TOPICS > Arts > NEWSHOUR WEEKEND

The Connection: Contradictory Marijuana Laws

September 7, 2013 at 12:00 AM EDT
Just 10 days ago, the Obama administration said as long as strict regulations are in place, it will not challenge marijuana laws in states that have passed bills allowing recreational use of the drug. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said the decision "sends the wrong message to both law enforcement and violators of the law."
LISTEN SEE PODCASTS

TRANSCRIPT

HARI SREENIVASAN: Finally — The Connection — our regular feature to help you make sense of all those scattered news items bombarding you every day.

Tonight, sorting through contradictory marijuana laws.

We started thinking about this recently when we heard New Jersey Governor Chris Christie say some chronically ill children should be allowed to take an edible form of marijuana — as long as a pediatrician and a psychiatrist approve.

The potential presidential contender — said, “I believe that parents, and not government regulators, are best suited to decide how to care for their children.”

New Jersey is one of twenty states that allow medical marijuana. Out west, some states have gone further.

Last November, Colorado and Washington State approved ballot measures allowing recreational use of the drug.

And just 10 days ago, the Obama administration said, as long as strict regulations are in place, it would not challenge marijuana laws in those states – a decision that Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley said “sends the wrong message to both law enforcement and violators of the law.”

It sounds like a good subject for a constitutional law class. But some people aren’t taking the issue too seriously.

A Washington Post reporter wrote that the issue was creating a “buzz.” and that the president isn’t “high” on the idea of ending the federal ban on the drug.

Of course, thousands attending the recent hemp festival in Seattle didn’t exactly spend the day analyzing the nuances of the law.

Even though they were breaking the very forgiving Washington state law by smoking outside, they didn’t have to hide from police.

Instead of issuing tickets, the cops handed out bags of Doritos.

YOUNG MAN: These are delicious.

HARI SREENIVASAN: The police say they weren’t trying to treat the munchies. Turns out these were actually educational bags of chips, detailing what the Washington state law does and does not allow.

Seattle authorities, it seems, working hard to weed out fact from fiction.