Federal Law Could Derail Marijuana Legalization in California
The Obama administration has taken a hands-off approach to state medical-marijuana laws, but opinions differ on whether the federal government would allow a state like California to legalize non-medical possession of the drug, the Woodland (Calif.) Daily Democrat reported March 29.
California voters will decide in a November ballot initiative whether to legalize marijuana, but the drug will still be illegal under federal law. Federal law-enforcement agencies tend to defer to their state and local counterparts for most drug crimes but could change their attitude if the legalization question is approved.
“The pressure on the Obama administration to try to block this or resist it is going to be enormous,” said drug-policy expert Robert MacCoun of the University of California at Berkeley. “It’s very hard for a single state to pass a law like this and implement it.”
“The federal government is going to allow the state of California to move forward with this,” countered Salwa Ibrahim, a spokesperson for the pro-legalization campaign. “We’re not worried about it.”