White House embracing ‘State’s rights’?

White House Opposes Republican Amendment Undermining D.C. Marijuana law Reform

So the District of Columbia essentially passed a law reducing the penalty for marijuana from jail to a fine. But U.S. Representative Andy Harris (R-MD) pushed forward an amendment in the U.S. Congress (which controls D.C.’s purse strings) that would prevent D.C. from even using its own funds to “carry out any law, rule or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce criminal penalties for marijuana.”

Pretty ridiculous. Now, however, the White House has stepped in, opposing the amendment:

The White House Statement of Administration Policy reads: “Similarly, the Administration strongly opposes the language in the bill preventing the District from using its own local funds to carry out locally- passed marijuana policies, which again undermines the principles of States’ rights and of District home rule.

It’s unusual to see a Democratic administration pointing out the importance of State’s rights. It’s often seen as a loaded term, bringing back memories of segregation and slavery, and being used as a way to undermine any actions of the federal government.

And yet, “State’s rights,” more accurately defined as political powers reserved for the U.S. state governments rather than the federal government, are an essential part of the United States Constitution.

It’s an oddly sad victory when we astonishingly note the White House’s support of the U.S. Constitution.

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29 Responses to White House embracing ‘State’s rights’?

  1. Understand that by legalizing marijuana, we are cutting into some scumbag bankers’ profits.

    Marijuana is naught but the panacea to America’s woes…but that would not be good for the people who are invested in keeping us all in enslavement.

    Physical and mental enslavement because of the medicinal benefits and uses; psychological enslavement because we are informed daily of the beneficial uses that we are forbidden to use.

    Contact your representatives, and let them know that YOU KNOW.

  2. Frank W. says:

    And oddly sad when ultra-red southern Oregon opposes dispensaries in the name of Federal Law Trumps All.This week’s stupid story involves a recall petition to get rid of all the Gold Hill councellors who approved a dispensary in the town.
    On the bright side there’s Eleanor Holmes Norton for DC on CSpan, tearing apart prohibitionists like Andy Harris.

    • allan says:

      thanks for the heads up on that Gold Hill story Frank. I’m glad there are communities in OR w/ lots of money to throw around willy-nilly on such significant *cough* bullshit *cough* efforts.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      It’s not like those jurisdictions that genuflect at the altar of Federal law won’t see those regs struck down be the Appellate Courts. If you don’t believe it why not give the opinion of the Oregon Supreme Court in Willis v Winters (2011) a read. It’s black letter law, State and local authorities can not choose to enforce Federal law over State law.

      It’s also nothing new, see Gambino v United States, 275 U.S. 310 (1927) which features agents of the State of New York subsequent to State law repeal of drinking alcohol prohibition arresting the Petitioners for violating the National Prohibition Act of 1919 and handing them over to the Feds for prosecution. The convictions were vacated by the SCOTUS because the agents of New York State had no probable cause to arrest them because they weren’t violating the laws of New York State.

  3. Jean Valjean says:

    With Elizabeth Warren looking more and more like a “liberal” alternative to Hillary Clinton for president, I tried to find more information about her voting record and position on cannabis reform. All I could find was this article from 2011 which claims she supports medical use but not regulated legalization. Does anyone on the couch know if she is “evolving” on this issue?

    • NorCalNative says:

      Jean, in my opinion, supporting medical but NOT legalization is a big ol fucking red flag!

      It’s a position taken by the politically and mentally challenged because it makes them look compassionate while it also allows Schedule I status to continue to stink up the place.

      Too me, a politician who doesn’t see or understand the hypocrisy and injustice of Schedule I doesn’t deserve SHIT from me, especially NOT MY VOTE.

      OTOH, Warren has good financial instincts that would be valuable in the White House if she stayed true to her values.

      • B. Snow says:

        Yep, if she’s not willing to support the socially liberal position here, Then I figure I may as well support Hillary Clinton, or possibly Rand Paul – for his “Populist” stances on a number of issues, where he and Warren could presumably agree on a few things…
        That’s not saying much – but most with the Pols in DC – seems like they wouldn’t/couldn’t agree on pepperoni pizza for lunch – some would insist on sausage, or extra cheese.
        And, I can totally see some of the tea-baggers going on a hunger strike – because they just decided they now hate pizza as a matter of principle!

        If pressed – they wouldn’t be able to name what principle forces them to hate pizza & That could turn into them answering something that equals “Because Because” = that could turn into an amazing meme…

  4. Tony Aroma says:

    The Obama administration believes marijuana policy is a states’ rights issue

    They keep saying this sort of thing, yet steadfastly refuse to do anything about it. All the president has to do is instruct the DEA to reschedule mj, and viola, it’s a states rights issue. Period, end of discussion. This is basically more of the president trying to sound like he’s doing something about the situation without actually doing anything.

