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Can California Legalize Marijuana?

The Dane

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For those of you who don't know, Prop 19 is:

Proposition 19, also known as the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010, is a California ballot proposition which will be on the November 2, 2010 California statewide ballot. It legalizes various marijuana-related activities, allows local governments to regulate these activities, permits local governments to impose and collect marijuana-related fees and taxes, and authorizes various criminal and civil penalties.[1] In March 2010 it qualified to be on the November statewide ballot.[2] Tax Cannabis 2010 is the official advocacy group for the initiative.

Even if the proposition is passed, the sale of marijuana will remain illegal under federal law via the Controlled Substances Act; however, both the willingness and the de facto ability of the Federal government to enforce such a law without the support of the government of California are questionable.
This is the first article I've come across which paints the proposition in a negative light. The rest of the articles I've found have been overwhelmingly in favor of the proposition. Usually, I don't take interest or issue in marijuana politics because usually its never close to being legalized and for some reason or another people think hemp has ENDLESS uses. This proposition is different. It has ALOT of support and has a very good chance of passing.

The federal Controlled Substances Act makes it a felony to grow or sell cannabis. California can repeal its own marijuana laws, leaving enforcement to the feds. But it can't legalize a federal felony. Therefore, any grower or seller paying California taxes on marijuana sales or filing pot-related California regulatory paperwork would be confessing, in writing, to multiple federal crimes. And that won't happen.

True, Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. has announced that the Justice Department will not prosecute people who are selling medical marijuana in compliance with California's law. But that's an entirely different matter....The feds can afford to take a laid-back attitude toward California's medical marijuana trade because it's unlikely to cause much of a trafficking problem in the rest of the country. Because dispensaries' prices are just as high as those for black-market marijuana, there's not much temptation to buy the "medical" sort in California and resell it out of state.

By contrast, the non-medical cannabis industry that would be allowed if Proposition 19 passed would quickly fuel a national illicit market....As a result, pot dealers nationwide — and from Canada, for that matter — would flock to California to stock up. There's no way on earth the federal government is going to tolerate that. Instead, we'd see massive federal busts of California growers and retail dealers, no matter how legal their activity was under state law.
http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2010/07/can-california-legalize-marijuana

If this law passes, you are going to see marijuana's price drop 80% in California, while it still remains the same price in every other state. The question is then, will California become the nation's largest exporter of marijuana?
 
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jamesrage

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Seeing how it didn't drop when they made so called medicinal marijuana legal I seriously doubt that the price is going drop unless every pothead in the state starts growing their own. I can see more hydroponic shops opening up and the price of hydroponic solutions, air stones, grow rocks, air hoses, net baskets and other hydroponic related stuff going up. I do not have a problem with it being legalized. I can see the feds arresting someone with several plants in his yard and this going all the way to SC,which hopefully the Feds authority on this issue of marijuana gets struck down. All that said I never bought in the BS medical marijuana, I am sure there are some people who it helps but I think the majority are just phonies using very loose standards to get a prescription.
 
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Goobieman

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Yes, CA can repeal the laws that make pot illegal. There's never been any reason to question that.
It is still illegal under federal law, however.
 

The Dane

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This is just a dangerous issue. Lets say California legalizes marjiuana and an industry grows, it spreads out to other states and Obama decides to be laid back with their authority on this issue, the industry continues to grow. Then Obama is not reelected and a newly appointed conservative president say's marjiuana is illegal and its time to crack down. This would be like stopping deer hunting all together for 10 years, then opening it back up. STRAIGHT UP OPEN SEASON.
 

Deuce

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Can the executive branch pull enforcement in California? I.E. just order the DEA not to pursue marijuana enforcement in California. I imagine this would have to come all the way from the white house.
Or would this require a change to the federal law via congress?
I wonder how the GOP would go along with such a vote, an amendment that makes marijuana legal in a state if the state chooses to legalize it. On the one hand, they're conservatives and probably not thrilled with the idea of legalization, but on the other hand this would clearly be an expansion of state power over federal. I bet they could come up with 51 votes pretty readily (I don't think all the Democrats would go along with this) but the usual filibuster is possible. 60 votes might be a tough one.
 
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Goobieman

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Can the executive branch pull enforcement in California?
Sure. But lets look at that a little differently.

-The Fed Gvmnt passes a ban on 'assault werapons'.
-A pro-gun President announces that the Fed Gvmnt will no longer enforce the ban in states that have no similar ban.
-Ohio has no such state ban.
-Thus, the federal ban on 'assault weapons' no longer exists in OH.

