Calif. marijuana initiative irks Washington

California voters will have the chance November 2nd to decide whether to legalize the use of marijuana by adults 21 years of age or older.  The measure, known as “Proposition 19,” will not even be voted on for another six weeks; but already there are those urging the federal government to take action against it. 

 If voters in the Golden State decide to thus liberalize their state’s laws, the United States Supreme Court will almost certainly be called upon to decide whether the so-called “commerce clause” in the Constitution has any limits at all to reach even purely personal behavior that has no effect whatsoever outside the boundaries of a single state.  Ironically, this would be the second time since 2005 the Court has used a liberalized California marijuana law to extend federal power to criminalize personal behavior. 

Five years ago, in a 6-3 opinion, in which only Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, William Rehnquist and Clarence Thomas dissented, the Court struck down California’s medical marijuana law that similarly had been passed by voter referendum.  Of those three, only Justice Thomas remains on the Supreme Court bench now.  As the only sitting Justice who votes consistently to limit federal power regulating personal behavior (especially measures enacted under the guise of the commerce clause), he can be counted on to support the rights of adult Californians to smoke a joint in the privacy of their own home.  Beyond Thomas, however, finding Justices willing to limit the reach of the commerce clause will be a difficult task.

Since the late 1930s, the Congress repeatedly has passed legislation using the commerce clause as the “hook” with which to justify all manner of mandates on state governments and limits on personal behavior.  Republican and Democratic presidents alike have shown virtually no hesitancy in signing such legislation into law.  And, with precious few exceptions, the federal courts have upheld such measures.  In this manner have all three branches of our government conspired to twist a single phrase in the Constitution — designed originally to guard against any one state from impeding commerce with or into any other state – beyond all logic.

In a clear illustration of the disdain which many in this country have for limited federal power, every one of the nine former administrators of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) – the agency primarily responsible for enforcing federal drug laws – sent a letter last month to Attorney General Eric Holder, sounding the alarm bell over Proposition 19.  In their letter, the former DEA heads urged Mr. Holder to assert the commerce and “supremacy” clauses in the Constitution as grounds from which to actively oppose the pending California measure; and on which to base a lawsuit challenging it. 

In their letter also, the DEA bosses likened the brewing California marijuana crisis to the situation in Arizona, where the Attorney General currently is prosecuting a lawsuit against that state to enjoin its enforcement of an immigration law empowering state officers to stop, question, detain, and arrest individuals if they think they are here illegally. 

In fact, these two cases have nothing in common.

Unlike immigration laws — an area in which the federal government enjoys explicit and plenary constitutional power — the feds’ power to jail individuals for using controlled substances is at best a power shared with state authorities.  It is a power based not on any express or implied authority in the Constitution, but only tenuously on the power to tax and – you guessed it – to regulate interstate commerce.

What is at stake here is not protecting an exclusive federal power against usurpation by a state. What is involved here is nothing loftier than preserving the raw power of Washington to enforce personal behavior norms by the citizens in California or any other stat

87 comments Add your comment

Eric

September 20th, 2010
6:58 am

Fine article! Thanks for revealing yet another perspective on “Big Brother.” I appreciate all they do for us (not).

Karl Marx

September 20th, 2010
6:58 am

The real issue is prohibition. In the 1930’s prohibition was tried and the result was ramped organized crime and corruption resulting in it’s repeal. The Feds are using a different method for outlawing drugs but the result is the same. Organized crime and corruption.

One Man's Myth

September 20th, 2010
7:39 am

“If voters in the Golden State decide to thus liberalize their state’s laws, the United States Supreme Court will almost certainly be called upon to decide whether the so-called “commerce clause” in the Constitution has any limits at all to reach even purely personal behavior that has no effect whatsoever outside the boundaries of a single state. Ironically, this would be the second time since 2005 the Court has used a liberalized California marijuana law to extend federal power to criminalize personal behavior. ”

Sure, we followed THAT along.