    BTW, why would funds need to be appropriated to NOT arrest people? Seems like funds would only be needed to continue arresting people.

    • cave horse says:

      Drug jihadists often accuse those who favor a lawful market of “cherry picking the buffet” and deciding to obey this law but not that law. The pot is indeed blacker than the kettle; rather than outright totalitarianism, statists prefer a state of anarcho-tyranny, where they pick and choose which situations in which to enforce “the law”, which individuals will be permitted to defy it, and which will feel the gun of the law fire its bullet into the back of their skull, right before their family is charged for the bullet.

      • Duncan20903 says:


        So where the heck is “the LAW is the LAW (blah, blah, blah)” crowd when authorities decide to break the law and violate their Oath? Up in the peanut gallery cheering that lawbreaking like the hypocritical partisan hacks that they are is where.


    • Duncan20903 says:


      Don’t you think that Congress could undo a DoJ re-scheduling if Mr. Obama were to try that? Like lickety-split if they were so inclined.

      There is a de facto “chain of command” and it doesn’t matter what Mr. Obama believes. It would cost him a very large pile of political capital if he were to do that whether or not he succeeds or fails eventually. I have no doubt that Congress could get the “veto proof” votes to re-instate the schedule I if he were to try that tomorrow.

      It would also only affect Federal scheduling and IIRC only 4 States + DC don’t classify it as Schedule I (Oregon, Montana, D.C., Tennessee…damn if I can recall #5) on their State level scheduling platform. Every State has a State level law called the Uniform Controlled Substances Act and maintains their own State level naughty lists. Like the word Uniform would suggest the laws are clones of the Federal Controlled Substances Act. Oregon is quite the maverick listing (including but not necessarily limited to) cannabis on schedule II, diphenhydramine on schedule III so it requires a prescription to dispense or own, and actually has put methamphetamine on Schedule I so no Desoxyn for Oregon patients.

      I do suspect that States rescheduling PCP to schedule I helps to explain the absurdity of PCP being listed on Federal schedule II. There’s no veterinarians giving PCP to animals undergoing surgery. It wasn’t until I researched that scheduling that I learned that there are a bunch of animal only substances on the naughty lists. PCP was never approved for use in human medicine.

  5. Servetus says:

    NIDA Director Nora Volkow has published a new paper as of July 14, 2014, entitled Decreased dopamine brain reactivity in marijuana abusers [sic] is associated with negative emotionality and addiction severity. The paper demonstrates her usual reactionary response to cannabis legalization and her bigoted distaste for marijuana consumers:

    Moves to legalize marijuana highlight the urgency to investigate effects of chronic marijuana in the human brain. Here, we challenged 48 participants (24 controls and 24 marijuana abusers (sic)) with methylphenidate (MP), a drug that elevates extracellular dopamine (DA) as a surrogate for probing the reactivity of the brain to DA stimulation.

    Nora chose 24 extraordinarily heavy marijuana smokers (up to five joints per day over a period of at least ten years—unless they’re smoking weak Mexican ditch-weed), and notes their response to MP, a drug used to treat ADHD:

    …the marijuana abusers [sic] showed markedly blunted responses when challenged with MP. Specifically, compared with controls, marijuana abusers [sic] had significantly attenuated behavioral (“self-reports” for high, drug effects, anxiety, and restlessness), cardiovascular (pulse rate and diastolic blood pressure), and brain DA [reduced decreases in distribution volumes (DVs) of [11C]raclopride, although normal reductions in striatal nondisplaceable binding potential (BPND)] responses to MP. In the ventral striatum (key brain reward region), MP-induced reductions in DVs and BPND (reflecting DA increases) were inversely correlated with scores of negative emotionality, which were significantly higher for marijuana abusers [sic] than controls.

    Some drugs don’t work well when taken with other drugs. Volkow has apparently demonstrated that marijuana is contraindicated for MP consumers; good to know for those who want to get high on MP, but not very relevant for the millions who enjoy smoking marijuana by itself. Volkow then takes the opportunity to condemn cannabis using her own brand of speculation and innuendo in her conclusion:

    These deficits…could reflect a downstream postsynaptic effect that in the ventral striatum (brain reward region) might contribute to marijuana’s negative emotionality and addictive behaviors.

    Roughly 90-percent of marijuana consumers are non-believers in marijuana’s alleged “negative emotionality and addictive behaviors ”. But that doesn’t matter to Nora Volkow who insists something must be wrong with marijuana because the federal government prohibits it. Prohibitionists will likely refer to Volkow’s theoretical postsynaptic effect as something real and verified by her research paper, which it is not.

    • Jean Valjean says:

      This paper was peer reviewed by Bertha Madras, Harvard University Medical School. Madras served as the Deputy Director for Demand Reduction for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, appointed by George W. Bush.
      One great circle-jerk.