Oh. Wait. That's different.
 

Deuce

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Sure. But lets look at that a little differently.

-The Fed Gvmnt passes a ban on 'assault werapons'.
-A pro-gun President announces that the Fed Gvmnt will no longer enforce the ban in states that have no similar ban.
-Ohio has no such state ban.
-Thus, the federal ban on 'assault weapons' no longer exists in OH.

Oh. Wait. That's different.
You mean "let's look at a completely different situation."

Marijuana and "assault weapons" are not really equivalent for numerous reasons. Plus, I personally think the AWB is mostly insanity. It focuses on a lot of cosmetic nonsense or weapons that nobody really uses to commit crimes anyway. (you don't mug someone with an assault rifle. you use a pistol or knife)

[/gunderail]
 

VanceMack

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This is just a dangerous issue. Lets say California legalizes marjiuana and an industry grows, it spreads out to other states and Obama decides to be laid back with their authority on this issue, the industry continues to grow. Then Obama is not reelected and a newly appointed conservative president say's marjiuana is illegal and its time to crack down. This would be like stopping deer hunting all together for 10 years, then opening it back up. STRAIGHT UP OPEN SEASON.
Well...since the president isnt a king I dont think that really matters. The judicial can interpret...the legislative COULD overturn it by mandate but its unlikely. All the president can do is influence policy and sign legislation.
 

Goobieman

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You mean "let's look at a completely different situation."
What did I saiy? Oh, yeah -

Oh. Wait. That's different.
Thanks for being there for me :D

Only the specifics are different -- the 'selective enfocement argument' is the same between the two.
If the 'selective enforcement argument' is sound, then it sound across the board.
 

MaggieD

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If this proposition is binding (I'm assuming it is), and it passes, then we'll see another lawsuit brought by the Federal government challenging the right of states to pass laws that supercede those of the Federal government.

This comes down to an issue of state's rights. I could see the Federal government having to **** or get off the pot. Are we going to spend tax dollars enforcing this Federal law? Or are we going to change the Federal law? When in doubt, just figure they'll throw money at the problem until it's decided by the Supreme Court, since none of the money is theirs.

It would be interesting to know where border states stand on the issue since they will likely be most effected.
 

VanceMack

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You mean "let's look at a completely different situation."

Marijuana and "assault weapons" are not really equivalent for numerous reasons. Plus, I personally think the AWB is mostly insanity. It focuses on a lot of cosmetic nonsense or weapons that nobody really uses to commit crimes anyway. (you don't mug someone with an assault rifle. you use a pistol or knife)

[/gunderail]
Or a letter from the IRS...or pass state and federal sin taxes on tobacco and alcohol and pot...its all still a mugging...
 

The_Patriot

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Yes California and other states can make drugs legal within their borders. Article IV Section III Clause II states, "The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State." The only thing federal law affects is the territories and possessions owned by the United States government. However, if said drugs are shipped across lines then Article I Section VIII Clause III, Article I Section IX Clause V-VI, and Article I Section X Clause II comes into effect.

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.

No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another; nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.


No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it's inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.
 

Chappy

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The Feds will trump the California law, no doubt. It will be confusing. But, what's really important is, “As California goes, so goes the nation.” It may take some time, but, the end of prohibition is nigh.
 

Captain America

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The Feds will trump the California law, no doubt. It will be confusing. But, what's really important is, “As California goes, so goes the nation.” It may take some time, but, the end of prohibition is nigh.
Soon come, mon. Soon come.

 
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justabubba

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another development
A number of medical marijuana advocacy organizations are urging President Obama to withdraw his nomination of Michele Leonhart to serve as the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). ...
Of concern to these groups, under Leonhart's administration, the DEA has raided a number of legal medical marijuana growers and dispensaries. In one case, the DEA raided the very first person to register for a medical marijuana cultivation permit, a sixty-nine year old woman from Mendocino County in California, even though her personal marijuana garden had been inspected and approved by the local sheriff.

As reported by The Press Democrat, according to the Mendocino County Sheriff, the medical marijuana grower had the proper paperwork and the marijuana was legal in the eyes of the county.

"Michele Leonhart continues to wage war on sick people and their caregivers, undermining the Obama Administration's otherwise compassionate medical marijuana policy," said Bill Piper of the Drug Policy Alliance. "Obama needs to withdraw her nomination and nominate someone who will follow the stated policies of his administration."

