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Weed. More than two dozen states circumventing federal prohibition has exposed a serious achilles heel which proves that nullification by noncompliance works.

In late 2013, just before Colorado’s new recreational marijuana law was set to go into effect, the Federal government sent a warning shot across the bow.  They conducted the largest marijuana raid in Colorado history, hitting more than a dozen dispensaries in the Denver metro area.

This led some people to take the position that state laws legalizing marijuana, in defiance of federal prohibition, would never really work because “the feds can simply come in and shut it down anytime they want.” Others said that marijuana proliferated only because the president had been so supportive of the states.

Both views are easily refuted with some simple facts.  Let’s review them:

In less than two full terms, Barack Obama conducted more marijuana raids than his two predecessors, George Bush and Bill Clinton, combined. He tried to stop the states from defying federal law on marijuana, but was faced with insurmountable resistance.

While the feds, in theory, can still shut down marijuana dispensaries, they don’t have the money to investigate and raid every dispensary, especially if state law prohibits local law enforcement from assisting them.

It costs the feds about $25,000 to physically raid a single marijuana dispensary. It costs up to $1 million for the lengthy investigation that often leads up to a raid.

The annual DEA budget runs about $2.87 billion.

At its peak, the city of Los Angeles had well-over 1000 dispensaries.  It would take as much as 40% of the DEA’s yearly budget to investigate and raid this one city alone.  That doesn’t even touch the millions more it would take on top of this to prosecute. And it certainly doesn’t count the massive political backlash that such a federal army on the streets of a U.S. city would create.

Fact – the feds don’t have anywhere close to the resources needed to stop the states on marijuana. This is why they’ve backed off. This is why the marijuana strategy is the blueprint for nullification success.

Michael Boldin

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