      • kaptinemo says:

        Go all the way to the bottom, and you find this:

        “No author conflict of interest response is available.”

        Oh, really?. I wonder why. (Nasty laugh)

    • Duncan20903 says:

      The prohibitionist insists that the cart is better positioned in front of the horse.

    • “These deficits…could reflect a downstream postsynaptic effect that in the ventral striatum (brain reward region) MIGHT contribute to marijuana’s negative emotionality and addictive behaviors.”

      Nothing more convincing and scientific than the word “MIGHT”, as in the sentence “I might believe Nora Volkow has no vested interests that would explain her poor judgement and lack of laboratory conclusiveness”

  6. DdC says:

    Is this another lame attempt at Déjà vu all over again?

    First Medical Marijuana Sale Reported in Washington, DC
    July 30, 2013

    Voters in the District of Columbia approved Initiative 59, to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana, with 69% in favor in 1998. The effort was immediately put on hold after the US Congress passed the Barr Amendment, which prohibited Washington from using any of its funds for implementing its medical marijuana program. A decade later, in 2009, Congress finally overturned the amendment and the city could begin to implement the medical marijuana initiative in earnest. About four more years after that, the first sale of cannabis to a licensed medical patient occurred in the District of Columbia this week.

    DC Vote blocked by Barr
    District voters overwhelmingly approved a measure last fall to legalize the medical use of marijuana, according to results released yesterday, but congressional Republicans again vowed that the initiative would not become law.

    MMJ Use Advocates Stage Protest at Barr’s Office
    Supporters of medical marijuana usage blocked the door to Georgia Rep. Bob Barr’ s office Thursday to protest his efforts to overturn a District of Columbia referendum that would permit seriously ill people to use marijuana legally if their doctors recommend it.

    U.S. House votes to overturn Init. 59!
    U.S. House of Representatives passed with a 211-205 vote a D.C. spending bill that includes an amendment which will overturn Initiative 59, the medical marijuana initiative that D.C. residents passed in November 1998 by a 69-31 margin.

    Bob M Barr S Kills American Vote Linx

  7. Duncan20903 says:


    Not State’s rights, it’s home rule for the District of Columbia that’s the heart of the controversy.. It’s the same dynamic that in 2009 gave D.C. the opportunity to rewrite I-59 and implement their bad joke of a medicinal cannabis patient protection law.

    It’s a major local issue. Did you know that every license plate issued by the DC DMV has the statement “Taxation Without Representation“? The same as New Hampshire license plates (at least in the past) sported the motto, “Live Free or Die” It’s nothing new, those plates have had that motto for at least a decade.

    It’s also arguable that this is a black/white thing, with Rep. Harris playing the role of the southern plantation owner sticking his nose into District affairs because he doesn’t think black people can manage their own affairs. That’s not my argument, it’s just my observations being reported. I try to remain neutral on the issue but it’s a fact that if Congress allowed the District to impose an income tax on the suburban commuters that it would cost my wife a few thousand dollars annually because of the District’s higher tax rate. Ask me again after she retires and I might have a different opinion. To re-coin a phrase, it is hard to be objective if your income is dependent on your not being objective.

    They’ve already got the modified license plates for after the DC becomes a Stazte, if it ever does:
    DC: The 51st State

    • Jean Valjean says:

      It would sound more like a protest if the DC DMV put the word “NO” back on the front of it.
      As it is, it just sounds like a submissive wheedle.

      • Duncan20903 says:


        My personal opinion is that the motto is just plain lame. I also think that it violates the right to free speech protected by the First Amendment. District car owners who think that D.C. shouldn’t be granted Statehood are required to display that blatant political opinion whether they agree or not. The right to speak freely includes the right to be silent. What would happen if North Dakota or Idaho were to put “Abortion is Murder” on their license plates? It really is the same thing except for the level of disagreement..

        As I said, I was just detailing my observations over the last four decades or so of being a resident older than age 12 in the DC Metro Area.

        Just for some perspective the second most pressing local issue is the name of Washington’s NFL team. I think that ethically they really only have the choice of keeping their name if they were to move to Boise and use a potato for their team logo or move back to Boston. Does everyone know that the team started in Boston and the “Redskins” were the patriots criminals that perpetrated the Boston Tea Party? Well you do now.

  8. kaptinemo says:

    OT, but important.

    Head’s up: Kevvie is going head-to-head with Bill Piper from Drug Policy Alliance at the National Press Club in Warshington DC on July 24.

    Interpreting smoke signals from the marijuana skirmish line

    Remember when they wouldn’t deign to soil themselves in debating us? Looks like they’re getting desperate enough to do that.

    No mercy, Bill! No mercy!. Both barrels, with sabot rounds. No Queensberry Rules; gut him!

