Drugs and Decentralization
America Goes to Pot

Though only a few states have completely legalized marijuana use, there is significantly less opposition today to loosening pot laws than ever before—and even the DEA is starting to feel the heat. Politico reports:

“The summer of 2015 could be viewed historically as the tipping point against Nixon’s war on pot, the time when the DEA, a federal drug-fighting agency created by Nixon in 1973, found itself in unfamiliar territory as a target of congressional scrutiny, budget cuts and scorn. In a conference call this week, the new acting DEA administrator repeatedly downplayed marijuana enforcement efforts, saying that while he’s not exactly telling agents not to pursue marijuana cases, it’s generally not something anyone focuses on these days: “Typically it’s heroin, opioids, meth and cocaine in roughly that order and marijuana tends to come in at the back of the pack.”[…]

The national tide is clearly not in the DEA’s favor. Since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in January 2014, three additional states have followed suit with full legal weed; the District of Columbia’s fight to legalize continues; the number of medical marijuana states has grown to 23; 14 states have legalized nonpsychoactive CBD oil; and 13 states have legalized industrial hemp, spurring a rapidly expanding legal market for a plant long demonized by the DEA.”

Americans, however, should be careful about this issue moving forward. While winding down the drug war seems, at the moment, like the worst possible policy except all others, Mark Kleiman et al.’s golden oldie from our magazine, “A Voter’s Guide to Legalizing Marijuana”, helpfully summarizes the issues surrounding American drug policy and shows that the questions involved are m0re complicated than the rhetoric used on both sides of the pot debate might suggest. Read the whole thing.

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