What is Barr smoking? Or did he dabble in witchcraft? Satanic reasoning uses the logic of the worst case scenario to weaken the legal justification of any law. “We want small government because look how they trample upon our liberties when they regulate poisons.” or “Abe Lincoln was unamerican when he suspended the writ during the civil war, the dirty rat.”

Syntactically challenged, and stoned is no way to go through life, Barr.

Better: “If California legalizes marijuana, the inevitable crazy-con appeals to our Supreme Court will rely on the precedence set by the Interstate Commerce Clause in our constitution, through which Chicken Little was successfully prosecuted for tranporting McNuggets across state lines for immoral purposes.”

There. Your entire argument, and the rebuttal, in a tweet. You would have had room to report how scientists are using DNA forensics to zero-in on exactly what part of a chicken the McNugget comes from, and how a break-through is imminent, after Mankind has waited for so many generations to learn the origin. Personally, I think it’s the same place they get the chicken tenders from. But that’s just me.

We best wait for the science.

Caveman

September 20th, 2010
8:05 am

Unlike most of your fellow conservatives, you actually have principles that don’t flex whichever way the wind blows when it’s conveniant. Kudos to you Bob!

Jimmy62

September 20th, 2010
8:12 am

One Man’s Myth: Bob’s argument is pretty easy to understand. The government should stay out of our homes and let us smoke pot if we want. I get the point of yours. Seems to be “I’m a jerk” but not much else. You might want to work on your own syntax. Those who live in glass houses and all….

The Interstate Commerce Clause is frequently abused. If we followed it strictly, this country might be a very different place. For better or worse, I couldn’t say. But I would like to smoke weed rather than drink when I go out. It’s safer.

Conservative Christian

September 20th, 2010
8:21 am

Register. Vote. Share the links. Change the world.
As a Christian who takes seriously Jesus command to do unto others what I would have them do unto me, I know that if my child were using marijuana, I would want to work with him or her as a parent rather than seeing him or her with a criminal record, in jail with the sexual predators, lose their college financial aid, and all of the very real harm that would be caused, not by marijuana, but by the law. I would hate for that to happen to any kid, but it does, every day.
Likewise, if my aging parents were to try a little marijuana to ease the aches and pains of growing older, I would not want to see the police confiscate their home and sell it under the property forfeiture laws. I would hate for that to happen to any aging parent, but it does. Register to vote. Just google your state name and the phrase “voter registration”. You have to register well in advance of election day; All of these links use the usual h t t p : / / w w w prefix:
California:
sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_vr.htm
Others: Google your state name and “voter registration.”

College students: You can usually register as a citizen of either your hometown or your college residence town. Share the voter registration info through your student newspaper, twitter, etc.

5 minutes. Change the world. Share the links.

George Carlin

September 20th, 2010
9:02 am

If the State can sell a little weed, the Feds will see all the tax revenue California will be generating from selling grass and will want a toke off of that pipe. The State will also spend less money enforcing and prosecuting people for an arcane law. Wouldn’t it be groovy if AAhhhnuld could bail out the State’s budget woes just from selling a little weed? And tonight’s forecast still calls for widely scattered dark.

The Pilgrim

September 20th, 2010
9:18 am

I think pot was legalized in DC too, because they are smokin lots o dope in the Oval office.

Bonnie Norwood

September 20th, 2010
9:48 am

The United States’ drug policies are a farce. They spend so much money to keep marijuana illegal while selling drugs themselves that is a lot worse. This drug is methadone. There are methadone clinics all over the United States that were started to get heroin users off the streets and from using dirty needles. However, they now prescribe it to people who are addicted to just about anything including prescription drugs. If you are pregnant, they give you a larger dose for the baby. This program is supposed to cure addictions by substituting their minor drugs with a drug (synthetic heroin) that is more powerful and more addicting than most of the things it is prescribed for. Methadone is prescribed by a regular doctor and patient have to see the doctor and a counselor regularly. This is supposed to help them beat their addictions and finally weaned off the methadone. I know of many methadone addicts, including my 30-year-old daughter, who are never encouraged to come off the methadone and use someone else’s urine to pass drug tests designed to make sure they are not taking other drugs. It is like the United States is saying, “don’t buy drugs unless you buy them from us.

