Congressional Research Service says not much Feds can do about legalized marijuana

From the Pew Trust: Report: No Easy Options for Feds in Legal Marijuana States

The federal government may not have much choice but to continue its mellow attitude toward legal marijuana in Washington and Colorado.

New laws legalizing recreational marijuana use in Washington and Colorado probably fall under the states’ “power to decide what is criminal and what is not,” according to a new report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS). The report analyzes court precedent and lays out what the Justice Department and the Obama administration might do to enforce federal law now that several states have passed marijuana laws that contradict it.

The agency’s conclusion: The feds face an array of unappealing options.

Here’s the report: State Legalization of Recreational Marijuana: Selected Legal Issues (pdf)

As you may know, the Congressional Research Service is the entity that Congress turns to for detailed policy and legal analysis.

Here’s the key:

In Section 708 of the CSA (21 U.S.C. §903), Congress specifically articulated the degree to which federal law was to preempt state controlled substances laws. This express preemption61
provision recites language that evokes the principles of conflict preemption, stating,

No provision of this subchapter shall be construed as indicating an intent on the part of the Congress to occupy the field in which that provision operates, including criminal penalties, to the exclusion of any State law on the same subject matter which would otherwise be within the authority of the State, unless there is a positive conflict between that provision of this subchapter and that State law so that the two cannot consistently stand together.62

Notably, the provision clarifies that Congress did not intend to entirely occupy the regulatory field concerning controlled substances or wholly supplant traditional state authority in the area. Indeed, Congress expressly declined to assert field preemption as grounds for preempting state law under the CSA. The Supreme Court has stated that this provision suggests that Congress “explicitly contemplate[d] a role for the States in regulating controlled substances.”63 As such, the preemptive effect of the CSA is not as broad as congressional authority could have allowed. States remain free to pass laws relating to marijuana, or other controlled substances, so long as they do not create a “positive conflict” with federal law, such that the two laws “cannot consistently stand together.”

This is crucial, and why the Feds can’t simply overturn the Colorado and Washington laws, for example (or any of the medical marijuana laws, either). The states, of course, have to dance a bit of a fine line to make sure they don’t implement laws in a way that conflict with federal law, but the mere notion of the state having a different way of dealing with marijuana than the federal government is not a problem. In this instance, the CRS actually mentioned an Amendment that you rarely hear having any power:

Under both Tenth Amendment and preemption principles, federal and state courts have previously held that a state’s decision to simply permit what the federal government prohibits does not create a “positive conflict” with federal law.85 As discussed above, under the impossibility prong of conflict preemption, the Supreme Court has specifically held that so long as an individual is not compelled by state law to engage in conduct prohibited by federal law, then simultaneous compliance with both laws is not “impossible.”86

The CRS also explains why international treaties do not overturn state legalization laws.

It is well established that treaties, like federal statutes, may preempt conflicting state laws. The Supremacy Clause expressly provides that in addition to federal law, “all treaties made … under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land.”138 Therefore, a state law is generally preempted to the same degree whether it is in conflict with a federal statute or an international treaty obligation. However, not all treaties are accorded “automatic” preemptive effect.139 Only where a treaty “constitute[s] binding federal law,” without the “aid of any [implementing] legislative provision,” does it qualify as the “Supreme law of the land” for preemption purposes.140 Such treaties are known as “self-executing” treaties—meaning an international agreement with “automatic domestic effect as federal law upon ratification.”141 […]

…neither the Single Convention nor the other international drug control treaties appear to be “self-executing.” Each treaty requires the signatory nation to give legal effect to the goals of the treaty through domestic implementing legislation. The provisions of the treaties do not themselves establish binding domestic law. The United
States, for example, implemented the obligations of these treaties through the CSA.145 Because these treaties do not create binding law “of [their] own force,” it would appear unlikely that a U.S. court would accord the treaties direct preemptive effect.146

So where does this leave the feds? They can use their limited resources to arrest and seize whomever they can get their hands on. They can tie marijuana to other federal laws — gun possession, public housing occupancy, employment drug testing, etc.

None of these options will achieve the overturning of state laws. And their pettiness will turn individuals further against the federal government.

Or… the federal government could listen to the states, and to the people.

Just a thought.

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75 Responses to Congressional Research Service says not much Feds can do about legalized marijuana

  1. datkcycle says:

    “Or… the federal government could listen to the states, and to the people.

    Just a thought.”
    Pete. Don’t be silly. That would be just too easy/sensible/proper/fair/smart (pick any term or combination of terms that fits). That’s just not the Federal Government we’ve come to know and expect.

  2. chandler says:

    God bless America!

  3. Tony Aroma says:

    so long as an individual is not compelled by state law to engage in conduct prohibited by federal law

    That sounds like the Feds can stop states from regulating marijuana if it is applied to state employees. But that’s not really what a positive conflict is. And the CSA also specifically exempts state/local employees for whatever they do in their official capacities (otherwise cops wouldn’t be able to possess drugs that they seize).

    So I think this is great news! Also might explain why we’re not hearing much from the Feds. Their only options are step aside and give up some of their power, or look like a bully throwing a tantrum.

    • Freeman says:

      Tony, I think you (and Pete) have nailed it. The Feds are quiet about mj legalization because anything they can say about it will expose them as the weak and powerless Wizards of Oz that they really are.

  4. claygooding says:

    No matter how you slice it and dice it,,marijuana will remove all over regulation,stupid taxes and attempts too keep hemp off the open market in time the same way it has come this far,,as more people get first hand knowledge of the medical and recreational benefits of the lady more people support legalization.

    You want to speed up legalization,,get a str8 high,,give a str8 needing a sleep aid an indica brownie 30 minutes before sleep time,,then dazzle them with science.

    • allan says:

      indeed… it behooves us to point out that more GIs are now dying from suicide than are being killed in action and that a veteran commits suicide almost every hour of every day of every week of every month of the year and that the feds continue to treat PTSD w/ dangerous and too often lethal pharmaceuticals when a more gentle and far safer alternative exists in cannabis and there are veterans all across the country that will willingly and gladly give testimony to that…

      I’m tired of having flag waving sado-moralist hypocrites literally forcing the hands of many of those suicides. They are cowards, too often not veterans themselves and they need to be charged accordingly – in public.

