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article imageOp-Ed: Feds vs states over pot — Billions of dollars at stake

By Paul Wallis     Jan 4, 2018 in Crime
Washington - Why not start a Fed/states war over pot? Not like there’s anything else more productive to do, is there? Yet another stunning regression from the Trump administration is creating chaos in the new marijuana industry.
The anti-legalization move by Attorney General and much-loathed by some Jeff Sessions to enforce Federal marijuana laws is an anachronism. The world has moved on, but as usual, the United States hasn’t.
The history of the War on Weed is exactly like the history of Prohibition:
1. Anti-marijuana laws created a multi-billion dollar industry which has made organized crime rich.
2. The big money brought in the heavies, and thousands of people have died in drug wars for no reason at all.
3. Drug prohibition has been a huge incentive for corruption and rogue law enforcement.
From the purely clinical side, a drug which has been used for thousands of years with no reports of particular problems was demonized by baseless propaganda. The demonizing was done by the same stern moralists who also apparently find other people’s poverty entertaining.
In the US these days, the equation seems to be that the more irrational the position, the more likely it is to become government policy. No rational basis for this policy, which will cost the US and state economies billions, has even been suggested.
The legal situation is basically this:
1. State and Federal laws coexist. States can make their own laws. Where there’s conflict, it’s a matter of jurisdiction.
2. States don’t have to, and are unlikely to, enforce Federal laws, particularly if the conflicts involve diametric legal opposites.
3. The states can challenge any Federal action which infringes on their rights under the Constitution.
If you’re getting the impression that anything might happen in this very broad range of uncertainties, you’re right. The current description of the situation is “chaos” and that’s not likely to change any time soon.
The business situation is a lot less ambivalent:
Grass is VERY big money and getting a lot bigger exponentially. It’s already worth more than the entire US cabinet any week of the year. Anything or anyone which obstructs making that money won’t be popular, and will create a backlash. Investors, in particular, won’t be too thrilled. (Although someone has suggested that the move was to depress stock prices and make it easier to buy in. It’s called Market Manipulation by Peasants for Peasants.)
Politically, it’s debatable if there’s any support at all for prohibition outside the bubble of conservative hatreds. According to Gallup, 64% of Americans support legalization. That’s roughly twice as many as voted for Trump, even allowing for America’s apathetic voter turnout.
The mid-terms are coming up in November, and this will simply be another reason for people not to vote for the Republicans. It may not be actual electoral suicide, but this weird-looking return to the non-existent values of the highly discredited past won’t help.
It won’t work and can’t work
This administration doesn’t seem to get it. Nobody has “accepted” the right of the administration to pretend to be God. Most states have ignored the Federal laws anyway.
The Feds can’t enforce the marijuana laws on their own, without state cooperation. Turning the FBI in to drug sniffing dogs won’t exactly help the agency’s bottom line, either. As usual, it’s an unworkable, unrealistic policy created out of thin air for no obvious rational reason.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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