Marcos

September 20th, 2010
9:53 am

A Libertarian is just a Republican who smokes pot and has gay friends.

Prohibition Does Not Work.

September 20th, 2010
10:00 am

It is simply time we stopped turning casual hemp users into criminals. It is time that we stopped footing the bill to arrest, convict and pay for incarceration of hemp users and dealers. It is time we taxed pre-packaged hemp like alcohol and cigarettes. It is time we cut the backbone of hemp funding from drug cartels.

At least THIS part of “the War on Drugs” is a costly boondoggle that we can no longer afford. Politicians used hemp as a way to boost their image as being “tough on crime”. Government lied, over and over again, about the affects of hemp. Ever see “reefer madness”? It was so blatantly false that it left my high school class of 1979 wondering what ELSE the government was lying about.

When you turn common folk into criminals for no real reason (hemp laws, the 55mph highway speed limit, etc), you breed widespread contempt for law enforcement. Enforcement of sensible, LEGITIMATE laws brings respect for law enforcement.

For the purposes of : respect for law enforcement, reduction in the cost of government, increase in sales tax revenue, reduction of crime and reduction of funding crime syndicates, increase in personal liberty, marijuana should be legalized immediately nationwide.

Bryan G.

September 20th, 2010
10:18 am

In light of the suit against the Arizona law, you would think that the DOJ would have to sue California just to stay “logically consistent”, right?

gmk

September 20th, 2010
10:23 am

The amazing thing is: They are putting up SO much more of a fuss about Cannabis than they did about ALCOHOL, which can’t be defended under any circumstances. It is SHEER INSANITY!

The difference is, in some cases, Cannabis can actually be good for you and is proven to be so by scientific studies – all ignored! Alcohol is good for disinfecting things – that’s it.

I have an alcoholic brother that gets on the telephone and causes untold grief to my family, week after week, without end. I would GIVE ANYTHING if he would use Cannabis instead! Alcohol is the single most destructive drug in America, but it’s given the nod of approval. Talk about sending messages!!!

As Charleton Heston said in Planet of the Apes – IT’S A MADHOUSE!!! A MADHOUSE!!!!

Keith

September 20th, 2010
10:25 am

The worst thing about marijuana is the drug war laws. . If don’t like pot then don’t smoke it, but get your nose out of other peoples’ lives and go drink your alcohol.

Dude

September 20th, 2010
10:32 am

The government has no say in any transaction between me and a plant.

shaggy

September 20th, 2010
10:37 am

Any argument for tax revenue is bogus. If legalized growing for personal consumption were to happen, there would cease being any money in it.
Pot truly grows like a weed. Even the most unforgiving of gardeners will be able to easily grow some good stuff…on a small piece of land. If you can grow tomatoes, you can grow pot. If most everybody is growing for personal use, there will be no commercial market, only a barter type market.
Where is the tax revenue for that?

ConservativeChristian

September 20th, 2010
10:39 am

Register. Vote. Change the world.

California citizens can register at:
http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_vr.htm
Just print the form and mail it in.

Others: Google your state name and “voter registration.”

College students: You can usually register as a citizen of either your hometown or your college residence town. Share the voter registration info through your student newspaper, twitter, etc.

5 minutes. Change the world. Share the links.

lmno

September 20th, 2010
10:46 am

“If you can grow tomatoes, you can grow pot. If most everybody is growing for personal use, there will be no commercial market, only a barter type market.
Where is the tax revenue for that?”

A lot of people grow their own tomatos, but there is still a market.

Val

September 20th, 2010
10:49 am

As long as private prisons employ lobbyists, we will never legalize pot and disrupt that revenue stream for both politicians and private prisons.

shaggy

September 20th, 2010
10:55 am

lmno:

The tomato analogue is just to illustrate how easy pot can be grown. Also, pot stores with a lot less effort than tomatoes.
I stand by my point. The price would plummet until the gubment weed was the fringe, and the vast majority would simply grow and trade with friends.
Pot would already be legal, except for the gubment’s inability to tax and control.

