Attorney General Eric Holder
Attorney General Eric Holder

Obama Administration Will Soon Announce New Pot Policy; Meanwhile Arrests Continue

Ever since voters in Washington State and Colorado approved legalizing the recreational smoking of marijuana last November, the public has been waiting to see how the Obama administration would react. So far, officials have only said that they are monitoring the situation to see how those states implement their new pot-friendly laws, and that a more specific policy announcement is coming soon. At the National Association of Attorneys General annual conference on Feb. 26, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department was close to reaching a decision on how to proceed.

"We are, I think, in the last states of that review and are trying to make the determination as to what the policy ramifications are going to be, what our international ramifications are," Holder said, adding that an announcement would be made "relatively soon."

One thing that's clear is despite decades of war against marijuana, pot's popularity continues to climb. While there's been an overall drop in usage of most other drugs, teenage use of marijuana remains at an all-time high, and voters in more states are passing medical marijuana laws each year. But rather than give up the war on weed, statistics show that the government continues to stubbornly prosecute marijuana cases.

In fact, according to a recent Huffington Post article, annual marijuana arrests nationwide have more than doubled since 1980, and now cost U.S. taxpayers $10 billion a year. Even more disturbingly, in 2011, the year the Obama administration began cracking down on California's medpot industry, there were more marijuana arrests--663,032, to be exact--than for all violent crimes in America.

One factor that may explain the government's fondness for pot busts, is that when murderers, rapists and child molestors are taken off the streets, there's no asset forfeiture process that pays the bills. However, when the government busts a marijuana growing operation, the DEA can seize the property and fund its budget with the proceeds. In fact, as I recently outlined in one particularly egregious case in Anaheim, the DEA filed $1.5 million forfeiture proceedings against the landlord--a computer engineer and his dentist wife--of a building where an undercover cop used a doctor's note to purchase exactly $37 worth of medical pot at a dispensary that no longer exists.

With that kind of high-yield profit margin, don't expect the Obama administration to abandon the war on marijuana just because of a few pesky voters. 


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >