Home > posts > Meet Barack Obama’s Attorney General — John Calhoun
October 19th, 2009 5:35 pm
Meet Barack Obama’s Attorney General — John Calhoun
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Regardless of how you feel about its policy aspects, the legal components of the Obama Administration’s decision to essentially halt prosecution for users of medical marijuana in states where it is legal is curious.

The problem is that the Controlled Substances Act has prohibited marijuana as a matter of federal law since the 1970s.  And in 2005, the Supreme Court’s decision in Gonzales v. Raich clarified that this federal power supercedes the states’ ability to legalize pot for medicinal purposes.  Yet despite the fact that there has been no change in federal law, the Justice Department is now essentially allowing the states to nullify the statute by telegraphing that DOJ won’t bring prosecutions.

In fairness, you can make a good case that the medical marijuana laws really are an instance of federal excess (Clarence Thomas does it very well in his Gonzales dissent).  But that’s an argument about what should be, not what is.  And in a nation of laws, that’s not enough.

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