The Obama administration is strategizing how to fight legal pot in Colorado and Washington, reports Charlie Savage of The New York Times. While “no decision” is “imminent,” Savage reportsthat senior level White House and Justice Department officials are considering “legal action against Colorado and Washington that could undermine voter-approved initiatives.”
A taskforce made up of Main Justice, the DEA, the State Department, and the Office of National Drug Control Policy is currently considering two courses of action, reports Savage:
One option is for federal prosecutors to bring some cases against low-level marijuana users of the sort they until now have rarely bothered with, waiting for a defendant to make a motion to dismiss the case because the drug is now legal in that state. The department could then obtain a court ruling that federal law trumps the state one.
A more aggressive option is for the Justice Department to file lawsuits against the states to prevent them from setting up systems to regulate and tax marijuana, as the initiatives contemplated. If a court agrees that such regulations are pre-empted by federal ones, it will open the door to a broader ruling about whether the regulatory provisions can be “severed” from those eliminating state prohibitions — or whether the entire initiatives must be struck down.
CONTINUED at Reason. Written by Mike Riggs.