Minivet

September 20th, 2010
11:06 am

You’re really mischaracterizing Gonzales v. Raich in paragraph 3. They didn’t strike Proposition 215 down – it’s still alive and well and being enforced and built on in California. All they did is confirm the right of Congress to continue to ban marijuana for purely personal use under the Commerce Clause.

Prohibition Does Not Work.

September 20th, 2010
11:14 am

While a LOT of people would grow their own, many more simply would buy. It is what it is. Why does anyone buy tomatoes , apples, peppers, cucumbers, etc, etc. These are things that are EASY to grow, fruit profusely, and can supply a family for half a year on just a few plants. Yet, people still spend $5-$10 every week during the summer months for these vegetables and fruits. Further, just about 50% of people live in urban/metro areas. They don’t have the room. Why do people spend $30 a week for lawn care when they could do it themselves? Or spend $20 on an oil change when they could do it for $10?

Your argument falls short, shaggy. A hundred million people purchase things at retail every day that they could grow, cook, build,maintain themselves.

Darnit

September 20th, 2010
11:14 am

So as long as the Feds say “No” about any issue that they have interstate commerce authority over (which is everything) then its end of discussion as decided by the Feds and not the voters…music please: “and I am proud to be an American where at least I know I am free of voting.”

Jefferson

September 20th, 2010
11:17 am

Life, liberty, and the persuit of happiness.

Make it all Legal

September 20th, 2010
11:30 am

I think CALIFORNIA should vote and legalize SLAVERY of anybody if they are able to pass anything that is FEDERALLY ILLEGAL.

CALIFORNIA should also vote and legalize CHILD LABOR while they are at it.

They are in this for the MONEY, right?

With slavery and child labor, those can BRING in LOTS of money for the state for CHEAP LABOR.

Imagine having a lot of things assembled and manufactured in CALIFORNIA because slavery and child labor is BACK.

That is the will of the people if they legalize it. FREEDOM! Liberalized Laws! THE FEDERAL people cannot stop this.

While CALIFORNIA is at it, they should legalize PROSTITUTION.

PROSTITUTION will give a LOT of revenue to the state. People from other states will go to CA to get their prostitutes and they will pay state taxes. THAT IS SO Good for the economny of CA. All the women and girls will have guaranteed jobs. All the children and slaves will have guaranteed jobs. No one will force anybody to work as a slave, prostitute or in child labor. They can all apply for the jobs because they will be available. It is good for CALIFORNIA.

CA might as well legalize all UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS to have a pool for SLAVES.

Really, this is the beginning of PROSPERITY in CALIFORNIA if CA puts slavery, child labor, prostitution, legalization of undocumented immigrants in the BALLOT.

Let’s do it. I think the CA people are STUPID enough to pass them.

Dan R.

September 20th, 2010
11:31 am

Also, the CSA explicitly says that it doesn’t “occupy the field,” so you’d have to find positive conflict for a preemption problem. Does Prop 19 “require” (not just allow) something that federal law forbids, or forbid something that federal law requires? No.

Despite the Court’s crappy position on commerce clause authority, even granting the feds the right to regulate here, you’re still not going to find any constitutionality problems.

Section 903;
“No provision of this subchapter shall be construed as indicating
an intent on the part of the Congress to occupy the field in which
that provision operates, including criminal penalties, to the
exclusion of any State law on the same subject matter which would
otherwise be within the authority of the State, unless there is a
positive conflict between that provision of this subchapter and
that State law so that the two cannot consistently stand together.”

David

September 20th, 2010
11:36 am

A Libertarian is a persom who believes in Liberty,a Republican is actually a Fascist pretending to stand for Liberty. I vote Libertarian!

