Bowing to changing times and admittedly limited prosecutorial resources, the Justice Department announced last week that it would not seek to block state laws legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use. The declaration represented a major reversal from the department’s previous position that marijuana is a dangerous drug that the government is obligated to go after under federal law regardless of what state legislatures do. The policy shift unveiled Thursday inevitably will change the conversation about marijuana use in America, and it’s likely to have important legal and social consequences as well going forward, not all of them predictable. But it was nevertheless the right decision.
Eighteen states, including Maryland, and the District of Columbia now have laws decriminalizing possession of small amounts of pot for medicinal purposes.
Two more, Colorado and Washington, recently legalized the drug for recreational use as well. Despite the fact that federal law has not changed, the Justice Department clearly saw the handwriting on the wall. Henceforth, marijua. . . . . READ MORE