US, International Drug Warriors Attack State Marijuana Legalization

As the nation awaits the Obama administration's response to marijuana legalization votes in Colorado and Washington, Tuesday saw a two-pronged attack on the whole notion. On the one hand, former drug czars and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) heads lined up to urge the administration to act now to strangle legalization in its crib, while on the other, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) warned that allowing states to legalize would violate international drug control treaties.

Legalization supporters rejected the attacks, comparing the ex-DEA chiefs to Prohibition agents seeking to justify their efforts and dismissing the global anti-drug bureaucrats as largely irrelevant.

In a joint letter under the auspices of the anti-drug reform group Save Our Society From Drugs, eight former heads of the DEA and four former heads of the Office of National Drug Control Policy urged the federal government to act now to nullify the votes in Colorado and Washington. The same group similarly called on Attorney General Holder to speak out against those state initiatives last September, but he failed to do so.

Holder, who said last week his decision will be "coming soon," is scheduled to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday. The retired drug fighters urged senators to press him on the issue.

"We, the undersigned, strongly support the continued enforcement of federal law prohibiting the cultivation, distribution, sale, possession, and use of marijuana -- a dangerous and addictive drug which already has severe harmful effects on American society," they wrote. "We also respectfully request your committee at its March 6 hearing to encourage Attorney General Eric Holder to adhere to long-standing federal law and policy in this regard, and to vigorously enforce the Controlled Substances Act (CSA)."

The signatories suggested that senators ask Holder is he still believed in the Supremacy Clause when it comes to conflicts between state and federal law and why he isn't enforcing the Controlled Substances Act in Colorado and Washington. They also suggested asking him "what is being done about our international drug treaty obligations," noting that they require the federal government to enforce marijuana prohibition.

And speaking of international drug treaty obligations, the INCB, which is charged with ensuring that countries live up to them, also criticized marijuana legalization as it issued its 2012 Annual Report.

Noting the popular votes in favor of legalization in Colorado and Washington, INCB reiterated that "the legalization of cannabis for non-medical and non-scientific purposes would be in contravention to the provisions of the 1961 Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol."

The INCB also took a shot at medical marijuana, noting that "the control requirements that have been adopted in the 17 states in question and in the District of Columbia under the 'medical' cannabis schemes fall short of the requirements set forth in articles 23 and 28 of the 1961 Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol."

And, also expressing concerns about decriminalization moves, INCB "requests that the government of the United States take effective measures to ensure the implementation of all control measures for cannabis plants and cannabis, as required under the 1961 Convention, in all states and territories falling within its legislative authority."

The two-pronged attack excited a quick response from drug reform groups.

"The former DEA chiefs' statement can best be seen as a self-interested plea to validate the costly and failed policies they championed but that Americans are now rejecting at the ballot box," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "They obviously find it hard to admit that -- at least with respect to marijuana -- their legacy will be much the same as a previous generation of agents who once worked for the federal Bureau of Prohibition enforcing the nation’s alcohol prohibition laws."

"The war on drugs has been a failure by every measure," said Neill Franklin, the executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. "After more than a trillion dollars spent over the last forty years, we have nothing to show for it except more violence on our streets, the fracturing of community trust in the police and overflowing prison populations. Still, use has not significantly declined. It's unfortunate the DEA heads can't admit this failure. As someone who gave three decades of his life fighting this 'war' on the ground, I can tell you that from that perspective, this policy was dead on arrival."

"It is not surprising that these ex-heads of the marijuana prohibition industry are taking action to maintain the policies that kept them and their colleagues in business for so long," said Mason Tvert, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project and an official proponent of the Colorado initiative. "Their desire to keep marijuana sales in an underground market favors the drug cartels, whereas the laws approved in Colorado and Washington favor legitimate, tax-paying businesses. Marijuana prohibition has failed, and voters are ready to move on and adopt a more sensible approach. It's time for these former marijuana prohibitionists to move on too."

As for INCB, it essentially plays the role of toothless nag, said Eric Sterling, the executive director of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation. It is mandated by the United Nations to report on adherence to global anti-drug treaties, but has only the power to hector, not to enforce.

"The INCB has no power other than to issue reports," he said. "It can't issue indictments, it can't call for a resolution in some other body to condemn a nation. It's strictly hortatory, and for many years, it's bordered on the preposterous in the condemnations it's made. The INCB thinks that nations ought to suppress music or motion pictures or books that 'send the wrong message' about drugs. In that sense, it is completely out of step with Western Civilization. They would reject art and music and probably science if it were contrary to their abstinence focus on drug use."