      There is nothing patriotic about Prohibition. Just the opposite in fact.

      I think maybe the drug policy reform community needs to embrace the protest planned for Lafayette Park in Wash DC (across from the White House) on June 17. It would be groovy if veterans were a visible presence:


      The criminal justice component of the day of action is important because the War on Drugs has exploded the numbers of incarcerated persons, creating millions more young people with felony convictions on their records, making them virtually unemployable. “It’s like we’re still serving time,” Courtney Stewart, leader of The Reentry Network for Returning Citizens told reporters.

      “Approximately 10 percent of the District of Columbia population has had some involvement with the criminal justice system, many of them were previously incarcerated for non-violent and minor offenses, yet they face tremendous difficulties in rebuilding their lives when returning home to the community,” he said.

      It can typically take from nine months to two years before a formerly incarcerated person can find employment, Mr. Stewart pointed out. During that period as many as half of those who were incarcerated will return to jail during a period of prolonged joblessness and dependence on family for support. Mr. Stewart recalls actually sleeping on his mother’s floor for months after returning from D.C.’s Lorton Reformatory in 1985.

      “For far too long, this nation has ignored the myriad crises in urban, inner-city neighborhoods, choosing instead to substitute paramilitary policing tactics like stop-and-frisk, tougher sentencing, and mass incarceration for social, economic and racial justice,” Dr. Daniels continued.

      “Black people marched on ballot boxes in overwhelming numbers to ensure the re-election of President Obama. Now it is time for the president to directly respond to the state of emergency in America’s dark ghettos by having the audacity to end the War on Drugs and vigorously promote investment in jobs, economic and social programs to heal Black families and communities.”

      The day of action’s coalition is calling on President Obama to: issue an executive order terminating the War on Drugs and replacing it with a national initiative that treats drugs and drug addiction as a public health issue; issue an executive order ending the practice of using incarcerated persons as prison labor; and intensify efforts to eliminate the disparity in sentencing between powdered cocaine—for which most offenders are White—and crack cocaine, for which most offenders are Black.


      add veterans and this becomes a very visible coalition… add the DPR orgs and we’ve got a hallelujah chorus… throw in a group of anti-prohibition criminal justice professionals and we be firing up the excavators and raising the wrecking balls to start a real demolition of the WO(s)D wall

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  6. Matthew Meyer says:

    Yeah, I guess now we know even better why the feds have been so slow to act.

    Nice post, Pete.

  7. Duncan20903 says:


    Wow, who’da thunk it? Certainly not moi!

    Now that the mandatory ego aggrandizement is out of the way, let me add this thought: If you’re not in a profession where it matters or suffering from obsession there’s no shame in not understanding the truly arcane aspects of the laws of The United States of America, your home State, and the legal interaction of the two. There’s no question that I’m in the obsession category, and it’s also arguable that I could be said to be in a profession where it matters. Not that I’d ever admit to the latter.

    Now for the first time ever let me mention something that worries me to death that could hand the Feds their victory: cross swearing of State and local law enforcement. Let’s take Gambino v USA 275 U.S. 310 (1927). That’s the case where the SCOTUS stuck down convictions of Mr. Gambino and his henchmen on federal charges of bootlegging. Unless I’m mistaken the agents of New York State were not cross sworn as federal agents. The convictions were struck down on the basis that a State’s agents aren’t authorized to enforce Federal law. Would the ruling have been different had that been true? If so it’s going to take an affirmative law from a State’s Legislature or the popular vote implementing such a law in the States that allow such referenda. I’m only aware of one State that forbids that under current law.

    I’ve actually wondered about this for some time and just the thought of it literally scares me so much that I’ve kept it to myself. But the reality is that if I can come up with the idea so can the Feds and/or other prohibasites. While it’s a very small percentage of the cohort, some of those people actually have a measurable IQ. So if I’m handing them the idea it’s only going to make it enter the controversy a bit sooner than if I had kept it to myself. I also don’t think that it will work in California based on Article 3, Section 3.5, of the California State Constitution which specifically forbids State employees from enforcing Federal law that’s contrary to State law without a ruling from an Appellate Court authorizing that enforcement. To the best of my knowledge California is the only State with such a specific restriction. The best of my knowledge in this case doesn’t mean that it isn’t true in all 50 States. It’s not bloody likely to be true in D.C. since Congress has the final say on any and all of their laws.

    Regardless of any of the above, we’re handing a pasting to the Feds.

    • thelbert says:

      you just made my day, brother.

    • Jean Valjean says:

      Duncan, I’m curious how ‘cross swearing’ might affect school teachers throughout the country, who must swear to uphold the constitution of the US…might the Feds use the constitution, ironically, to attack school teachers who have MMJ cards as being subject to federal law over state law because of their oath?

      • Matthew Meyer says:

        I’m pretty sure county sheriffs swear allegiance to the Constitution, too, but that doesn’t make them enforcers of federal laws.

        • Windy says:

          The primary duty of the Sheriff is to protect the people of his/her county from any and ALL unconstitutional “laws”. There is no legitimate Constitutional authorization for the fed gov to prohibit the people from ingestion of any substance, therefore the prohibition of some drugs is patently unconstitutional. The Sheriff must obey THAT duty before all others, to do otherwise is a violation of his/her oath of office (which violation is a felony punishable with fine, a possible jail term and removal from office — we SHOULD be using this on our congressional delegations which violate their oath of office nearly every day congress is in session).

        • Duncan20903 says:


          Windy as long as Wickard v Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (1942) is precedent recognized by the SCOTUS the enforcement of Federal drugs laws is Constitutional. You’re argument just isn’t going to fly until that turd of a ruling is reversed.

        • Windy says:

          Duncan, in spite of what most people believe, SCOTUS is NOT the final answer on the Constitutionality of “laws”. It is up to We, the People, and we MUST start exercising that right if we want our liberty back.

        • Duncan20903 says:


          The SCOTUS might not have the final say but at this point in time they’ve had the most recent say. I don’t care how Wickard disappears, but until it does we’re stuck with it. I do think that the easiest way to get that precedent overturned is by order of the SCOTUS reversing the Courts previous decision.

