Excellent article from Mike Maharrey at TAC on the big victory for nullification. This is big!
James Madison wrote in Federalist 46 that refusing to cooperate with unconstitutional federal acts would create “serious impediments” and “obstructions which the federal government would hardly be willing to encounter.”
On Thursday, Eric Holder’s Department of Justice essentially backed down in the face of marijuana legalization by popular vote in both Colorado and Washington state.
The DOJ said that it would not challenge the new state laws. A DOJ memo indicates that as long as Washington and Colorado create “tightly regulated” markets that address eight federal “enforcement priorities,” it will not interfere with state laws. Federal enforcement priorities include preventing distribution of marijuana to minors, keeping drug money out of the hands of criminal enterprises, preventing diversion of marijuana into states where it remains illegal, preventing trafficking, preventing drug related violence, preventing drugged driving, keeping marijuana cultivation off public lands, and stopping marijuana possession on federal property.
The DOJ couched its announcement in language meant to create the impression that it remains in control, even though it’s not.
In a new memorandum outlining the policy, the Department makes clear that marijuana remains an illegal drug under the Controlled Substances Act and that federal prosecutors will continue to aggressively enforce this statute.
The announcement makes it clear the feds have no will to fight the states on weed. They can call it an “illegal drug” all they want, but if they can’t, or won’t, stop people from using marijuana, their “law” means nothing.