Sen. Leahy Suggests Federal Legalization Of Marijuana. Could It Actually Happen?

Owen Poindexter
Senator Pat Leahy is going where few senators have gone before: to suggest that marijuana be legal in states that legalize it. Fully legal, up to an ounce of possession. Will this fly?

Sen. Pat Leahy of Vermont wants Colorado and Washington to get high legally. PHOTO: Reuters

Senator Pat Leahy (D-VT) has a suggestiong that would save the Obama administration a lot of time, money and headaches: change federal laws to make marijuana possession legal in states that have legalized it. Leahy writes:

One option would be to amend the Federal Controlled Substances Act to allow possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, at least in jurisdictions where it is legal under state law,

As you might have heard somewhere, Colorado and Washington State both legalized the recreational use of marijuana in defiance of federal laws. Yes, a major U.S. Senator in the majority party is saying that we should legalize marijuana. This is unlikely to 1) pass the Senate, 2) pass the House and 3) get signed, but we can dream for a moment. Marijuana legalization forms an interesting coaltion: the far left and far right are all for it, the political middle tends to be too in favor of the status quo to say yes.

While some in the Obama administration may think that the War on Drugs (a name almost as ridiculous as "fiscal cliff") is an ineffectual waste of time and money, they are also tasked with enforcing the law of the land. Marijuana is illegal for any use, including medical, and is classified as a Schedule I drug, alongside heroin, cocaine and ecstasy. Which is madness, but drug laws are hard to get rid of: politicians are terrified of seeming anything less than "tough on crime."

That said, Leahy joins a growing chorus of politicians who are saying, "Hey, why don't we just try it? What's the worst thing that could happen?" Not to mention (and few people seem to be) that in a time of soaring deficits that few seem to have a solution for, ending the War on Drugs would save the federal government and a giant, unmarked suitcase full of cash.