      • Duncan20903 says:


        It’s got nothing to do with teachers. I’m talking about swearing agents of State and local police in as Federal agents. It’s nothing new. They’ve been doing so since at least 1989. I learned about the practice through direct personal experience.

        When I say “not new” I mean that it started more than two decades ago at the very least. Relative to the almost 237 years of the United States of America it would qualify as relatively new. I don’t know if this practice started before the Reagan administration. It sure sounds like an idea that would have been dreamed up by the Feds in the 1980s to me. But that last item is just baseless speculation.

        So anyway the local authorities set up drug law enforcement units hiring a crew of jack boots to perform the heinous acts attached to drugs law enforcement. The Federal gov’t also swears them in as Federal agents. The locals go for this because the Feds pay a percentage of the cops salary. So these particular drugs law enforcement personnel are authorized to file charges in either State Court or federal.

        Judge Says From Bench He Believes Seriously Ill Medical Marijuana Patients Were Not Selling Their Medical Marijuana but Binds Them Over for Trial Anyway
        March 29, 2013

        Stevens is a detective with the San Diego Sheriffs Department and is an agent of the cross sworn Narcotics Task Force in which the DEA [bribes] local law enforcement to aid in their federal marijuana eradication effort. Taking the stand in jeans and a beer tee shirt with a cartoon depiction of a scantly clad woman on the back, Stevens testified to having many hours of drug enforcement training but could not recall any training in how marijuana is legally used under state law for medical purposes or how to investigate medical marijuana cases so as not to victimize ill people. /snip/

        The charges in the article linked wouldn’t be covered in Article 3 Section 3.5 of the California Constitution because the victims were charged with violations of State law. It’s only things that are legal under California law that the State Constitution forbids agents of the State of California to enforce using Federal law. It’s my informed opinion that had the defendants acts been legal in California that the cross sworn officer would have been forbidden to file Federal charges. Of course I doubt we should expect that Constitutional restriction to be honored by law enforcement until the California Supreme Court orders it, and the petition to the SCOTUS is not granted certiorari. But to the best of my knowledge this would only be a controversy in California. Could the East Scrotumish, WA police use cross sworn drugs law enforcement and bypass State law if they were so inclined? Unless Washington has codified an equivalent to the California State Constitution section above I would speculate that they could.

        Christ, is Bonnie Dumanis still San Diego’s head prosecutor? Apparently, I see she’s still wearing her knee pads. For some unknown reason I thought that she got cashiered by the voters last year.

        • thelbert says:

          dumanis lost the election for san diego mayor. she is still the grandstanding d.a. she always was, though. maggie thatcher lives!

  8. kaptinemo says:

    I said it before back in 2010, when CA was contemplating doing what WA and CO did: passing a pro-reform referendum would cause the Feds to be trapped into a checkmate. Any move they make is against the express political will of the people of the various States who’ve passed such laws…and risks vastly more than a comparatively toothless lawsuit. For it would demonstrate to the rest of the States that there’s no point in voting, anymore.

    Mess around with democracy, nullify people’s sovereign franchise by nullifying their vote, and there’s no longer any point in playing by the rules of a (rigged) game. The doorway to Hell awaits anyone so foolish as to believe otherwise.

    But, then again, historically as well as currently, the prohibs have never demonstrated much advanced intelligence.

    • divadab says:

      Well, prohibitionists are fascists, by definition, no?

      And isn’t prohibition our own living link and relic of the fascism of the thirties?

      Why would you expect fascists to even understand democratic values? They are all about authority and rule by force – the concept of respect for dissenting values, or even freedom (except for their own) is foreign to their little brains.

      • kaptinemo says:

        Divadab, I was very darkly hinting at something…for the benefit of those of the persuasion that you have mentioned.

        Such always require warnings from time to time. Because they are always scheming to strip their fellow citizens of their rights, the better to rule them. Always. Whether it be this issue or others, the game is always the same.

        • Duncan20903 says:

          There is still a very strong piece of Jeffersonian DNA in the American body politic. Dormant no doubt but if the right buttons are pushed…

          The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure. ~~ Thomas Jefferson

        • divadab says:

          @kap’n – I hope they take the hint!

          and @duncan – bread and circuses make for a flabby body politic. I hope you;re right also!

  9. divadab says:

    Slightly OT (=tangential to the main point) – apparently “Obamacare” will create a shortage of drug treatment counselors.

    • claygooding says:

      Someone was pointing out that Kev-Kev has been silent recently and I think it is because he is busy still trying to get investors to fund the rehab centers necessary to service 800,000 marijuana arrests yearly,,without those centers they are locked into incarceration of all except the few that can afford the drug courts.
      The problem is that with 2 states already legalized and nearly a dozen more making legalization noises the investors ain’t buying Kev’s promises of guaranteed customers.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      In Y2K California voted Proposition 36 into law. The “Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act of 2000 was an initiative statute that permanently changed state law to allow qualifying defendants convicted of non-violent drug possession offenses to receive a probationary sentence in lieu of incarceration. As a condition of probation defendants are required to participate in and complete a licensed and/or certified community drug treatment program.

      I certainly would have expected the numbers of Californians in “treatment” to skyrocket due to that law. But after subtracting the Californians in “treatment” for drinking alcohol addiction the number of Californians in “treatment” fell from 160,040 to 139,470 or -13.929% instead. The population increased 11.279% during that same time period.
      I’ve excluded the stumblebums because they’re not included in The Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act.

      You just can’t break Francis’ Law. I’d rather try to make a dropped rock fall up instead of down than to figure out how to violate Francis’ Law.

      • Duncan20903 says:


        clay, I can’t speak to the laws of any other State but Virginia covers the cost of Court ordered rehab if the defendant is indigent and at a sliding scale for those who are poor but not indigent.

        The people predicting such nonsense are expecting people to voluntarily undergo “treatment” to account for those absurd predictions. It’s stupidity, baseless speculation, and hysterical rhetoric all mixed up into a cow turd pie.

        Where the heck do they get the idea that there are 59,000 Washingtonians currently in “treatment”? There’s been an spectacular increase in that cohort since 2011. SAMHSA says that in 2011 that there were 32,436 if we subtract the stumblebums, 36,437 if we don’t. Then there’s the problem that I’m using the latest figures that are published by SAMHSA AKA the federal government. I suspect the 59,000 figure is a PFTA estimate. PFTA = Pulled From The Asshole, or Plucked From Thin Air in polite company.

