David Sirota: Ending the Drug War: No Laughing Matter
from In These Times:
Ending the Drug War: No Laughing Matter
Colorado may have legalized marijuana last week, but the fate of the state’s Drug War depends on the Feds.
BY David Sirota
What's next? Amid all the munchie-themed jokes from reporters, political elites and late-night comedians, this remains the overarching question after Coloradans voted overwhelmingly to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana in the same way alcohol is already legalized, regulated and taxed. Since those anti-Drug-War principles are now enshrined in Colorado's constitution, only the feds can stop the Rocky Mountain state—if they so choose. But will they? And should they even be able to?
The answer to the former is maybe. Barack Obama campaigned for president pledging to respect state marijuana laws and his Justice Department in 2009 issued a memo reiterating that promise. But by 2011, the same Justice Department countermanded that directive and authorized a federal crackdown. Now, with the results of the 2012 election, Colorado's Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper has been forced into the awkward position of fighting off the feds in defense of a state constitutional amendment he tried to defeat.
Because of Hickenlooper’s cynical contradictions–the beer mogul opposed pot legalization after making millions selling the more hazardous drug called alcohol—he is not trusted by those pushing for a more rational narcotics policy. That distrust only intensified after the election. Instead of acknowledging the seriousness of a Drug War that is unduly arresting thousands, and that often disproportionately targets minorities, Hickenlooper reacted to the ballot measure's passage with his own infantile attempt at comedy.
“Don’t break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly,” he snickered. ...................(more)