See the update at the end of this post about Obama's drug czar spilling the beans on the prez's "new" pot policy.
It's hard to say whether this is good news or bad news, but the Denver Post
has an intriguing update on the Obama Admnistration's response to Washington and Colorado voters legalizing recreational weed.
According to an April 18 article in the newspaper, Attorney General Eric Holder says that while the U.S. Justice Dept. isn't ready to announce a formal response to those initiatives, the shape it will take will depend on how recreational weed affects children
. "When it comes to these marijuana initiatives, I think among the things we'll have to consider is the impact on children," Holder testified during a hearing last week of a congressional appropriations subcommittee. "We are certainly going to enforce federal law."
So what does that mean, exactly?
One way to read Holder's comment is that Obama, who in December told ABC News that he wasn't going to intervene in the democratic process unfolding in Washington and Colorado, may leave those states alone, since the new laws only allow adults 21 and older to smoke weed recreationally. As long as the states enforce the law and prevent teenagers from getting access to all that newly liberated pot, in other words, perhaps the feds will steer clear.
But therein lies the rub: even in California, where you have to have a doctor's note to obtain medical marijuana, kids are showing up at their local elementary schools with their parents' pot brownies. This just happened in Costa Mesa
, where several children shared just one such edible and had to be rushed to the hospital, and the story made national headlines. (The kid who brought the brownie on campus was expelled).
One would assume that if any such mishaps occur in Seattle or Denver, the feds will take notice. According to Holder, though, the feds are also watching to see whether there's an increase in organized crime activity or general violence and mayhem in the two states. He promises that the Obama administration's formal policy in response to recreational weed will be announced soon.
UPDATE, APRIL 25, 12:15 P.M.: Well, that didn't take long. The Obama Administration's drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske doesn't want any stoners thinking that now that two states have legalized recreational marijuana smoking for adults, the feds are backing down on the drug war.
"No state, no executive, can nullify a statute that's been passed by Congress," the former Seattle police chief stated in a Washington D.C. speech. "From our standpoint, as a public health issue, nothing has changed as a result of those two votes."
The Obama administration's recently unveiled budget includes just over $10 billion in funding for anti-drug education and treatment programs, slightly more than the allocation for domestic law enforcement. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!