    Sabet is the one-and-only mouthpiece of the prohibs smooth and slick enough to raise his knuckles off the ground and do more than grunt and bellow.

    Destroy his credibility, point out the various dis- and misinformation he peddles – when he isn’t lying outright – and do so publicly, and the last hope of the prohib propaganda offensive crashes and burns with him.

    I sincerely hope someone records this.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      I’d tip my hat for Mr. Piper except that I haven’t got a hat. Voluntarily going into the same room as Kev-Kev is truly an act of courage above and beyond the call of duty. I wonder, could we get Mr. Piper to have a brain scan before and after? I don’t think it farfetched to think the Kev-Kev causes brain damage. Perhaps he could stay hooked up to the brain scanner during the debate and we could see it happen in real time.

      • Duncan20903 says:


        Am I mistaken or does this abrupt tactical shift just stink of desperation? It wasn’t that long ago that the ONDCP would forfeit the game rather than play against legalizers in the policy wonks softball league. I mean come on, do you know kind of message that sends the children? Well neither do I. How the heck could a normal person ever hope to figure out what a prohibitionist “thinks?”

        Perhaps they broadcast messages to the children at a frequency that only children can hear? Kind of like Norwegian rats which are very vocal creatures but most of the noises they make are in the ultrasonic. Are the politicians use dog whistles to broadcast the messages to “the children.”

        But now they’re actually ready to engage in a dialog? OK, dialog probably isn’t the right word but it is a barely adequate substitute. Perhaps Kev-Kev is channeling G. Gordon Liddy?

        • kaptinemo says:

          Duncan, it’s even worse than that…for them.

          Consider: Where I work, what often happens is that a person will leave the ‘home’ company and go to work for a subcontractor in order to satisfy certain legal requirements – and strictures – in order for the ‘home’ company to keep the contract. That person will later return to the ‘home company’ after the work is completed.

          I suspect that is what’s happening with Kevvie; he’s still working for the ‘home team’ of ONDCP, and is probably receiving a shiteload of money from them as a ‘subcontractor’, all a legal fiction that fools no one with three brain cells to click together. But he still takes ONDCP’s orders. He’s still ONDCP.

          This is being done so that ONDCP can ‘save face’, he’s their ‘subcontracted’ mask they hide behind, so they can say that they are not doing what GAO has caught them doing at least 5 times before: propagandizing the American people.

          But, no matter. It’s so transparent that only the dimmest bulbs in the public’s mental box would fall for it. They really are getting that desperate.

          Kevvie is the prohib’s version of a ‘Hail Mary’ maneuver. They’re putting all their propaganda eggs in his basket. Break it, and those rotten eggs of theirs will spill out and go splat! splat! splat! everywhere. And no one will be able to abide the stench – or them – anymore.

      • DonDig says:

        Just listened to the whole thing.
        (Kevin claims that the whole SAM thing he is doing is as a volunteer, by the way.)
        Neither of them mentioned that the new drug they are talking about legalizing is non-toxic.
        How does that make any sense, since the whole sham reason for prohibition was that demon weed would make you go crazy. I mean we’re obviously past that, but still, the fact that it is non-toxic ought to have a little political capital I would think, and it was not mentioned. The new industry that is being created is clearly less damaging in all ways than either tobacco or alcohol.
        Hmm. Oh, well.

      • Windy says:

        Here’s the url for the archived video of the Gray/Sabet debate:

        Forgive the long url, google shortener won’t shorten it. It does work, I tested it on FB.

        WTF? It won’t post here, either. Okay, perhaps I can use the url for my posting of of it on FB:

  9. Mallam says:

    1. States’ rights is indeed a loaded term, but for more than what you say. The 10th amendment is a truism; ie, it’s useless and always has been. If the powers of the states aren’t expressly stated, and if the federal government does not take it upon itself to provide that particular function, then whatever is left is “reserved for the states.” A truism. If the feds aren’t doing something that the states want to do, obviously it is reserved for them; if the feds decide it’s their jurisdiction, then it’s no longer reserved for the states (if it fits within the constitutional framework, that is).

    2. It’s not odd at all. The administration knows which way the wind is blowing, they know it would be political suicide to agree with this Republican, especially in DC where Republicans are irrelevant. This is their way to convey and seed change on an issue they feel they’re either a. powerless by themselves to change b. too politically cautious to be more ambitious; both of which are true, and both of which fit into going with the political winds. It requires them to do nothing while achieving a politically popular result. Simple math, Pete.

    3. Last, don’t expect it to continue and be extrapolated onto other issues, especially with the socialists and leftists who are for now your allies. Right now this is the path of least resistance to achieve a result we both desire, especially when states have ballot initiatives and the federal government doesn’t. Consider it a compromise for us to accept this path. It’s certainly not one I want to take or will take on future issues.

    • Windy says:

      “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.” –James Madison

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