The Political Side Effects of Tolerating Legal Pot
Attorney General Eric Holder’s recent announcement that the federal government wouldn’t challenge Colorado and Washington state’s ability to implement a legal regulatory system for adult recreational marijuana use marked a tremendous political victory for reform if not a definitive legal victory.
Technically, pot remains illegal across the nation. But Holder went as far as he could under our system of checks and balances.
Many Latin American and European nations have long wanted to overhaul their drug laws but had been afraid of running afoul of the UN’s drug conventions and perhaps triggering U.S. reprisals. Now they have much more political space to consider alternative policies. That could make a difference in Uruguay, which is on the brink of legalizing recreational marijuana.
Holder has essentially placed a ticking time bomb on the GOP’s doorstep that could detonate during the 2016 presidential elections. Because federal law remains unchanged, the next administration can reverse his guidance on a whim and resume the war on pot.
All Republican candidates will be asked during the primaries where they stand on this key issue and any answer they can give will infuriate at least one of the GOP’s powerful factions. A nascent civil war is brewing between the social conservative and the libertarian wings of the party. Neither faction is known for compromising so this question can become a powerfully divisive wedge issue that could accelerate and exacerbate the GOP’s civil war. Whichever side wins, it will send the nominee into the 2016 election bleeding from the fight.
Read the rest here: The Political Side Effects of Tolerating Legal Pot