• Experts try to predict Federal response to legalization

    by  • November 9, 2012 • News Stories • 1 Comment

    Washington Justice officials still waiting on Federal response. “But how the state takes the next big step — transforming the marijuana black market into a closed, regulated and taxed marketplace — is unclear. Bob Ferguson, the incoming state attorney general, said he could not predict the federal response… The federal government has several options to respond to I-502, including suing to block creation of a legalized marijuana market, said Hugh Spitzer, a University of Washington constitutional-law professor. “I’m not saying they will. I’m saying they could,” said Spitzer… Peter Bensinger, DEA chief from 1976 to 1981, believes the feds will act. “I can’t see the Justice Department doing anything other than enforce the law. There’s no other out.” Jonathan Martin at the Seattle Times

    Kevin Sabet expects Federal intervention, while Alison Holcomb feels confident I-502 will be left alone. “I can’t imagine the feds would go that hard on medical marijuana and give legalization a pass,” says Sabet, now a professor at the University of Florida’s College of Medicine. “I don’t expect a bomb the first day.” On the eve of election day, I-502 campaign director Alison Holcomb said she was feeling “pretty comfortable” with the possible reaction of feds should the marijuana legalization initiative win–at least if Barack Obama also came in victorious.” Nina Shapiro at the Seattle Weekly

    U. Denver Law Professor Sam Kamin predicts intervention. “He says he thinks the federal government will determine that Washington’s law is going too far and will challenge it in court. “The federal government has been tolerant of marijuana when it’s been under the guise of medicine, when it’s been relatively limited, but to move from those people who have a doctor’s recommendation for marijuana to all adults over the age of 21 is just an enormous growth in the industry,” Kamin said.” Ashley Gross at KPLU

    Former DEA head Peter Bensinger agrees. “Bensinger… administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration from 1976 to 1981, and other former DEA heads urged Holder to make more noise this year about the pot votes. Colorado was a critical state for President Barack Obama’s re-election. Now, he said, “I can’t see the Justice Department doing anything other than enforce the law. There’s no other out.” Kristen Wyatt at the Columbian

    Brian Vicente, A-64 proponent and attorney:  “We are cautiously optimistic about a second Obama term. We hope that he will live up to some of the promises he made on the campaign trail in ’08, when he said he’d allow states to lead on the issue of marijuana reform. And it’s absolutely within his power to push through the rescheduling of marijuana on the federal level. I hope he decides to really lead and take this issue on.” Michael Roberts at the Denver Westword

    Washington State Liquor Control Board: “Brian Smith of the Washington State Liquor Control Board, which will implement the new law, said officials are waiting anxiously to find out what federal law enforcement authorities plan to do. “They have been silent,” Smith said.” Kristen Wyatt at the Columbian


    Steve maintains Marijuana Monitor from Oakland, California. Having grown up in the East Bay and studied at UCLA, he's had ample exposure to contemporary marijuana culture and the policy debate surrounding the issue. He believes that now, more than ever, is the time for clear-headed discussion about pragmatics.

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