        Holy unsubstantiated Batman! It’s the Prohibitionist!!

        Yes Robin, and he’s up to his old tricks again! Bald faced lies, half truths, and hysterical rhetoric!! To the Batmobile, and hurry!!! We must protect Gotham City!!!!

  10. DdC says:

    Boy you can buy em books and send them to school and they still don’t get it…

    Beer and pot are legal for individuals to obtain reasonable amounts as long as it is not sold. Raich v Gonzales. You can’t sell beer without a license, but you can home brew reasonable amounts. A reasonable amount of pot has been determined by the Feds IND program as 300 joints every 25 days or less than 100 plants according to the CSA. Individuals are listed as state jurisdiction protected by the 10th amendment. Just not to sell as per the Commerce Clause ruling in RvG.

    Meaning, its states jurisdiction for anything not distributed, sold or dispensed. Only CA’s Prop 215 was written with no limits, and for anyone for any reason. The MMJ state scams written by cops limiting amounts, create a catch 22 for citizens. Legal to grow their own federally, but then get busted by the state for having more than the state limit. Or buy an ounce or less and break the Federal laws on Commerce. The IRS is busting buyers clubs, not the DEA. CO and WA are creating a whack a mole situation dwindling more taxes for the Feds to waste, when the logical conclusion would be to remove cannabis as a schedule#1 narcotic. Especially Hemp. Or until that happens, don’t let states limit amounts to force purchases and illegal grow ops.

    possess a controlled substance or listed chemical with intent to distribute.

    (1) to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, or possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, a controlled substance; or

    (2) to create, distribute, or dispense, or possess with intent to distribute or dispense, a counterfeit substance.

    (vii) 100 kilograms or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of marihuana, or 100 or more marihuana plants regardless of weight
    Section 841. Prohibited Acts A (a) Unlawful acts
    Controlled Substances Act

    The Feds have patents on cannabinoids for Big Pharma to produce various marinol type medications. Sativex has a whole plant sublingual spray and Mississippi schwag farm grows it. Keeping medicinal with the Pharmacies and Hemp illegal… to sell. Only states can stop individuals from growing their own. Not exactly a Libertarian priority of protection. The moneysluts behind initiatives to limit state amounts to appease the drug worriers recklessly endanger individuals all for their own profits. Not exactly Constitutional, but very American.

    Follow CA or Bust’
    Ending & Pillage Incrementally
    What happens when cops write initiatives.
    Note. Compassionate Use Act not the MMJ Act

    NeoCon Flicts of Interest
    MJ Research Funding Cut as Support Grows
    Is The DEA Legalizing THC?
    Why Do YOU Think They Call it DOPE?

    • datkcycle says:

      Welcome home, brother. Have a toke. I still got your pipe somewhere.

      • darkcycle says:

        ..oops, typo.

      • DdC says:

        Never left, keep the pipe, I’ll stick with my doobies…

        So here I sit around a few plants I’m legally growing while legally toking a doobie and wearing legal hemp I bought at a local store and hemp seed oil from the grocery. Local farmers can’t grow it and I can’t sell it, but thats why I work for a living. Why am I doing this crap again? I think there comes a time when one has to say fuck em. If Americans are that gullible and weak to perpetuate such a nasty war on its own people. After 40 years and the last 15 with more information than one needs to make logical conclusions that this war sucks. Yet they don’t. Still mongering DEAth. Still playing whack a mole on tax dollars. The longest war in our history. Are they really worth salvaging? These drug worriers surly aren’t American or they surely don’t act like it. Back stabbing money-sluts with no interest in Ganja. Writing laws to appease the prisons and make profits with limits, impossible to grow. Forcing a catch 22 buying it, all due to the bogus lies of Nixon rejecting his own Commissions report. State MMJ laws designed to punish individuals seeking medicinal relief. Those most vulnerable taking the biggest risks. No other crimes with side effect punishments received long after getting busted. Like losing college tuition that only provides us with minimum wage workers or taking away food-stamps only leads to prisons when they have to steal food. We are very good at causing and then treating dysfunction, as well as diseases. As long as we don’t cure them or prevent them from selling white powders. War, crime and disease, making us #1. Be well.

  11. skootercat says:

    Not to change the subject, NJWeedman Ed Forchion was busted again! This time he was traveling in a car, probably recognized, and the probable cause to search was a shirt he was wearing with “Chronic” embroidered over the pocket. You can hear his account at
    Here we go again.

    • datkcycle says:

      Oh yeah…it was quite a drama, he was giving his Facebook friends minute by minute updates and even video’d part of the search….now he’s whing to the entire world that he’s out of weed! Ed Forchion is a funny guy.

      • Duncan20903 says:

        Not the brightest bulb in the grow room no doubt. But he must have balls the size of cantaloupes:

        Forchion…fought the state of New Jersey’s newly enacted DNA law, for several months his case put on hold the state’s new DNA law. Upon receiving notice via the mail to surrender his DNA per [N.J.S.A. 53:1-20.17]. Forchion wrote a responsive letter addressed to both New Jersey McGreevy and [the] New Jersey Attorney General…telling each he refused to surrender his DNA but they could kiss his ass and swab their own lips to retrieve sample if so desired.

        Feel free to believe it or not but it’s stuff like that that makes me proud to be part of the cannabis culture. Like I said above, Jeffersonian (political) DNA is still in our genes.

        • skootercat says:

          Ed is trying to get on TV. He was a “finalist” for the show Weed Country and since has been trying to get Discovery and Nat. Geo. channels to use his “act” in their respective pot shows. It has been my contention to get him to work with local (NJ) producers to effect marijuana cases in NJ by a fully informed jury. Act locally and the effect would be felt globally. Force the state to quiet his First Amendment activity but be prepared with activists and lawyers in the tall grass ready to help. I watched his first trial ten years ago on tape and if the State of NJ did not halt the trial and offer him “immediate” parole (ISP), he may well have been set free by nullification. The Court didn’t know what to do with him as the jury sat there nodding their approval. It can happen.
          You can check out his “better” work out at his lawyer’s web site:
          Here he is articulate and you are drawn to his cause for freedom, not put off by his antics. That’s the Ed we hope for in activism, not some TV clown. He needs direction. Yes, he has cojones and the DNA case you mention was big, but if the “Weedman Jury Nullification Defense” became more common in drug trials it would be Homeric!

