The pot industry can thank Barack Obama and Eric Holder for ordering the DEA not to enforce federal marijuana laws in those states that have legalized the weed. So now people in California are lining up in the streets outside pot shops, waiting their turn to get inside. Dozens of large pot plantations and grow houses have sprouted up across the formerly Golden State, now the Green State.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has now rescinded that terrible pro-pot order by Obama and Holder. He is leaving it up to federal prosecutors on what, if any, action to take against the pot industry in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, the states that have legalized recreational marijuana.
Here comes the rub. The courts, juries and a lack of Manpower in the DEA will likely be insurmountable obstacles in reigning in the pot industry.
Let’s take California as an example. The minute the DEA moves against the state’s thriving pot industry, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra will seek a restraining order, probably in San Francisco’s federal judicial district. That district is loaded with liberal judges and it is extremely unlikely that they will not grant an injunction against the DEA. The Justice Department can appeal to the 9the Circuit Court of Appeals, but that circuit is well known for its left-wing rulings.
But let’s say that John Doe and Harry Roe are busted by the DEA for operating a large grow house and for the distribution of 700 plants or kilograms of marijuana, which carries a federal penalty of 5-40 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. No jury in California is going to convict John and Harry, and federal prosecutors know this.
But let’s turn the DEA loose. Sorry, but they just don’t have the manpower to make a dent in the legalization of recreational pot. The DEA will have to have the assistance of California’s Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement and local law enforcement agencies to carry out large scale raids. Because California has legalized pot, the state’s BNE agents and local police and sheriff’s departments will be prohibited from assisting the DEA in taking down state licensed marijuana operations.
I have been on a number of raids on California pot plantations and growth houses. Almost all of these raids were multi-agency operations. And every DEA raid had to have the manpower assistance of local law enforcement agencies. With the DEA no longer able to rely on the assistance of state and local cops, any effort to crack down on pot growth operations seems doomed to failure.
Jeff Sessions is a strong opponent of pot. But the courts, juries and the DEA’s lack of manpower stand in the way of his desire to put an end to the legalization nonsense. And let’s not forget that during the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald trump made it quite clear that the marijuana issue should be left up to the states. That means the president will not have Session’s back.
So the Green State and the other seven states that have legalized recreational pot will continue to enjoy the benefits of a growing pot industry. They expect to collect billions in taxes. Of course those taxes, which are very high when you include local taxes on top of the state taxes, will leave the Mexican drug cartels laughing all the way to the bank as the black market in marijuana continues to flourish. In fact, the black market may even grow when new pot users find they can get good weed at much lower prices from their street corner dealer.
And here is one more benefit. The Los Angeles Police Department is worried about an expected rise in fatal car crashes involving stoned drivers. And well they should be. That has been the experience of Colorado and Washington.
What does all this mean for my great state of Texas? I can foresee us really being the Lone Star State, surrounded by the legal pot states of New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.