Eight Former Directors of the Drug Enforcement Administration, As Well As Other Assorted Big Names Associated With National Drug Policy, Are Turning Up the Heat on Attorney General Eric Holder to Crack Down on Colorado and Washington for Legalizing Marijuana Last Fall.
Even the United Nations is getting into the act. A U.N.based agency, the International Narcotics Control Board, claimed this week that the Obama administration will violate treaties if it doesn’t take action to stop the two states from forging a new marijuana policy.
So far, Holder continues to say the administration is close to announcing its policy, but is not quite there. On Wednesday, for example, he told a Senate panel his department was “still considering” how to proceed.
We hope Holder and his advisers take a deep breath and consider the source of these increasingly shrill attempts to persuade Washington to try to reverse the will of Colorado and Washington voters – and then ignore them.
Is it really surprising that former leaders of the war on drugs want to perpetuate their legacy rather than see another approach aimed at suppressing the black market in marijuana take root?
As Holder knows, the federal government cannot force states to enforce federal pot laws – so like it or not, the drug’s possession will likely remain legal here and in Washington unless, in a colossal waste of resources, DEA agents are ordered to target recreational possession. However, the president himself has already said prosecuting recreational users is not a “top priority.”
So whether a U.N. agency likes it or not, legalization is not going away. No treaty trumps our federal system.
Meanwhile, the big question is what attitude the federal government will take toward growing and selling marijuana commercially – activities the DEA could readily shut down.
That’s what the former DEA chiefs want, of course, and in a letter this week to senators they asked, “Why isn’t the Department of Justice enforcing the Controlled Substances Act in Colorado and Washington?”
Let’s hope Holder understands that it’s no small matter for the federal government to trample on state prerogatives when the consensus that once supported the nation’s drug laws has utterly broken down. He should let Colorado and Washington implement their laws in the coming months just as their voters intended.