        • darkcycle says:

          Lack of common sense and bluster, methinks. I think there’s a part of Ed that “just doesn’t get it”. “It” being the reality of the potential consequences he’s tempting. But it will substitue nicely for balls. Fools go where Angels fear to tread, but let’s give some thanks for fools like Ed. Tilt that windmill, buddy!

        • allan says:

          yeah… Ed fights quite the fight. High profiles make a lot of… mmm… “the connected” types… uncomfortable and public visibility definitely carries a power of its own. Tis why I take it so personally that Conde was forced out of business, out of his home and basically out of his country (tho’ he often does return and can be seen at low key events like the Seattle HempFest).

          Lord… I sure wish they hadn’t killed Peter McW (and every single other WOD caused death – and I mean EVERY f’ing one of ’em). But Mammon is a harsh and cruel master.

          And while I’m rambling I have to say the lack of a Rapture® was highly disappointing. (and there’s many ways I can take that conversation) I was so looking forward to a free car… nothing fancy mind you.

          And it does seriously tickle my funny bone that we have the prohibs looking like water drops on a hot cast iron frying pan. Casey Jones indeed…

    • DdC says:

      Last I heard he was living in southern CA? Legally toking under prop 215. Here are some NJWEEDMAN threads he left…

  12. ezrydn says:

    Just in from “The Cowboy.”

    HR 1523: This bill was introduced on Friday by Rep. Congressman Rohrabacher & 5 others. The bill is one sentence:

    ‘‘Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the provisions of this subchapter related to marihuana shall not apply to any person acting in compliance with State laws relating to the production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of marihuana.’’.

    Please send an email to your Congressman (only) and ask him/her to support this bill.

    • DdC says:

      Looks like another bait and switch. State jails instead of federal. Giving states the right to limit amounts still puts citizens in a catch 22 situation. Protecting states rights was not a good thing for Jim Crow laws either. If this even gets a vote, which I doubt. It will only be shot down by the Supremes who have already ruled on Commerce in RvG. States only have jurisdiction when the Constitution doesn’t grant power to the Feds. They have in Raich v Gonzales so no state law will over rule it. Only individuals not selling are not the jurisdiction of the Feds. Unless the states limit the amount, then the states can bust you and are busting most of the 800,000 a year. The only solution is over turn the CSA on Scientific grounds of cannabis not qualifying as a schedule#1 narcotic. Or don’t sell it. Whack a mole wastes taxes. This is not a 10 amendment issue concerning selling it or possessing more than a reasonable amount. Wall St Walmartians run the Ganjawar and that is the bottom line. As long as Sativex is selling sublingual spray and with the Feds patents on cannabinoids keeping it prohibited outside of Big Pharma. Then competition is held back and Hemp and Dispensaries or Potbars are still outlawed. Even if I did trust Rohrabacher farther than I can throw him, which I don’t. A politician can not over turn a Supreme Court decision. Same as a state politician can not over rule a citizens initiative such as Prop 215. It is still the law of the land even with drug worrier appeasers trying to add limits and conditions. It all boils down to integrity. Those willing to fight for their rights verses those willing to sell them out for profits.

      Why Do YOU Think They Call it DOPE?
      NeoConflicts of Interest MJ Research Cut as Support Grows

    • skootercat says:

      Great idea ez. I took my cue from a recent MPP email alert and added my own Frank Pallone (D, 6th-NJ):
      Marijuana law reform is a topic I have written to you about for about two decades. In the past you have always held fast to the status quo and the fears of the American people based on the propaganda of the day. Objective science never supported your fears. I am writing to ask you to cosponsor H.R. 1523, the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act, introduced by three Republicans (Reps. Rohrabacher, Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), and Don Young (R-AK)) and three Democrats (Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Jared Polis (D-CO)). The bill is simple. If adopted, it would create an exemption in the Controlled Substances Act for anyone acting in compliance with state marijuana laws. So, if an individual is following state law, he or she would not be prosecuted and imprisoned by the federal government. The days of marijuana prohibition are coming to an end. Only a luddite supports it anymore. In March 2013, a Pew survey found 52 percent of Americans in favor of making marijuana legal, including 60 percent of independents. Support is up 12 percent in just the last three years. And when people were asked whether federal laws should be enforced in states where marijuana is now legal, 60 percent of all respondents said they shouldn’t be. In time, Congress may end marijuana prohibition across the board. That will come and probably as a result of those of you standing in the way of reform have been cast away by your constituents as an outdated politician serving no one but special interest. There is no reason for the federal government to be spending resources arresting and prosecuting individuals acting legally under state laws. Side with the majority of Americans by co-sponsoring the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act. To do so, please contact Jeff Vanderslice in Rep. Rohrabacher’s office. Thank you.

      The Cowboy is a great American. Support COPs!

  13. Opiophiliac says:


    Well this was predictable:
    Heroin is back. Is your neighborhood next?*

    Powerful prescription painkillers have become pricier and harder to use. So addicts across the USA are turning to this more volatile drug. The new twist: Heroin is no longer just an inner-city plague.

    Heroin in Charlotte has become so easy to get that dealers deliver to the suburbs and run specials to attract their young, professional, upper-income customers.

    These lawyers, nurses, cops and ministers are showing up in the detox ward at Carolinas Medical Center, desperate to kick an opiate addiction that often starts with powerful prescription painkillers such as OxyContin and Vicodin.

    The center analyzed the patients’ ZIP codes to find out where heroin had taken root, says Robert Martin, director of substance abuse services at the medical center.

    “Our heroin patients,” he said, “come from the five best neighborhoods.”

    This is really a poor article, but it does demonstrate the “balloon effect” of cracking down on prescription opiates. So we crack down on doctors treating pain, because its a lot easier to go after a doc who’s name is in the phone book than a street pharmacist who doesn’t advertise. Prices of pills go up, the drug users switch to heroin and the chronic pain patients are left SOL.

