Former leaders with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration are essentially encouraging the federal government to go above and beyond the will of the people and nullify the votes for marijuana legalization in both Washington state and Colorado.
Further, the United Nations is apparently getting involved, with a faction of the group calling legalization a violation of international treaties.
Our Los Angeles marijuana lawyers are appalled that first of all, those in our own country would go so far as to say that our electorate’s voices don’t matter, and further that we would consider allowing non-Americans to dictate our laws.
Former DEA chiefs say Barack Obama’s justice department hasn’t moved quickly enough on the issue of whether to file a lawsuit that would strong-arm the states into abandoning the legalization measures before they are ever implemented. They feared nothing would done and the laws would be allowed to be implemented – as the voters intended.
One in particular worried that if that happened, it would essentially create a “domino effect” that would prompt other states to enact legalization efforts as well.
We would hope so. Given the clear economic and social benefits of such a move, it seems common sense, which was why voters in both Colorado and Washington voted in favor of it in the first place.
The former DEA voices are being channeled through the advocacy group Save Our Society from Drugs, based in Florida.
Meanwhile, the International Narcotics Control Board, a division of the U.N., has in its annual report urged U.S. officials to ensure complete compliance with international drug control treaties throughout the whole of the country.
It is worth noting that a number of countries have voiced support for the measures. If Washington and Colorado were able to implement a successful example of what legalization looks like, it could establish a strong precedent not just stateside, but globally.
As some have suggested, the problem is not with the votes in Colorado and Washington. The problem is with the federal law and international treaties as written. With the understanding that a resolution isn’t going to happen overnight, that is where the focus should be.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has said his office is continuing to evaluate and review their options for response to the initiatives, and no clear decision has been made. That review began soon after the vote tallies were in last November.
The agency has basically two different options. It could sue both states in an effort to block them from issuing licenses to those who cultivate, process and sell the drugs, on the basis that it violates federal drug laws. Alternatively, Holder could decide to do nothing, allowing both states to enact the laws as voters intended.
Officials in Washington state say they are prepared to have a regulatory system in place to begin issuing cultivation licenses by August.
Of course, it’s worth noting that DEA officials are not an uninterested party. The expensive drug war policies that they are touting may have failed – but they supported their own livelihoods.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 949-375-4734.
Former DEA Heads: Nullify Colorado, Washington Marijuana Laws, March 5, 2013, By Michael Tarm, Associated Press
More Blog Entries:
Marijuana Legality Challenged By Special Interest Groups, Feb. 25, 2013, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog