President Barack Obama has previously admitted using illegal drugs such as marijuana and cocaine years ago and has wisely renounced that drug abuse.
But his own dangerous use of drugs ought to steer him away from any act that might confer false legitimacy on drug abuse. Unfortunately, it has not.
In 2004, campaigning for the Senate, he said, "We need to rethink and decriminalize our marijuana laws."
During the presidential race in 2008, he offered support for so-called "medical marijuana."
And ironically, Mr. Obama - who is often hostile to states' rights - said last year, "I'm not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue."
Now, the Obama Justice Department is following through on that idea. It is telling federal prosecutors not to pursue federal cases against "medical marijuana" users and their dealers in states where marijuana is legal in some instances.
We certainly agree that under the 10th Amendment, the states and the people retain powers not delegated by the Constitution to the federal government. But when drug cases arise where federal jurisdiction is clear, they ought to be prosecuted. That is especially true for drug dealers, whether or not a particular state unwisely authorizes them to sell pot, because they are likely to use this new loophole to sell marijuana as something other than "medicine."
Government cannot stop all illegal drug use, but its actions ought not to send the destructive, false message that drug abuse is OK.