    *By “your neighborhood” they mean white suburban middle class neighborhood.

    • Windy says:

      Today’s journalists should really do a bit of research before they publish a piece with misinformation in it. Vicodin is NOT a “powerful prescription painkiller” it is a minor painkiller, not a whole lot better than NSAIDS, the DEA doesn’t even bother doctors who prescribe Vicodin long term to patients; and my hubby can attest to the fact it is not very good at controlling pain, or at least back pain — he’s having surgery next week to replace a disk that has been completely pushed out from between two vertebrae, pinching the nerve root so you can barely see it on the MRI images. He’s had this issue for a long time and had a different kind of surgery on the same area 5 years ago. The pain he’s experiencing is excruciating, and getting worse daily, nothing relieves it. He’s eating brownies and taking a prescribed Valium like drug before going to bed and then using one of those ThermaCare heat wraps and using the vibrator on that area for 15 minutes or so just so he can fall asleep cuz he can’t feel/doesn’t notice the pain when he’s asleep. BTW, he was given Oxycontin for his broken foot and even that doesn’t ease his pain, either.

      • Opiophiliac says:

        Vicodin is a mix of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Hydrocodone is about equalipotent to morphine when taken orally (less potent IV). The reason it is considered a “minor” narcotic is because it is formulated in low dosages. Oxycodone (oxycontin) is only slightly more potent than hydrocodone, but comes in a large variety of dosages 5, 10, 20, 30, 40, 80mgs, ect, and more importantly without the liver-killing acetaminophen. For example one 80mg oxy is equal to 16 percocets, but eating that many percs a day would also include ingesting a lot of acetaminophen. People die from liver toxicity from eating too many acetaminophen containing pills. Users prefer high-dose oxy because its more concentrated. Imagine trying to sniff or inject 16 percs, it would take hours and sure to end in stuffed nose/veins.

        Pain is a complicated thing, its quite possible your husband simply needs a significantly higher dose than he is receiving. Some people need very high doses, which are safe if stepped up slowly. I’ve read cases of people taking over 1000mgs of oxycodone per day. If one opiate (opioid) doesn’t work, another might. Some people don’t respond to opiates at all, but cannabis works for them. Ketamine is also an option (or should be) as well as non-pharmacological options. Doctors need the space to treat each case individually.

        The problem is the DEA has defined an addict as anyone who takes opiates chronically. Obviously they can’t target everyone, so they target the low-hanging fruit: the people on high doses and the doctors who prescribe. Its hard to say exactly who the “real” addicts are, and the fact remains that even addicts suffer from pain issues that deserve medication. Doctors are forced to play detective, some opt out of the game altogether leaving fewer prescribers for more patients. Doctors are often fearful of prescribing the necessary dosages, so more patients “doctor shop” or augment their supply from the black market.

        The sad thing is they think they are stopping people like me and CJ from getting out hands on opiates. This is laughable at best it takes me maybe an hour to score if I so wanted (albiet at high prices). I’ve been on vacation in cities I’ve never been to, not knowing a single local, and scored dope within 24 hours. I’ve been reading a number of stories about the pills to heroin shift taking place as we crack down on pharmaceutical opiates. Yet with the exception of Radley Balko and Maia Szalvitz, no one is looking at this issue in an unbiased way. Its usually we have to stop the drug abusers from getting high without limiting access for the “legitimate” pain patients. No one has demonstrated a way to accomplish that task.

        • darkcycle says:

          Opie, you’ve read Gabor Mate’s incredible book, “In The Realm Of Hungry Ghosts”, right? If not, it’s required reading.

        • Opiophiliac says:

          You know its funny DC I just read it not two weeks ago. I’ve seen Mate on some youtube videos about addiction and the WoD and wanted to read his book for some time. Unfortunately it took forever for libraries in my state to get a copy. I actually had to use inter-library loan from a city halfway across my state just to get a copy.

          Mate makes a strong case, one I am generally inclined to accept (with a few exceptions). I thought his recommendations for treatment were particularly good, as well as criticism of our approach to the WoD. Abstinence-based treatment is never going to be more than marginally successful. Many addicts could be productive citizens if able to get their drugs at low cost and with some quality control, many might even give up their habits in time.

        • Windy says:

          I don’t know if WA has a different set of rules about Drs and pain meds, but hubby’s docs ALL say law enforcement is not bothering with the amounts and dosages of Vicodin and Percoset/Percodan they prescribe, and the pharmacists (at least the ones we’ve talked to) agree. At the hospital when he had broken his leg, there are posters on the wall in EVERY room ab out how to tell them the level of your pain and that the goal is to control pain, they gave him a LOT of pain medications in the first few days after his surgery, and sent him home with a bunch, too. None of those pain meds helps with his back problem, though. Luckily his back surgery has been moved up two days earlier (Mon instead of Wed).

  14. Pingback: Congressional Research Service says not much Feds can do about legalized marijuana | The Freedom Watch

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  16. DdC says:

    Arnold Leff, M.D., is the former deputy associate director of the White House Drug Abuse Office. (Nixon)

    Arnold Leff: What’s behind the crime?
    Santa Cruz Sentinel

    Arnold Leff

    What’s behind the crime? The cause of a significant amount of crime and violence in Santa Cruz, as well as the rest of the nation, is quite clear. It is the same cause of the spike in violent crime a century ago: prohibition. In today’s case, it is not alcohol prohibition. Instead, it is the prohibition we call the “drug war”. The drug war has filled our prisons with those who would be better helped elsewhere. It has cost well over a trillion dollars in public funds and counting. continued

    the County of Santa Cruz et. al. vs. Gonzales et. al
    Dr. Arnold S. Leff, declare as follows:

    Federal Judge Bars Clinton Administration From Punishing Doctors Who Recommend Medical Marijuana


  17. Duncan20903 says:

    The cannabis causes exacerbates schizophrenia crowd isn’t going to let those pesky facts get in their way.

    Greater Marijuana Use Linked to More Severe Schizophrenia

    For the study, 50,087 male Swedish army recruits (ages 18 to 19 years) underwent medical assessments as well as structured interviews by psychologists, including questions on family and socioeconomic background, work, leisure activities, and use of alcohol, drugs, and tobacco.

