California Pot-Legalization Measures to Clash With Federal Law

October 8, 2009

(ChattahBox)—Marijuana activists in the State of California are rushing ahead with pot-legalization measures to be placed on the 2010 ballot, setting the stage for a confrontation with the federal government’s laws criminalizing marijuana. California already is home to a thriving medical marijuana marketplace with scores of storefront dispensaries, selling pot to customers with a doctor’s prescription.

Marijuana decriminalization advocates sense the time is ripe to push for pot legalization, when the financially beleaguered state is desperate for new sources of tax revenue.

However legalizing pot for casual users on a city-by-city basis in California, would certainly create conflicts with federal law making marijuana illegal. But it’s unclear how far the federal government would go to impede a state law legalizing small amounts of pot for personal use.

Federal agencies tasked with enforcing the law, are only concerned with pursuing large-scale drug trafficking. It’s unlikely the DEA would institute a crackdown of small-time casual users.

Additionally, the Obama administration under Attorney General Eric Holder, called a federal truce on raiding state marijuana dispensaries that were in compliance with state laws, allowing the storefront shops to operate without federal interference.

DEA spokeswoman Dawn Dearden said, “Marijuana is illegal under federal law and DEA will continue to attack large-scale drug trafficking organizations at every level.” And President Obama has made clear he does not support the legalization of marijuana.

But the White House is also is reevaluating its drug policies to emphasize prevention and treatment, rather than incarceration.

The federal government has few options available to it for clamping down on a state law legalizing pot, since local law enforcement are largely responsible for making arrests. And the federal government can’t force state law enforcement forces to help DEA agents make arrests.

The only true weapon in the federal arsenal would be to withhold federal funding to California and other states legalizing marijuana.

If any of the ballot measures pass, California would be the first state to legalize marijuana for casual use.



8 Responses to “California Pot-Legalization Measures to Clash With Federal Law”

  1. Richard P Steeb on October 8th, 2009 11:21 pm

    Viva la Tenth Amendment. The federal law is an unconstitutional damned lie.

    To keep cannabis illegal while tobacco and alcohol are dispensed freely is *MURDEROUSLY STUPID*.

    We shall OverGrow!

    -Richard Paul Steeb, San Jose California

  2. JEV on October 9th, 2009 1:38 am

    legalizing marijuana (or cannibis) would be the smartest thing california has done since this depression has started, how many people have lost jobs, how many companies are and have gone out of bussiness. Really the truth about cannibis is out there for the people too see. Looking at how much money dispensaries make and how much money it is and has been giving not only to the state but to federal taxes its perty much clear that by legalizing cannibis and establishing more dispensaries this state can get out of debt fast then anything else here in california. Clearly the fats and the evidance is there for people to see that it is a growing industry where people want to see it or not.

  3. OldMan on October 10th, 2009 2:15 am

    Why just why. Legalize it now and get on with the real problems in the country and world. An stop blowing up the moon NASA it’s not as urgent as real problems like finding a cure for cancer and ending homelessness and hunger!

  4. RFWoodstock on October 13th, 2009 1:58 pm

    Valid medicinal value, it’s a victimless crime, the War on Drugs WAY too costly, too many arrests for simple possession, tax it and use the money to pay for health insurance and to reduce the deficit…Need I say more?

    Woodstock Universe supports legalization of Marijuana for a number of reasons. Check them out and vote in our poll “Should marijuana be legalized?” at

    Current poll results: 96% for legalization…4% opposed

    Peace, love, music, one world,

  5. airhead on July 6th, 2010 1:42 am

    I think marijuana should be legal in all 50 states because marijuana is again natural growing plant people didn’t make it. marijuana was already here and people dried it and started smoke it.

  6. ron miller on July 7th, 2010 3:11 pm

    iv herd a lot of good things on leagleizing pot but i havent read anything how pot being leagle will affect realestate prices toresm i would think people will flock to califorina wen pot is leagle buying housess spending lots money people will vacation in califorina bringing in billions in revenue taxes i hop califorina ready for lot more people excaping harsh pot layws in outher states i no if this law passess ill be moving to califorina an so will alot of outher people so let the outher states be warned thell be loosing lots of tax revenue wen people leave there states i pray it spreads accross the country thank you all who worked so hard on this law to get it on the ballot god bless u

  7. ron miller on August 3rd, 2010 11:21 pm

    how much funding does ca get from the goverment tell the feds to keep there funding ca will keep all tax money made from pot i say if u half to add a doller tax to every bag gram sold to suplement federal funding that ca will loose its goverments loss this is a win win situation for all of ca

  8. ron miller on August 3rd, 2010 11:29 pm

    how much does ca get from feds tell the federal goverment to keep there money ca will keep all tax dollars made no fed tax on pot ad extra dollar tax on pot sold to suplement an money lost from federal goverment goverment can mind there own busisness vote ron paul

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