Repeal Medical Marijuana

September 20th, 2010
11:37 am

Why does CALIFORNIA need to legalize marijuana when practically ANYBODY including 18 year olds can get medical marijuana. Medical marijuana is LEGALIZED marijuana. Anybody can get it. In fact, may people from out of state are driving to California, getting their post office boxes in CA to have a CA address so they can get their medical marijuana cards. So if you see a lot of OUT OF STATE license plates in CA, those are the SCUMBAGS who want their medical marijuana.

Really, if Prop 19 does not pass, just pretend that you have chronic pain and get your medical marijuana card. Medical marijuana is NOT regulated at all. Anyone can get a medical marijuana card and you can even get it refilled with pot from street dealers. The cops will not know where the pot came from as long as you have a prescription bottle. Those medical marijuana are not in protected shrinkwrap and don’t have tracking numbers..

So all is NOT lost if Prop 19. You have medical marijuana available to 18 and above as a fall-back.

(smirk-grr)

Prohibition Does Not Work.

September 20th, 2010
11:39 am

So some idiot who goes by “Make it all Legal” equates legalization of Marijuana to child labor, slavery and prostitution? WTF?

Repeal Medical Marijuana

September 20th, 2010
11:40 am

Why does CALIFORNIA need to legalize marijuana when practically ANYBODY including 18 year olds can get medical marijuana. Medical marijuana is LEGALIZED marijuana. Anybody can get it. In fact, many people from out of state are driving to California, getting their post office boxes in CA to have a CA address so they can get their medical marijuana cards. So if you see a lot of OUT OF STATE license plates in CA, those are the SCUMBAGS from outside of CA who want their medical marijuana.

Really, if Prop 19 does not pass, just pretend that you have chronic pain and get your medical marijuana card. Medical marijuana is NOT regulated at all. Anyone can get a medical marijuana card and you can even get it refilled with pot from street dealers. The cops will not know where the pot came from as long as you have a prescription bottle. Those medical marijuana are not in protected shrinkwrap and don’t have tracking numbers..

So all is NOT lost if Prop 19 passes. You have medical marijuana available to 18 year olds and above as a fall-back.

(smirk-grr)

Richard

September 20th, 2010
11:45 am

If Jesus’s blood turned into pot instead of wine, marijuana would already be legal.

Madcapunlimited

September 20th, 2010
11:45 am

So Dan R– you’re comparing marijuana to slavery and child labor? Wow. Class act that is.

People who are against legalizing weed don’t want to “protect” anything. NO LAW would be safe enough. Those of us who smoke responsibly, we (in the eyes of small brained prohibitionists) simply must stop because it offends others… to the point where they think we are criminals.

The reality is that people who are trying to keep marijuana illegal are trying to hold on to the last socially accepted bigotry. Live and Let Live. And that means letting people smoke in their homes if they don’t want to.

And yes, using the “WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN” argument is about as fallacious as making comparisons to Hitler. Prohibitionists: the days when you can get away with this crap are coming to an end. Maybe not this year, but this decade prohibition will end.

Legalize all

September 20th, 2010
11:46 am

Why is it very wrong for Pro-Prop 19 to legalize child labor, slavery and prostitution? Really. Double-standards, here.

Open Market

September 20th, 2010
11:49 am

There will be a market for marijuana.

There will also be a market for all of the other uses of hemp. Paper, clothes, rope, etc….

This could even help put some American farmers to work.

Ezra

September 20th, 2010
12:10 pm

If California legalizes pot, then the illegal immigrants wont be visiting the homeland as much. They wont see their children grow up…how inhumane.

Al Gore

September 20th, 2010
12:11 pm

What about the significant impact that more people smoking pot will have in contributing to global warming.

proactive

September 20th, 2010
12:13 pm

You can make your own alcohol! But almost everyone buys it at a store… You can grow your own tobacco but most buy it prerolled. Proof there will still be a market people are lazy you wana wait 4 months for your weed or buy it at a store? Enough said

StJ

September 20th, 2010
12:14 pm

Maybe if CA legalizes pot, all the potheads will move there.