    At baseline, there were no statistically significant differences between cannabis users and nonusers in terms of psychiatric diagnoses.

    Of the 50,087 participants, 5391 used cannabis. During follow-up, 350 patients were identified as having schizophrenia, and of these, 58 used cannabis.

    58/5391 = 1.07%
    350/50087 = 0.7%
    I’m surprised the didn’t include that in the hysterical rhetoric. A 52.857% increase isn’t statistically significant? Math is hard. I just don’t get it I suppose.
    0.0107*50087 = 535

    Let’s just toss out all of the potheads:
    292/44696 = 0.653%
    OK for all intents and purposes 0.653% seems pretty darn close to 0.7%.

    0.00653*50087 = 327

    I think I need to give Mr. Clemens a call. Perhaps he can tell me if the word statistics is a synonym for hysterical rhetoric.

    At first admission for schizophrenia, the only schizophrenia subtype showing a difference was paranoid schizophrenia, for which cannabis users had a lower rate compared with nonusers.

    One third of users (34 percent) required more than 90 days, whereas only 20 percent of nonusers were hospitalized that long on first admission.

    .34*58 of the “users” is a total of 19 or 20 patients.
    20/50,087 = 0.04% of the total study population.

    .20*58 = 11 or 12 patients

    So we’re looking at a grand total of either 8 or 9 patients presuming that the study was done conscientiously.

    9/50,087 = 0.018% of the total study population.

    I still don’t see any reason to think that it wasn’t an effort by those 9 poor souls to quiet their internal demons, or that the people in charge of deciding when to release them from the asylum weren’t bigots and kept them as inmates for no other reason, or even a combination of the two. Heck, maybe the best cannabis in Sweden is found in the lunatic asylums and they didn’t want to leave. “You can’t put me out doc, I’m still crazy as batshit! Swear to god!!”

    • Opiophiliac says:

      Didn’t Lester Grinspoon debunk that cannabis use correlates with schizophrenia by comparing rates of cannabis use in different cultures and the rate of schizophrenia? That is, he found no correlation.

      David Nutt also address this. Assuming cannabis doubles the risk of developing schizophrenia, it is such a rare disorder that to prevent a single case of “cannabis induced” schizophrenia one would have to prevent something like 6000 individuals from ever taking up the demon weed. It would be insane to develop public policy based on the (nonexistent) risk of cannabis induced schizophrenia.

      • claygooding says:

        I think the best statistic is that the number of cases per capita is still the same now as it has been for the last 5 or 6 decades while the number of users has increased quite a bit,,if marijuana “caused the psychosis wouldn’t the number of cases increased over the last 4 decades?

        • Duncan20903 says:


          Of course that’s why they’ve adapted and are now pushing “exacerbation” and/or “early onset” rather than claiming a causal relationship. Hysterical rhetoric just doesn’t work as well when it can be debunked with a couple of sentences.

    • Servetus says:

      We can’t expect prohibitionists to understand science as it applies to marijuana and schizophrenia, or anything else for that matter. The source of confusion for the deluded prohibitionists might be illustrated by comparing the following two research studies:

      In an article entitled: “Research discovers how marijuana affects the way the brain processes emotional information”:

      The findings, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, also help to explain the possible link between marijuana use and schizophrenia.[my Italics]

      “These findings are of great clinical relevance given recent evidence suggesting that exposure to marijuana during adolescence can increase the likelihood of developing schizophrenia later in life,” says Laviolette, an associate professor in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology. “We know there are abnormalities in both the amygdala and prefrontal cortex in patients who have schizophrenia, and we now know these same brain areas are critical to the effects of marijuana and other cannabinoid drugs on emotional processing.”

      Here is a better explanation for what is really going on:

      By studying a rare genetic disorder that increases the risk of schizophrenia, Laurie Earls, PhD, and colleagues in the laboratory of Stanislav Zakharenko, MD, PhD, at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital identified molecular changes that affect memory and are also present in people with schizophrenia.

      Approximately 30 percent of people with a genetic disorder known as 22q11 deletion syndrome develop schizophrenia, making it one of the strongest risk factors for the disease. In previous studies of mice with the 22q11 deletion, Zakharenko’s group identified changes in nerve cells leading to deficits in the hippocampus — the brain’s learning and memory center — that appear with age. In the current study, the group confirmed similar molecular changes occur in people with schizophrenia. They also zeroed in on the gene contributing to the nerve cell changes.


      In previous studies, Zakharenko’s group found that abnormal nerve cell communication and cognitive dysfunction was associated with elevated levels of a protein that regulates calcium in certain nerve cells known as Serca2. These abnormalities are only detectable with age in mice with the 22q11 deletion.

      In the current study, the researchers identified the gene Dgcr8 as the source of the changes. It produces molecules called microRNAs that normally keep Serca2 in check. Without them, the protein becomes elevated. By adding these molecules back into the hippocampus of animals with the 22q11 deletion, the researchers were able to reduce elevated Serca2 levels and reduce the cellular deficits associated with this genetic defect.

      To assess whether the findings from these genetic mouse studies might translate to schizophrenia, the authors analyzed post-mortem brain tissue from people with schizophrenia. The researchers discovered that Serca2 was elevated even in patients with schizophrenia who did not have the 22q11 deletion. “These data suggest a link between the nerve cell changes in patients with the 22q11 deletion syndrome and those that occur in patients with schizophrenia…”

      Because schizophrenia is associated with brain changes in the same brain areas affected by cannabinoids, there has been a trend among some researchers to suspect cannabis as having a causative role in schizophrenia. The kind of ‘link’ prohibitionists refer to, in this case, is mere speculation on the part of the researcher for the purpose of understanding the results of the research. Prohibitionists interpret this relationship as causative because they want it to be causative for use as anti-drug propaganda.

      What Earls’ and Zakharenko’s research shows is that marijuana can have an effect on schizophrenics who use it, but that the schizophrenia itself is a disease that begins in early childhood, and is due to the genetic defects indicated, as well as others.

  18. claygooding says:

    Cheech and Chong Celebrate 4/20 With Q&A Series

    The infamous comedy duo Cheech and Chong are known for their films and love of cannabis, which makes April 20 the perfect day to celebrate both on social media.

