The extraordinary turn-around in USA attitudes to cannabis continues.
Last week Washington voted to stop the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) from undermining state cannabis (and hemp) laws. This will prevent the DEA from harassing cannabis dispensaries and growers in states which have democratically decided to legalise cannabis. It’s a major blow to the Feds and the DEA who, through their beleaguered leader Michele Leonhart, have pleaded for the right to continue persecuting cannabis users irrespective of state laws.
The new rules strip the DEA of power, and more importantly it strips the DEA of remaining credibility in the eyes of the US public. People are now asking whether the DEA will be called to account for the ramifications of their policies in recent years. The aggressive interpretations of anti-cannabis laws in the USA have cost $billions when considering the cost of the criminal justice system, the prison system as well as social costs from lost employment/education possibilities and broken families. On top of that is the lost taxes. The drug war in the USA has been a mess, with the public being the main losers and organised crime the main beneficiary. The lack of flexibility by the DEA is seen by many as a sign of the intellectual failure at the top of the organisation as they failed to change with the times.
The vote has significantly undermined the DEA. Meanwhile tax revenues accumulate in Colorado and life continues as normal despite the presence of legal cannabis. People are wondering what was achieved through so many decades of costly and vindictive prohibition.
The vote was passed with support from both Democrats and Republicans. At the moment it seems that American politicians are completing the transition from being anti-cannabis to becoming pro-cannabis, much of this change is coming from irrefutable scientific evidence of the medical benefits of cannabis. This evidence is being presented, state by state, to Governors who are unable to deny the evidence. Soon cannabis will be prohibited in only a minority of American states. It’s a remarkable change.
June 4th 2014