This isn’t a told-you-so. Yet. But it’s a good way to bet:
Votes making Colorado and Washington the first U.S. states to legalize marijuana for recreational use could be short-lived victories for pot backers because the federal government will fight them, two former U.S. drug control officials said on Wednesday.
They said the federal government could sue to block parts of the measures or send threatening letters to marijuana shops, followed up by street-level clampdowns similar to those targeting medical marijuana dispensaries the government suspects are fronts for drug traffickers.
…And that’s exactly what I expect will happen. Not suspect: expect. There’s also this neat trick that the government does with federal highway funds to muck about with states that get too stroppy. The brutal truth of the matter is this: despite wishful thinking from the pro-pot community, this administration is not a reluctant participant in the War on Some Drugs. Vice President Biden was a notorious anti-drug tough guy, and there’s no sign that President Obama is interested at all in reeling the DEA in on this. Colorado and Washington state will be targeted by the feds, eventually – if for no other reason than because they’re challenging the authority of an administration that disagrees with them on the dangers of marijuana.
This is an important life lesson for the libertarians, by the way. Liberals may agree with libertarians on some policy results, but they will never will agree with them on policy processes. Contrariwise, conservatives will not always agree on the results, but they will generally concur that the decision making process should be respected. All of which means that a Republican President will probably be more likely to throw up his or her hands at the idea of a state legalizing weed, but otherwise do nothing much about it (especially if the state isn’t voting GOP anyway). But God help you if a Democratic President doesn’t actually like your particular life choice…
PS: If you’re a Coloradan or Washingtonian who voted for Obama and for pot legalization, you split your ticket. Which means that you have precisely no kick coming when the former goes to overturn the latter; he thinks that you’re confused on the issue… and heck, he’s probably right.