    In celebration of their new animated feature film, Cheech and Chong’s Animated Movie, the two will hang out with fans across multiple social media platforms, starting with a Reddit AMA at 11:00 a.m. ET.

    Throughout the day, they will also interact with fans on Twitter, Facebook and Google, then end the day with a Livestream countdown to 4:20, complete with exclusive video commentary from the new film.

    Twitter users with burning questions for Cheech and Chong can use the hashtag #CC420, and the duo will answer at random beginning 12:00 p.m. ET. The Facebook Q&A will start at 1:00 p.m. ET on their official Facebook Page.

  19. Jean Valjean says:

    Good article on the “othering” of addicts and other outsider groups:

  20. kaptinemo says:

    Well, Kerli’s feeling a bit frisky, today:

    Drug czar: No state can nullify federal marijuana ban via RawStory.

    Looks like he didn’t get the memo from Congress’s Research staff. But then, most prohibs are hopeless, grunting troglodytes when it comes to things like the ‘Net…or democracy, for that matter.

    • darkcycle says:

      Kap, they haven’t given him an updated script yet. He’s a good mouthpiece, so he’s still reading the same lines over and over again. One thing for certain…no policy change announcement will come from Kerly, he’s an employee. He’ll be lucky if they cc him the update. Otherwise he’ll get it from MSNBC.

    • DdC says:

      Kap’t there is a difference between selling cannabis, that is covered under the Commerce Clause that states can’t overturn due to Raich v Gonzales giving the Feds jurisdiction for anything over a reasonable amount. Then there is the 10th amendment protection of states rights to govern individuals growing a reasonable amount for themselves. Or states rights to limit the amounts in a catch 22 with the Feds. MMJ states and WA and CO have screwed the citizens limiting amounts. If a citizen tries to grow a Federally approved reasonable amount that is more than the state permits. Then the state busts them as they do most of the arrests. Only CA has a proposition designed to keep people out of jail. Compassionate Use not the MMJ Act. As it stands selling pot in any amount is a Federal offense enforced by the IRS. So any state authorizing sales will be up against the Supreme Court decision and shot down. Since there is not enough Feds to bust everyone they are taking a whack a mole approach. Not my kind of Democracy. No long term planning, no medical defense and mandatory minimum sentencing. Over turn the CSA and remove cannabis Ganja and Hemp or don’t sell it. This waste of time blaming the Federal government when its the states doing most of the arrests. The true reason behind the Ganjawar is it is beneficial to Wall St. DC follows their lead. Its their profits and their competition kept at bay. If people want to write state initiatives until the CSA is dead, don’t appease the dung worriers with limits or silly hoops for sick people to have to jump through. I don’t see why this is so hard to understand except for the same reasons the Walmartians have.

      Its difficult to get a man to understand something,
      when his salary depends on his not understanding.
      ~ Upton Sinclaire.

      Follow CA or Bust’
      Ending & Pillage Incrementally
      Note. Compassionate Use Act not the MMJ Act
      Legalizers, Common Sense & Wrong Dollars

  21. They are getting slick in Michigan –

    LANSING — Suspicion based drug testing of public assistance recipients passed a House committee on a 6-3 straight party line vote Wednesday.

    The bill would kick people off the benefit rolls if they test positive for drugs, including medical marijuana, unless they agree to attend a 90-day rehabilitation program.

    Why would a doctor want his patient rehabbed if he recommended that his patient use marijuana for medical reasons?

  22. .. says:

    “I’ve been going around the country trying to convince people that knowing the unsatisfactory results of alcohol prohibition doesn’t prove that any specific implementation of legal alcohol will turn out to be an improvement.” —Mark Kleiman’s grandfather


    • .. says:

      I posted the above as a comment on Kleiman’s thread—he appears to have deleted it! Could somebody please repost it?

      • Duncan20903 says:

        Are you hoping he’ll break his delete button if he pushes it too many times? It’s pointless to post on that particular comments column IMO.

        • we're/on/the/same/side says:

          Then at least kindly ask him why he deleted it.

        • Duncan20903 says:


          He deleted it because he didn’t like it. He tries to scam people with that nonsense that you aren’t entitled to your own facts despite the fact that his argument fails unless he gets to use his own preferred “facts”. The man is a fraud.

      • Done/it/myself says:

        Meanwhile, Washington is busy sabotaging their own interests and the will of the majority of their own citizens.

        “I’ve been going around the country trying to convince people that knowing the unsatisfactory results of marijuana prohibition doesn’t prove that any specific implementation of legal marijuana will turn out to be an improvement.” —Mark Kleiman, 2013

        “I’ve been going around the country trying to convince people that knowing the unsatisfactory results of alcohol prohibition doesn’t prove that any specific implementation of legal alcohol will turn out to be an improvement.” —Mark Kleiman’s grandfather, 1933

  23. Duncan20903 says:

    I’m willing to bet dollars to dirt that the attendees will do significant damage to the grass. The grass that they bring with them, not the grass that’s already there:

    Denver officials eye 4/20 marijuana celebrations with wariness, dread

    A spokeswoman for Denver Health Medical Center wrote in an e-mail that the hospital is not anticipating a rush of patients experiencing marijuana-related problems.

    Meanwhile, Denver City Council member Charlie Brown has another concern about the rally: It’s treatment of Civic Center park’s grass. With the ground likely to be squishy from this week’s snow, Brown fears rally attendees could tear up the turf.

    Good grief, it’s simply amazing just how stupid the prohibasites can be. You know, if I can step back for a moment the prohibasites and their hysterical rhetoric is actually funny in the extreme. Prohibitionists please note that we’re laughing at you, not with you.

    Don’t worry, I’m not in favor of having them stick around for laughing stock. Good riddance to bad rubbish, that’s my motto. If I need a laugh I can always watch reruns of Mork and Mindy. Particularly the ones with Jonathan Winters playing their kid. Now those episodes were just plain funny. In the extreme.

  24. allan says:

    OR Senate passes SB 281 (adds PTSD as qualifying condition to OMMP) w/ 19 of 30 votes (identifies 11 state senators needing education/replacement). Now goes to House.

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