Saturday, October 16, 2010

Holder: Justice Will Still Prosecute Marijuana Laws Even If California's Prop 19 Passes

Mr. Holder did not fully spell out the reasons for the decision, but he did allude to the reluctance of the federal government to enforce drug laws differently in different states. “If passed, this legislation will greatly complicate federal drug enforcement efforts to the detriment of our citizens,” he wrote. NYT
I've been pulled by the arguments for and against the legalization of marijuana.
Essentially, I sit on the fence on Prop 19, which legalizes the possession of one ounce of marijuana for people 21 and older in California.
In some regards, legalizing marijuana makes great sense.
In others, not so much. Arresting people for possession hasn't paid off in any way and legalization may shrink the number of drug cartels.
But why don't we just legalize all drug use? Why would we just legalize marijuana?
Apparently, legalization would generate $1.4 billion in annual revenue for the state. But that's not a good enough argument for me. Legalization will come with a lot of expenses.
I think a lot of people are seeing through dollar signs -- tons of money to be made selling marijuana, accessories and opening marijuana cafes.
MADD makes a good argument against Prop 19. It opens a whole other can of worms when it comes to driving under the influence. I can see the commercials now -- don't toke and drive.
Marijuana also isn't harmless to your body and it would be a shame if more kids take it up because they see perceive it okay because it's legal.
Both candidates for California governor -- Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman -- are against the legalization (so is current Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger) and so is Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sen. Barbara Boxer.
The Department of Justice also is against California legalizing marijuana, and frankly, though there is a strong contingent of people who want pot legalized, I don't think it will pass.
The Department of Justice says it intends to prosecute marijuana laws in California aggressively even if state voters approve an initiative on the Nov. 2 ballot to legalize the drug.

The announcement by Eric H. Holder Jr., the attorney general, was the latest reminder of how much of the establishment has lined up against the popular initiative: dozens of editorial boards, candidates for office, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other public officials.

Still, despite this opposition — or perhaps, to some extent, because of it — the measure, Proposition 19, appears to have at least a decent chance of winning, so far drawing considerable support in polls from a coalition of Democrats, independents, younger voters and men as Election Day nears. Should that happen, it could cement a cultural shift in California, where medical marijuana has been legal since 1996 and where the drug has been celebrated in popular culture at least since the 1960s.

But it could also plunge the nation’s most populous state into a murky and unsettling conflict with the federal government that opponents of the proposition said should make California voters wary of supporting it. NYT