Pubdate: Tue, 13 Nov 2012
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2012 The Washington Post Company
Author: Eric Sterling


It is encouraging that the Justice Department is not immediately 
challenging Washington state and Colorado's marijuana legalization 
laws ["Marijuana legality elicits confusion," news, Nov. 10]. The 
best course is a "wait-and-see" approach.

The nation can now observe two different experiments in state 
marijuana control - if the Justice Department cooperates. But if it 
fights these states the way it has fought state medical marijuana 
laws for 16 years, it will delay the learning of potential regulatory 
and social techniques to control marijuana use, production and distribution.

The president's National Drug Control Strategy statement that 
marijuana legalization "will not be considered" has been nullified by 
millions of voters. In Mexico, the transition chief for 
President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto suggested officials there see U.S. 
marijuana legalization as a reality that "change[s] ... the rules of 
the game."

It is in everyone's interest for the Obama administration to help 
Washington and Colorado write the new rules, not to imagine it can 
push toothpaste back into a tube.

Eric E. Sterling, Silver Spring The writer is president of the 
Criminal Justice Policy Foundation. 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom