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The End Of Prohibition And State's Rights

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For people opposed to our current national Policy regarding marijuana, it has been an interesting couple of months. Secretary of State Clinton’s “shocking” admission that the problems stemming from the drug trade are in large part because Americans Like Drugs is the most recent, but most startling was
newly minted US Attorney General Eric Holder articulation of the Obama administration's position on medicinal marijuana: Tepidly hands-off. They will no longer raid or prosecute Medical marijuana distributors who are in full compliance with their state's laws governing such activity. Of course, that’s the crucial distinction. Normal criminal penalties will apply for recreational distribution and use, except, maybe not! So far, no official opinion has been offered on Massachusetts' recent decriminalization law (or others pending like it), so it remains to be seen how the Obama administration will choose to act. Marijuana remains illegal on the federal level, but, if their stance on medical herb is any indication, we might see a patchwork legalization/decriminalization legal framework, which means, of course, state by state by state.

For many of us opposed to prohibition and the War on Drugs, and equally enthusaistic about the Feds leaving their Grubby Mitts off of our rights, this approach has its appeal. More than one commenter (even here on LAist) has offered variants of “Leave it to the states”, or “states rights” when discussing the frustrating reality of America’s drug policy. And it is understandably galling that the moralizing know-nothings who dominate this country’s discussion of drugs have managed to make it impossible to have an honest conversation about this subject. Especially when you consider that, if their numbers are comparable to their appearance in the debate on gay rights, or the Bush Administration, this means they probably amount to less than 30% of the electorate. Yet, on the other hand, these very same know-nothings are the same fine people who have insisted for decades that they just want to be left alone, that they’re opposed to the gummint imposing outside mores on them that supersedes local values, etc etc etc. We’ve heard it so much that it almost sounds like they’re telling the truth. “If” one is tempted to ask oneself, “they can feel like that, why can’t we? Perhaps, by legalizing or decriminalizing on a state to state basis, gradually the tide will turn and the law will be amended to reflect the changing national opinion.”

This is Bad logic.