The Hill.com: “Voters Say ‘No’ To Pot Prohibition”

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director November 27, 2012

    I have an op/ed today online at The Hill.com’s influential Congress blog (“Where lawmakers come to blog”).

    Read an excerpt from it below:

    Voters say ‘No’ to pot prohibition
    via TheHill.com

    Voters in Colorado and Washington made history on Election Day. For the first time ever, a majority of voters decided at the ballot box to abolish cannabis prohibition.

    … Predictably, the federal government – which continues to define cannabis as equally dangerous to heroin – is not amused. According to various media reports, the Justice Department is in the process of reviewing the nascent state laws. Meanwhile, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has already affirmed that the agency’s “enforcement of the [federal] Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged.” That may be true. But in a matter of weeks, the local enforcement of marijuana laws in Colorado and Washington most definitely will change. And there is little that the federal government can do about it.

    States are not mandated to criminalize marijuana or arrest adult cannabis consumers and now two states have elected not to. The federal government cannot compel them to do otherwise. State drug laws are not legally obligation to mirror the federal Controlled Substances Act and state law enforcement are not required to help the federal government enforce it. Yes, theoretically the Justice Department could choose to prosecute under federal law those individuals in Colorado and Washington who possess personal amounts of cannabis. But such a scenario is hardly plausible. Right now, the federal government lacks the manpower, political will, and public support to engage in such behavior. In fact, rather than triggering a federal backlash, it is far more likely that the passage of these two measures will be the impetus for the eventual dismantling of federal pot prohibition.

    Like alcohol prohibition before it, the criminalization of cannabis is a failed federal policy that delegates the burden of enforcement to the state and local police. How did America’s ‘Nobel Experiment’ with alcohol prohibition come to an end? Simple. When a sufficient number of states – led by New York in 1923 – enacted legislation repealing the state’s alcohol prohibition laws. With state police and prosecutors no longer complying with the government’s wishes to enforce an unpopular law, federal politicians eventually had no choice but to abandon the policy altogether.

    … On Election Day, voters in Colorado and Washington turned their backs on cannabis prohibition. They are the first to do so. But they will not be the last. Inevitably, when voters in the other 48 states see that the sky has not fallen, they too will demand their lawmakers follow suit. As more states lead the way, federal politicians will eventually have no choice but to follow.

    You can read the entire op/ed here. You can also post your feedback and comments to The Hill by going here. Congress is listening; tell them what’s on your mind.

    39 Responses to “The Hill.com: “Voters Say ‘No’ To Pot Prohibition””

    1. =) smile says:

      I believe the government was right. Smoking pot will make you disfunctional and lazy. Maybe I should watch more of those camercials about eggs and hot butter ppsssssss… THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON DRUGS. What a message I think I need therapy.

    2. =) smile says:

      I agree with you Robert K. I grew up in the 1970s & 80s. What a time that was. I wasn’t considered a hippie. I was just a regular guy who liked to smoke weed. Don’t do it now though the job gives random drug tests. Bummer!!
      Seven years without cannibas. All I do is sit on the couch and eat potato chips and dip. grab a big glass of milk with some chocolate chip cookies and wait for the day that pot becomes legal in my state.

    3. Dave Evans says:

      Err, to me hippies are burnout/acid heads that bathe in patchouli. Flower children actually cared and shouldn’t be confused with “hippies”. Hippies: looser druggies, now we call them meth-heads.

    4. Robert K says:

      then are*

    5. Robert K says:

      I wish people would quit using the term Hippies. I and 1 million other people are reg people that work and take care of our kids. I am tired of everyone refuring to us as hippies because we like Cannabis. If you were born in the Hippie Era then yes you are a Hippie, if not then hush there are a lot more of us that are not Hippies and are.

    6. John says:

      I’m on the newswire for 60lbs of Cannabis… Rev. John Holiman… Gillette, WY, 60lbs of cannabis… you can contact me at freetheflower@gmail.com

    7. Anonymous says:

      Its only a matter of time my friends. My guess? 2020 its totally legal and we can all go to the corner store to grab a pack of joints.

    8. RUT says:

      I am amazed at how poorly our elected officials have served us. It would be amazing if the our elected officials up on the hill would look at the proven facts about this plant and decriminalize it before more harmless Americans are put in jail. Laws based on 1930’s propaganda rather than facts should be corrected. If I were a politician I would want my grandchildren to trust me. The young are going to have a hard time convincing themselves what you are telling them the truth about real dangerous drugs when they realize you are not truthful about marijuana. It will be a substance most will be familiar with. Remember our grandchildren could be imprisoned by our governments failure to right this wrong. These currant laws are more harmful than pot. The most important thing we can do is to vote the politicians who want to imprison us out of office.

    9. Hardrock1a says:

      Get active in the Legalization movement!!

      Write, Call, Email, Tweet and Facebook your Congressional people and tell them to vote for the “Respect States and Citizens Rights Act”

      Decriminalization is NOT the answer, it keeps the trade in the hands of the violent criminal element. Legalization brings it under the control of Government.

      You don’t have to fund a drug lord to get a beer, Do you?

      Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol!

      So proud to be living in my home state of Colorado!

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