Fred

September 20th, 2010
12:29 pm

Marcos the moron making sure everyone knows it. Best read up “friend” i.e. homo.

One Man’s Myth McGibberish. It adores tyrannical dictators. It loves warrentless imprisonment and needless death.

One Man’s Myth for President of everyone. Hooray for the jack azz tell-it-all.

The Taxman Cometh

September 20th, 2010
12:31 pm

Marcos@ 9:53 “A Libertarian is just a Republican who smokes pot and has gay friends”

AND doesn’t play GI Joe all over the world.

Aunt Bea

September 20th, 2010
12:36 pm

I make a pretty mean batch of brownies. Just ask Goober.

Scooby

September 20th, 2010
12:38 pm

Shaggy…you just stick with growing your own hemp and tomatoes. The rest of us will figure out how to make a profit on it.

PS – It won’t grow like a weed…it has to be carefully cultivated in a hot climate. That is why there are so many “grow rooms”.

Jillian Galloway

September 20th, 2010
1:12 pm

We need to demand laws based on logic and reality rather than on irrational fears of what might theoretically happen!

850,000 people were arrested last year for marijuana offenses while at the same time marijuana use went **up** by 8%. We taxpayers get *nothing* back for the $40 billion a year we pay for the prohibition!

Keeping marijuana in Schedule I alongside heroin diverts $10 billion a year to the sadistic, murderous cartels and undermines all the hard work of parents to keep our kids away from dangerous drugs. We need to speak up and demand marijuana be controlled with the same laws as alcohol!

Brownies

September 20th, 2010
1:14 pm

OH WEED BROWNIES!!! Liberal laws. Liberal potlucks at SCHOOLS!!!!

In one high school, there was a potluck and these high school students brought WEED BROWNIES to the potluck for everyone to eat. No one knew that they were WEED BROWNIES.

Basically, everyone was wondering why many of the students and adults got high during that POTLUCK at the school.

shaggy

September 20th, 2010
1:16 pm

Scooby,

You are a moron. I couldn’t care less about a profit. If you want profit, keep it illegal and prices stay high.

There are so meny grow rooms, because they make a BIG profit, you nitwit.

Cheesecake

September 20th, 2010
1:20 pm

Mari-Cheesecakes laced with marijuana.

The school function decided to have a potluck and these high school students learned how to make cheesecake in their culinary class. So when there was a POTLUCK at the school, they served their mari-cheesecakes. No one could understand why everyone was uncontrollably laughing.

Scooby

September 20th, 2010
1:45 pm

Shaggy you are just upset because you are too stoned to know that you are talking out of your pie hole. All the profit you now say exisits will be an excellent source of previously untapped tax revenue. Oh…I forgot…I’m a moron…you said everyone will start growing their own…just like home brew and tobacco…silly me. I may be a moron but you are still a dope. Go back to your tomatoes and your Playstation.

Jimmy62

September 20th, 2010
2:03 pm

Scooby: You’re wrong, it will grow like a weed, because it is a weed. But the wild stuff won’t be as high quality or with as high of a yield as the cultivated stuff.

Scooby

September 20th, 2010
2:25 pm

Ok…marijuana is a freakin weed that will be lining the medians of our highways. We will spend millions of dollars cutting this wild prolific shrub that will take over like Kudzu. Legalizing it will be a bad idea because it will overtake our lawns like crabgrass. Smoking it will be of no use because this wild shrub, unless carefull cultivated in pristine conditions, couldn’t get a nun high. Buy shares of Ortho…if pot is leaglized, Roundup is going to fly off the shelves to turn back this plauge that decriminalization will bring upon the lands.

malcolm kyle

September 20th, 2010
3:41 pm

Here are some facts concerning the situation in Holland:

”Cannabis coffee shops” are not only restricted to the Capital of Holland, Amsterdam. They can be found in more than 50 cities and towns across the country. At present, only the retail sale of five grams is tolerated, so production remains criminalized. The mayors of a majority of the cities with coffeeshops have long urged the national government to also decriminalize the supply side.