Not only is the INCB relatively powerless, it is largely irrelevant, Sterling said.

"In our American drug policy, they have only negligible influence," he said. "I don't think that in any state capital, the INCB's comments carry any political weight. I don't think in most journals of opinion, their observations are important. Whether their comments have significance in other countries would be harder for me to assess. I tend to believe they are not that important," he said.

"Most people don't even know what it is or what its power is or what it said, including most members of Congress and their staffs," Sterling continued. "The INCB is obscure. Maybe some former DEA administrators might want to refer to them in a press release, but nobody else is going to pay any attention."

The forces of opposition to marijuana legalization are lining up to put pressure on the Obama administration. It shouldn't listen to them, said DPA's Nadelmann.

"President Obama and Attorney General Holder really need to allow Washington and Colorado officials to implement the new laws in ways that protect public safety and health while respecting the will of those states’ voters," he said. "At this point, insisting on blind obeisance to strict interpretation of federal drug laws will only serve the interests of criminals who want to keep this industry underground and law enforcement officials who want to justify their legacy."

- Article originally from Stop the Drug War, used with permission.

Comments

It is time to fight

It is time for americans all over the country to put the goverment down, like a dog with rabies. You can't save it so take it out back and put it out of its misery. We need a new goverment that is for the people!!

Take it to the streets.

The only solution is a revolution.

:)

Let us make it happen

fuck yeah

fuck yeah

A REVOLUTION!!!

ABSOLUTELY, a revolution...but somehow there may need to be a bit more organization let me know where and when and what we have to do I'm a bit inexperienced at toppling out of control governments, BUT I could get behind the revolution idea

A REVOLUTION!!!

ABSOLUTELY, a revolution...but somehow there may need to be a bit more organization let me know where and when and what we have to do I'm a bit inexperienced at toppling out of control governments, BUT I could get behind the revolution idea

Call this number (202) 456-1111 ( WHITE HOUSE)

And tell them what you want
Everyone should make the call.

phone call

it would be even cooler if Barry or his beech would answer actually it might be fun to let them know how exactly this American feels, although I would most likely be arrested and sent to Gitmo for life halfway through the conversation...

Ignore Prohibitionists

Fuck these prohibitionist pigs. They're in part responsible for all the damage that has been done, sitting pretty in their cushy offices, while people's lives are ruined, while people suffer and die. You were fuckin' wrong. Fuck you ex-drug czars, fuck you DEA thugs, and fuck you INCB assholes in Vienna, Austria. You look the other way for CIA assets and shit like Iran-Contra because it fills your pockets and provides funding for the dirty deeds the American people would be outraged about if Congress tried to fund it. Your war on cannabis is lost. Fuck you and the horse you rode in on, all you prohibitionist bastards! All you're worried about is yourselves, and you have no regard for having been wrong or for the jobs and money cannabis has been providing and can provide above ground. People of color are disproportionately affected, so why should Obama or Holder do anything that would further negatively affect minorities?

Agreed.

Well fucking said.

DEA

Looks like they are afraid of losing there jobs and funding. That is the real threat they do not want to tell the truth.
They will lie look they still claim marijuana is addictive and dangerous what a bunch of idiots DEA stands for dead end assholes.

Minority

The Prohibitionist are the new Minority; They can no longer stop the voice of the people. We want our Weed and we are going to get it!!!! Go stick you heads in a hole somewhere Prohibitionist! It's time to find something new to Bitch about.

How the Drug War Fixed the Game

How about saving us from alcohol, you bunch of hypocrites!

It is altogether too easy to see through these anti-American fascist control-freaks.

The real reason why they oppose marijuana legalization is because marijuana has given them an excuse for destroying common people that has worked quite well and they don't want to lose that advantage. They don't like the common people and don't want them to enjoy more freedom and they don't want to lose this fascist advantage, an advantage which has kept them in power much longer than they normally would have.

The fascist-capitalists have fixed the game and they did it using the drug war and the lies about marijuana to do so.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Related Articles

Nils Kongshaug, ABC News
Apr 11 2012
The sun has now warmed the rich soil of California's Central Valley. It's time to plant.
May 1 2013
POT TV - Get high and talk pot with with Marijuana Man and Al the Alchemist LIVE every Wednesday at 4PM Pacific on From Under...
Jan 9 2013
POT TV - Entrepenuers are rubbing their hands together at the prospect of a "Green Rush" in Washington and Colorado after the...

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement