My Dealer Lost His Obamaphone

Senator Patrick Leahy Wants to Know When We Can Smoke Our Government Pots Already

If B. Barry Bamz wanted to continue sitting back indefinitely, pretending to be “cool with the youngs” while locking probably at least half of them up in jail for drugs, he’s in for a rude surprise from Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt). Leahy wrote a letter last Thursday to Obama’s director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, because he would like to know when he should book his vacation to Denver! And when someone sends you a letter in Washington – well, normally you chill for a few years, see if they manage to organize a little hearing to discuss the possibility of another hearing to highlight the points that would be discussed should there ever be an actual, action-oriented, non-hearing discussion, and hope the stupid issue loses relevance. But does Patrick Leahy want to wait forever for his weed meeting?

According to Leahy, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing early next year to discuss the feds’ policy toward states moving forward with pro-marijuana legislation. This might force the President to clarify the specific actions he’ll take to continue eviscerating the only legislative movement the far-right and far-left seem to agree on (because the other option is simply nonsense!), but will likely result in further stalling behind tired, platitude-filled speeches and “evolving” positions, which means maybe weed is the new “gay?”

For now, Leahy’s letter offers possible (and might we add, pragmatic) solutions to the sticky State vs. Fed issue.

“Legislative options exist to resolve the differences between Federal and state law in this area and end the uncertainty that residents of Colorado and Washington now face,” Leahy wrote. “One option would be to amend the Federal Controlled Substances Act to allow possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, at least in jurisdictions where it is legal under state law.”

Leave the states alone, you know? This approach is certainly gaining popularity from voters, particularly those belonging to the center-left coalition that helped elect the President. Of course, taking a laissez-faire approach creates problems: as more and more states receive mandates from their citizens to lighten up on the pots, federal and local prison facilities alike will begin to seem hollow and empty. Public Safety jobs everywhere will be in jeopardy as a dwindling population of low-level offenders leaves fewer and fewer prisoners to escort to the prison cafeteria. Faced with this conundrum, the Obama Administration will presumably let everyone else wonder what state marijuana legalization means while they plug up their ears and sing “la la la la.”

[Talking Points Memo/NYT]

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150 comments

      1. EatsBabyDingos

        That song always bothered me. I thought it said "I'm a cowboy, gonna steal the horse I ride." Of course, I back Sen Leahy, so stoner is as stoner does.

    1. WhatTheHolyHeck

      [/snark]
      I know this is a really stupid question, but what good does it do to allow possession only? How exactly is one intended to legally obtain what one will eventually legally possess?
      [snark]

      1. Lascauxcaveman

        I don't know about CO, but here in Warshington, the state liquor control board has been tasked with setting up regulations for grow ops and creating a retail infrastructure to be completed some time in 2013. We've got our state-employed workers bees on it even as we speak.

        In the meantime, I guess you just ask your friendly neighborhood teenager where he gets his. If I ever decide to try the stuff again, I'll just stop in at the state dope store after it opens. I don't mind paying my taxes in support of good governance.

        1. WhatTheHolyHeck

          Right, but your state has already legalized it. From Obama's perspective, he's talking about legal possession in states that haven't legalized it. If growing and selling are still illegal, how does legal possession make any sense?

  1. mavenmaven

    He just wants this legislation to be in the pipe-line, he wants it as a paper allowing a roll-call in the house.

  2. VodkaGoGo

    This might force the President to clarify the specific actions he’ll take to continue eviscerating the only legislative movement the far-right and far-left seem to agree on

    Next up: hookers!

      1. VodkaGoGo

        Who am I kidding, they'll never legalize hookers. Besides, finding one in your local alt-weekly and having a tranny show up is half the fun. The other half is shame.

  3. Monsieur_Grumpe

    As liberal a state as Minnesota is I have no hope for the government legalizing pot anytime soon. After all, we still can’t sell liquor or cars on Sundays.

    1. memzilla

      Tennessee still has wet counties and dry counties. And a proud moonshining tradition, in the dry counties. Which is the basis for the old joke:

      Q: What's the difference between a wet county and a dry county?

      A: In a dry county, you can get a drink on a Sunday.

      1. freakishlywrong

        I remember a while ago in Virginia you couldn't buy panty hose. Now, you can't get a vaginal probe.

    2. weejee

      I think all states have some of those sillies on their books and cleaning up some of these things take an amazing amount time. When I first move to Washington in the mid-70s, the grocers couldn't even show they had beer in the coolers or shelves and had to keep it under tarps until nooner o'clock on Sunday. And womenz couldn't go unescorted to a bar, 'cause unescorted meant workin' gal obvs. They didn't really enforce that second one & eventually got rid of it.

