Last week, Eric Holder’s Department of Justice essentially backed down in the face of marijuana legalization by popular vote in both Colorado and Washington state, saying the feds won’t challenge the state laws defying federal statute, as long as the states create “tightly regulated” markets that address eight federal “enforcement priorities.”
The DOJ announcement apparently made a lot of cops mad.
And as As Huffington Post columnist Ryan Grim points out, “If there had been doubt about how meaningful Holder’s move was, the fury reflected in the police response eliminates it.”
In a joint letter, the leaders of seven national law enforcement organizations pitched a little fit. The groups represented include the National Sheriffs’ Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies and the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association.
On behalf of the undersigned national law enforcement organizations, we write to express our extreme disappointment that the U.S. Department of Justice does not intend to challenge policies in Colorado or Washington that legalize the sale and recreational use of marijuana in contravention of Federal law.
This raises interesting questions. Why would national police organizations representing state and local law enforcement care about federal enforcement in two states? What impact does this have on local law enforcement outside of Washington state and Colorado? Aren’t state and local police simply tasked to enforce state and local laws…whatever they may be? Since when did it become the role of law enforcement to dictate what laws they enforce – especially at the federal level?
Most of the letter rambles on and on about all the negative effects of marijuana. “Specifically, marijuana’s harmful effects can include episodes of depression, suicidal thoughts, attention deficit issues…” Sounds a lot like the disclaimers on most of those low-budget prescription drug ads we see on TV. The letter also highlights problems like drugged diving and marijuana’s link to crime. You know, like alcohol. But buried deep in the letter, these law enforcement leaders reveal the real reason for their hysterical panic attack.
“The failure of the Department of Justice to challenge state policies that clearly contradict Federal law is both unacceptable and unprecedented. The failure of the Federal government to act in this matter is an open invitation to other states to legalize marijuana in defiance of federal law.” [Emphasis original]
There you have it. Nullification of federal marijuana laws works. These keepers of the police state know it. And they see their power and their access to to huge piles of cash slipping away. Grim nails the reason for cop outrage in his Huff-Po column.
“Local law enforcement agencies rely heavily on the drug war for funding. Police departments are often able to keep a large portion of the assets they seize during drug raids, even if charges are never brought. And federal grants for drug war operations make up a sizable portion of local law enforcement funding.”
Nullification not only strips unconstitutional powers away from the federal government, it also neuters hangers-on at the state and local level that depend on centralized authority for their power – a win-win for liberty.