laws.

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13 Comments on "Former Federal Prosecutor: Feds Should Honor States’ Pot Laws"

  1. DeepCough | Nov 14, 2012 at 8:41 pm |

    Well, that is all fine and good, but sadly, incumbent federal prosecuters and the DEA don’t share your opinion, Mark Osler.

  2. Best case scenario is that the Feds try to continue to prosecute, resulting in the good people of Washington state and Colorado becoming thoroughly acquainted with the power of Jury Nullification.

    Once the “cat gets out of the bag” in those two states, it won’t take long until Jury Nullification is nationally re-established as an effective check on government at both the State and Federal level.

    • Littlemisteramerica | Nov 14, 2012 at 9:14 pm |

      This is why people need to take jury duty and not bitch about how much of a pain it is. I don’t understand why activist groups aren’t pushing jury nullification. Or maybe they are and I just have no fucking clue.

  3. Anarchy Pony | Nov 14, 2012 at 8:59 pm |

    Should. Doesn’t mean will.

  4. “moralists” should not be concerned with ensuring federal laws are enforced to maintain social order, but rather ensuring the federal laws are indeed “moral”

  5. Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness | Nov 14, 2012 at 10:30 pm |

    Where will the Prison Industry get its feedstock, when people are allowed freedom? There’s just so much God-damn fucking money in keeping it illegal. Maybe when they sell the authority to tax it to China, I could see it being legal. I think they’ll sell the Great Lakes first, though. So. Much. Money.

  6. They cant enforce, its too many people. Probably going to seek to make an example out of some with harsh prosecutions (fear tactics), but in CO you can grow plants. There is no way to knock on every door that wont cost many funds.

  7. C.Wright.Thru.U. | Nov 15, 2012 at 2:28 am |

    join ‘meditation @ 4:20/legalize deez’ daily!

  8. Well I personally feel President Obama should do the same thing he didn’t when the issue of Gay marriage came up earlier this year. Leave it to the States.

  9. I personally feel President Obama should do the same thing he did when the issue of Gay marriage came up earlier this year. Leave it to the States.

  10. I don’t think that word (federalist) means what you think it means.

  11. Aaron Three | Nov 15, 2012 at 10:32 am |

    What about in Massachusetts? In Mass the state’s Department of Public Health is going to authorize 35 “marijuana treatment centers” (basically dispensaries), where marijuana is going to be cultivated, processed, transported and sold. I foresee an upcoming battle between the state and federal government there as well.

  12. the feds have obligation to the nwo to honor there bylaws

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