      1. Negropolis

        There are places were the Blue Laws are still very much a real and supported thing. In these places, they just aren't some obscure laws on the books like the former ban of tying a giraffe to a telephone pole in Vermont, but something the people still believe in religiously, particularly the old-timey liquor laws.

        1. James Michael Curley

          Well into the 70's in NJ in the Blue Law counties 'Supermarkets' were allowed to stay open provided they roped off non-food, non-health related items. The 'health related items' controversy was weird; vitamins were non-health related but hair dressing was health related thus you could buy it.

          1. thatsitfortheother1

            Funny enough, the pubs in England used to close at 11:00.

            The law was changed to let them stay open later, but in most villages they still closed at 11:00.

          2. James Michael Curley

            Wasn’t there something in London which allowed people to establish ‘pubs’ in their own house during WWII? Those who did were allowed to continue after the war and the last did not close down until the late 80s as I recall.

          3. shelwood46

            These still exist in some places in NJ because just after Sandy, the Governor convinced them to temporarily lift the Sunday ban so people could restock post-storm. The mayor interviewed in the news said they would only agree to a temporary life because they felt it was important that workers get a day off, so there's that.

          4. James Michael Curley

            Bergen County is where the major issue was enjoined. It wasn’t too long ago that voters in Bergen turned down a referendum to repeal the Blue Law. Always interesting because the Route 17 & Route 4 corridor has got to be one of the greatest concentration of retail in the East, now more national then when I was a kid there.

        2. Chet Kincaid_

          Can't buy booze until Noon on Sunday in Chicago, and a minor can't sell it to you anytime. If you've got booze and an under-age checkout kid, he has to yell "21" so somebody else can come and swipe it across the scanner for you. I don't know why they bother with either rule anymore.

          1. BerkeleyBear

            Because it is fucking hilarious, Chet. I always loved the ritual of the zit faced teen having to move back 3 inches or so in order to let the grizzled supervisor slide the six pack over the bar code reader and punch in a fake DOB (since they never actually checked ID).

            Of course, that wasn't as stupid as the Indiana law that you couldn't buy beer at a grocery store on Sunday but could get overserved just fine at the local sports bar and grill (or wine tasting room, for that matter). And no one can explain to me why it makes sense that I have to buy my olives and mixers in the grocery store (along with beer and wine) and my vodka next door here in Oregon.

      2. CommieDad

        My Dad lives in the tri-cities. The cops there are not cutting any slack do to the change in laws. Official position is that it is federal crime.

  4. SnarkOff

    "Leave the states alone, you know?"

    I look forward to the day when I can do bong hits while having an abortion.

  5. Texan_Bulldog

    As they used to say in the Army during breaks, 'smoke 'em if you got 'em'.

    OT why is Dolly Parton's autobiography being advertised on my Wonkette page? I'm pretty sure I've never done teh Google on her.

      1. Texan_Bulldog

        Yeah, and John Boehner, Lindsey Graham and John McCain came up. JK–no, I have not googled 'boobs'.

    1. memzilla

      The page sees your IP address, is calling you a Southron, so country music; also, woman, interested in reading about a woman. For me, it would just be because of her enormous… er… talents.

      Or, in the spirit of Jack Paar delivering the line written by Dick Cavett: "Ladies and gentlemen… the two and only… Jayne Mansfield!"

        1. memzilla

          As the old joke goes, what happens when you play a country music song backwards? Your wife comes back to live with you, your pickup truck runs again, your dog comes back to life, and you sober up.

  6. weejee

    As part of his budget apocalypse talks with Mr. Speaker Agent Orange Boner, B. Bamz should talk straight bluntly, and push to get rid of Federale weed lawz and release all the prisoners who are in for weed only. For the freedomz monies.

      1. memzilla

        The question is, will lower revenue because of fewer inmates to the Prison Industrial Complex be offset by higher revenue from taxing weed? And into whose pockets?

  7. Ruhe

    The aspect of this that makes me nervous is the possibility of marijuana legalization being analogized with ever more lax gun control. Could the gun-nuts make that work?

    1. IncenseDebate

      Yes, but more people would be high and wouldn't be so uptight and shooting shoppers in malls. So, one cancels out the other.

    2. Negropolis

      But, they are already making it happen. Gun laws have one tragectory, and little seems to have an affect on that one way or the other. Legalizing weed isn't going to weaken gun laws. Gun laws are going to get chopped up regardless because they already are.

      1. Ruhe

        Right. I get that. I guess what I'm interested in is the fact that a predominant part of the argument, as exemplified right here in these comments, for legalization is that it basically is a state's rights issue. But if you concede that as a general principle then the gun fetishists and other libertarian wackadoos get everything they want. I'm just thinking that perhaps we need to stay on point and make sure the focus of the discussion is always the merit of laws proscribing pot use in the first place. Know what I mean?

