Friday, December 14, 2012

President Obama on marijuana in Colorado and Washington: another subtle shift toward an authoritarian state

I can recall that back in 2008 then-candidate Barack Obama said that the US had higher priorities than sending the DEA to raid medical marijuana dispensaries in states where such was legal.

And then, of course, his administration had the highest recorded rate of such raids in American history over the next four years.

Now President Obama is saying much the same thing about recent votes to legalize marijuana in Colorado and Washington:
“It would not make sense for us to see a top priority as going after recreational users in states that have determined that it’s legal,” he said.
Parse this carefully, please.

He's not saying, "We will respect the laws passed by the citizens of these states."

He's not saying, "We won't arrest people using marijuana in these states."

He's not saying, "These states have the right to regulate their own social affairs."

What he is saying is that right now, as I speak, I don't see it as real important just today, but the Federal government still possesses the power to completely ignore the wishes of American citizens within these states, we can change our mind any time we want to, and your so-called "rights" as a citizen depend wholly and completely on our sufferance, not any constitutional, legal, or judicial limitations.

In other words, right now it is politically expedient to lie low, but later we will continue to do whatever the hell we want, regardless of the law.

Much like President Obama's successful assertion that he can order even American citizens killed abroad without judicial process, that his administration can ignore court orders with respect to Gitmo detainees, and (most recently) that the government can maintain extensive files on all citizens forever just because, you know, they are the government . . . .

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