The Administration of Barack Obama is likely prepared to unleash the Department of Justice on States that opted last month to legalize recreational marijuana use despite national public opinion that leans to the side of the pot-friendly initiatives.
Senior White House and Justice Department officials are considering plans to sue Colorado and Washington to undermine the will of voters in the States where recreational marijuana was legalized by popular vote.
Some Federal law enforcement officials are pushing for Obama to come down hard on the States, arguing that allowing State legality of a Federally illegal drug will lead to other challenges against Federal authority.
The DOJ is reportedly preparing to sue on the grounds that because marijuana is already illegal under Federal law, State officials cannot legally make laws to regulate the drug. If the DOJ prevails, it would strike down the initiatives on the theory that voters wouldn’t have supported marijuana legalization without the promise of heavy government regulation.
There is also the possibility that the Federal government will begin to arrest and prosecute low-threat recreational marijuana users that it would not have otherwise pursued.
Despite the Federal government’s urge to exert its power and let voters and State governments know that its will is final, polling results show that a majority of Americans wish the Feds would butt out. According to a new poll from YouGov, 51 percent of respondents said that the Federal government should allow the States to make their own laws regarding the drug, while only 31 percent said that Federal law should be upheld.