        1. thatsitfortheother1

          "is that it basically is a state's rights issue."

          Shouldn't be. I believe it was a federal tax act that started the whole cucaracha.

  8. VodkaGoGo

    I can't wait for the very serious folks in the lamestream media to cover this in a two second drive by. "Heh, heh, weed. People be smoking that reefers. In other news Sen. Lindsay Grahm says the fight over Benghazi isn't going away."

  9. Negropolis

    Taylor, there is literally a headline on the side of this website at this very moment that reads "Obama Not Going After Pot Smokers" and it's been there for some hours.

      1. BerkeleyBear

        Well, when the guys running them openly brag about breaking the law (like they did here) it doesn't leave the Feds a lot of room to back off.

      2. Negropolis

        The point is that the president had moved quite a bit with a delcarative statement the day before, and yet we pretend their was no shift. There was, and that needs to be reported for the fact that it is.

        I live in Michigan where the state and Feds had basically shut down our medical marijuana system, so I know full well the problems and have been angered by them. My city went from having 40 dispensaries to a handful. but I'm tired of this reflexive "Obama is morally weak" bullshit when he moves on an issue. This man has went further than any other persident in history against prohibition, and while it's nowhere near as far as I'd like, to not even acknowledge a start on the literal day after he comes out for rolling back the War on Drugs is disingenuous and irresponsible, and it does not serve our Wonnkettes well.

        Sorry.

  10. calliecallie

    As soon as the other states figure out how much money Colorado and Washington are making from legalized weed sales, they will be lining up to legalize it themselves. This is 'Merica, after all. The reason Congress hasn't rushed to act on this is that they don't get a piece of the action. We need a well-funded weed lobby first.

    1. PubOption

      Hey, dude, we had an appointment to see the congressman this morning. Do you think he can see us sometime after lunch?

    2. prommie

      I tells ya, its gonna be the new Gambling, as shitholes across amurrica will start tripping over each other to grab that Pot-Tourism money! Choctaw Bingo my ass, just wait for Biloxi Sensemilla!

    3. BadKitty904

      That's precisely what my bf says – tax revenues will drive this decision, not "morality, et al."

      1. memzilla

        The question is, how hard will the Prison Industrial Complex lobby against legalized weed? Fewer prisoners = less money for them; also, fewer people in prison = less congressional representation for those prison districts = less federal money inflow.

          1. SoBeach

            Then there's the stealth lobbying from the alcohol industry. Lord knows the good folks at Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum would get fewer of my dollars if other stuff were legal where I live.

  11. DixvilleCrotch

    Gay weed… what a concept. That sounds like a communist plot of some sort.

    I learnt long ago weed was dangerous when I saw '9 to 5'… the girls had a pot party and then Lily Tomlin came in hung over the next day and put Skinny & Sweet in Dabney Coleman's coffee, and then dangerous wackiness ensued.

  12. CommieDad

    Sorry if my post is a little weird, I am from Washington, and still a little cotton headed. It is clear that making weed illegal has benefited prison guards, private prison contractors, border guards, gangs, cartels, and big pharma. In other words, Republicans. So Mr. Obama, please stick it to the republicans and let the states decide what to do with stoners.

  13. OneYieldRegular

    I don't care much about pot, but if legalizing it will help raze the prisons to the ground, then by all means toke away. Oh, and but also, it seems to be really helping my 87-year-old neighbor with her palsy.

  14. HateMachine

    OT, re: ads
    No, Dr. Ruth, you are probably the very last person on earth I want to hear from concerning aphrodisiacs.

  15. ttommyunger

    Never heard of anyone going on a pot-fueled rampage. Driving while stoned always seemed to make me drive slower (usually checking out likely spots to pull over and take a nap). Legalize it? Hell yeah! PS haven't smoked in years.

  16. zippy_w_pinhead

    For now, Leahy’s letter offers possible (and might we add, pragmatic) solutions to the State vs. Fed sticky issue, too also…

  17. GoodDogThor

    STATES RIGHTS! Leahy's been hangin' out with Carter.

    RE ads: Drew Carey yelling at me about joints, well played.

  18. Dumbedup

    You know, I love my senator, and I really, really love my state, and now with the global warming and all, it ain't even that cold here anymore. Long live the Green Mountain State.

  19. Halloween Jack

    I dunno about Pat Leahy. On the one hand, he was the sponsor of PIPA; on the other, he was in the Christopher Nolan Batman movies.

  20. ttommyunger

    Trying to imagine the most boring porn possible: Sen Patrick L. and Sen. Susan Collins immediately come to mind.

Comments are closed.