While marijuana advocates cheered the new pot guidelines announced by the federal government, drug-war proponents in California insist the rules will open the floodgates to child drug abuse and other social ills.
“Decades from now, the Obama administration will be remembered for undoing years of progress in reducing youth drug use in America,” Dr. Paul R. Chabot of the Coalition for a Drug Free California said in a statement.
Scott Chipman, Southern California co-chair of Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana, told the Los Angeles Times the administration was sending “another mixed message . . . regarding U.S. drug policy when what is needed is clear messages that drug use, including marijuana use, is harmful to public health, public safety and society at large.”
The New Federal Marijuana Memo
The Justice Department announced the new guidelines in a memo to federal prosecutors Aug. 29. It said the government won’t try to stop the states from instituting legal or medical weed and will no longer prosecute dispensaries for selling small amounts to adults.
The arrangements still requires that states impose tight regulations that prevent child drug use, accidents, violence, gang and cartel activity and interstate trafficking. If they fail to do so, the feds might still crack down. Granted, marijuana advocates approve of the new federal guidelines.
Good or Bad Idea?
California, of course, is not the only place where pot opponents are calling the administration’s decision a dangerous move toward a drug-addled America. In Florida, where a prominent Orlando attorney is behind a push to enact medical marijuana, weed foes said the announcement was another step toward normalizing pot.
“We’re very upset about it; we’re very concerned about it,” Calvina Fay, executive director of the Drug Free America Foundation, told My Fox Tampa Bay. The initiative in Florida has nothing to do with medicine, she said. “It’s about the normalization of it, the cultivation of it, the promotion of it, the advertising of it, the distribution of it, it is about drug legalization.”
Not all anti-drug types see the Justice Department’s new stance as a bad thing, or at least they don’t all claim to see it as a bad thing. Kevin Sabet, director of Project Smart Approaches to Marijuana, an anti-pot group, said he thought the policy would lead to more discussions about the dangers of legalization because people would see the harms it causes, such as impaired driving and higher dropout rates.