By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
Eric Holder essentially gave federal approval Wednesday to partial decriminalization of marijuana in certain states. "The policy is to go after those people who violate both federal and state law," Holder told reporters. In other words, medical marijuana dispensaries which operate legally in California and a dozen other states won't be the targets of drug enforcement raids.
While not surprising, the policy announcement does mark, as the L.A. Times notes, "a sweeping change in federal drug policy."
And it may spark (as it were) a broader debate about drugs in this country: Why stop at partial decriminalization? Why not go all the way?
We had that debate in this space a few months ago, with John Jay College of Criminal Justice's Peter Moskos arguing that drugs are too dangerous to leave illegal (in other words that they should be decriminalized and heavily regulated) and Lee P. Brown, the former Clinton drug czar, making the argument in favor of continued prosecution. Check out the articles and then weigh in with your thoughts.
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