As reported by The New York Times in 2008, Attorney General Eric Holder has claimed that the Obama administration would end the Bush administration's policy of raiding medical marijuana dispensaries and restrict itself to only raiding drug traffickers who “use medical marijuana laws as a shield.”

In addition, Deputy Attorney General David Ogden told federal agents in an 2009 memo to not target people in "clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana." ...
Marijuana advocacy groups urge Obama to withdraw nomination of Michele Leonhart | Raw Story

Obama needs to avoid being seen as bush lite
 

dclx88

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Can the executive branch pull enforcement in California? I.E. just order the DEA not to pursue marijuana enforcement in California. I imagine this would have to come all the way from the white house.
Or would this require a change to the federal law via congress?
***
The Executive does have discretion in how they carry out the laws but the President "shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed..." So, the President could decide that it is the policy of the DEA and FBI to only arrest those people in California who are trafficking in very large amounts of marijuana. However, he cannot really decide to just not prosecute any marijuana crimes in California.

For it to be truly lawful, the Congress would have to remove marijuana as a schedule I narcotic.
 

dclx88

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Yes California and other states can make drugs legal within their borders. Article IV Section III Clause II states, "The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State." The only thing federal law affects is the territories and possessions owned by the United States government. However, if said drugs are shipped across lines then Article I Section VIII Clause III, Article I Section IX Clause V-VI, and Article I Section X Clause II comes into effect.

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.

No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another; nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.


No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it's inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.
Art. IV, § 3, cl. 2 basically says that the Feds have police powers in the land it owns, e.g., national parks. Federal law affects all of the things listed in art. I, § 8 as those are the powers delegated to the Congress.
 

American

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Seeing how it didn't drop when they made so called medicinal marijuana legal I seriously doubt that the price is going drop unless every pothead in the state starts growing their own. I can see more hydroponic shops opening up and the price of hydroponic solutions, air stones, grow rocks, air hoses, net baskets and other hydroponic related stuff going up. I do not have a problem with it being legalized. I can see the feds arresting someone with several plants in his yard and this going all the way to SC,which hopefully the Feds authority on this issue of marijuana gets struck down. All that said I never bought in the BS medical marijuana, I am sure there are some people who it helps but I think the majority are just phonies using very loose standards to get a prescription.
I wonder when Philip Morris with begin rolling out California Slims. :mrgreen:
 

Kal'Stang

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Hmm, seems as this discussion is largely moot in reference to prop 19. It failed to pass.

And IMO it's a good thing it didn't pass.
 

justabubba

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Hmm, seems as this discussion is largely moot in reference to prop 19. It failed to pass.

And IMO it's a good thing it didn't pass.
the entrepreneurs who operate the weed dispensaries and the doctors who write the scripts, enabling the legal consumption of pot, would agree with you
 

Albert Di Salvo

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I voted in favor of Proposition 19 because of the stupid Mexican Mafia and Cartels that roam everywhere in California peddling Mexican death to Americans. The stupid Mexican criminals even financed part of the opposition to Prop. 19. I heard this from a couple of clients who are growers. Everybody needs estate planning.
 

WeAreReborn

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why? (ten characters)
I cannot speak for him, but I am for the legalization of all drugs, because the state shouldn't interfere in the people's affairs and because it would end the useless drug war. But I was against prop 19 due to the massive restrictions and legal implications that came with it. I do not feel it should be treated like alcohol, or alcohol should be treated like it is. It should be legal for 18 and up or 16 and that is it. No other small print or other nonsense that prop 19 came riddled with.
 

Badfish420

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I cannot speak for him, but I am for the legalization of all drugs, because the state shouldn't interfere in the people's affairs and because it would end the useless drug war. But I was against prop 19 due to the massive restrictions and legal implications that came with it. I do not feel it should be treated like alcohol, or alcohol should be treated like it is. It should be legal for 18 and up or 16 and that is it. No other small print or other nonsense that prop 19 came riddled with.
ahh ok i wasnt aware of the details of prop 19. some guys i know were ranting about people coming to work stoned before the prop was killed, and that was the only compelling arguement against that i saw (not that i supported that view, people go to work stoned all the time.)
 

digsbe

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If Arizona can't enforce immigration laws because it "trumps" or mirrors federal law how come California should be able to legalize a federally illegal substance? I don't think California can legally legalize marijuana as it is illegal at the federal level.
 
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