A poll taken earlier this year indicated that some 50% of the Dutch population thinks cannabis should be fully legalized while only 25% wanted a complete ban. Even though 62% of the voters said they had never taken cannabis. An earlier poll also indicated 80% opposing coffee shop closures.
http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2010/02/public_split_on_cannabis_legal.php

It is true that the number of coffee shops has fallen from its peak of around 2,500 throughout the country to around 700 now. The problems, if any, concern mostly “drug tourists” and are largely confined to cities and small towns near the borders with Germany and Belgium. These problems, mostly involve traffic jams, and are the result of cannabis prohibition in neighboring countries. “Public nuisance problems” with the coffee shops are minimal when compared with bars, as is demonstrated by the rarity of calls for the police for problems at coffee shops.

While it is true that lifetime and “past-month” use rates did increase back in the seventies and eighties, the critics shamefully fail to report that there were comparable and larger increases in cannabis use in most, if not all, neighboring countries which continued complete prohibition.

According to the World Health Organization only 19.8 percent of the Dutch have used marijuana, less than half the U.S. figure.
In Holland 9.7% of young adults (aged 15–24) consume soft drugs once a month, comparable to the level in Italy (10.9%) and Germany (9.9%) and less than in the UK (15.8%) and Spain (16.4%). Few transcend to becoming problem drug users (0.44%), well below the average (0.52%) of the compared countries.

The WHO survey of 17 countries finds that the United States has the highest usage rates for nearly all illegal substances.

In the U.S. 42.4 percent admitted having used marijuana. The only other nation that came close was New Zealand, another bastion of get-tough policies, at 41.9 percent. No one else was even close. The results for cocaine use were similar, with the U.S. again leading the world by a large margin.

Even more striking is what the researchers found when they asked young adults when they had started using marijuana. Again, the U.S. led the world, with 20.2 percent trying marijuana by age 15. No other country was even close, and in Holland, just 7 percent used marijuana by 15 — roughly one-third of the U.S. figure.
thttp://www.alternet.org/drugs/90295/

In 1998, the US Drug Czar General Barry McCaffrey claimed that the U.S. had less than half the murder rate of the Netherlands. “That’s drugs,” he explained. The Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics immediately issued a special press release explaining that the actual Dutch murder rate is 1.8 per 100,000 people, or less than one-quarter the U.S. murder rate.

Here’s a very recent article by a psychiatrist from Amsterdam, exposing “Drug Czar misinformation”
http://tinyurl.com/247a8mp

Now let’s look at a comparative analysis of the levels of cannabis use in two cities: Amsterdam and San Francisco, which was published in the American Journal of Public Health May 2004,

The San Francisco prevalence survey showed that 39.2% of the population had used cannabis. This is 3 times the prevalence found in the Amsterdam sample

Source: Craig Reinarman, Peter D.A. Cohen and Hendrien L. Kaal, “The Limited Relevance of Drug Policy”
http://www.mapinc.org/lib/limited.pdf

Moreover, 51% of people who had smoked cannabis in San Francisco reported that they were offered heroin, cocaine or amphetamine the last time they purchased cannabis. In contrast, only 15% of Amsterdam residents who had ingested marijuana reported the same conditions. Prohibition is the ‘Gateway Policy’ that forces cannabis seekers to buy from criminals who gladly expose them to harder drugs.

The indicators of death, disease and corruption are even much better in the Netherlands than in Sweden for instance, a country praised by UNODC for its “successful” drug policy.”

Here’s Antonio Maria Costa doing his level best to avoid discussing the success of Dutch drug policy:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lExNjEhdSkY&feature=related

The Netherlands also provides heroin on prescription under tight regulation to about 1500 long-term heroin addicts for whom methadone maintenance treatment has failed.

The Dutch justice ministry announced, last year, the closure of eight prisons and cut 1,200 jobs in the prison system. A decline in crime has left many cells empty. There’s simply not enough criminals
http://www.nrc.nl/international/article2246821.ece/Netherlands_to_close_prisons_for_lack_of_criminals