"States will face stiff penalties from federal authorities over their outright legalization of marijuana."
Why on Earth would the federal government, this executive branch, want in any way to punish the very liberals that re-elected him? These are not violent criminals, these are modern adults who accept the reality that most people smoke weed, or knows someone who does. They are far less violent and as long as they have coffee far more productive alcoholics, and far less dangerous on the road.
Both of these steps took the initial pre-requisite actions, by going through the 'medical provision' initiatives, while other states languish under ignorant and arcane law. Marijuana is a medicine. It may not be pretty, but facts are facts, people get relief from pain, nausea, and spasms from its consumption. Threatening people with federal prosecution for providing medicine to sick people is NUTS.
The prohibition of alcohol did not keep people from consuming it, it only made a bunch of really bad people really rich. Why in the world would we want to continue to miss out on the tax revenue, and instead pass that along to criminals. Then at the same time turn around and PAY to jail non-violent offenders.
Spending money punishing people for taking an herb that hurts no one, and helps the patient, rather than making money from a legitimate marketplace good just seems wrong-headed.
Come on President Obama, you've inhaled, you KNOW this stuff isn't the demon weed straight from hell. Marijuana is medicine, tax it, and allow people to live their lives without fear of federal prosecution.