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Opinion: Marijuana is Best Left to States

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Colorado and Washington have become to first states ever to approve marijuana for recreational use. Adults 21 and older may legally obtain and carry up to an ounce, and are free to smoke privately. This has set up a bit of an issue for the federal government. There has been a federal ban on marijuana since 1937 and some argue that the new policies violate the Controlled Substances Act and thus the Constitution. So what now?

Just because marijuana is now legal in two states, doesn’t mean it is now officially legal. The federal government claims that because of the Supremacy Clause, it is able to raid state-legal marijuana dispensaries and shut them down. But my question is, isn’t the government supposed to be for the people and by the people? Legalization of marijuana was voted upon, and passed by the people of Colorado and Washington. Under Obama the amount of raids on marijuana dispensaries has increased 3-fold. In addition, the IRS can give dispensary owners a difficult time by disallowing their business expenses. Rasmussen conducted a recent poll that claims 82 percent of Americans do not believe we are winning the war on drugs, 51 percent claimed marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol and 88 percent of respondents claimed to have not smoked marijuana in the last year. Last year, Gallup put marijuana legalization support at 50 percent on a national scale. The latest Rasmussen poll found that 60 percent of the respondents believe that marijuana legalization is a state level issue.

What’s next for the people of Colorado and Washington? The answer might not be as simple as we may think. This is the first case of this happening in the world, and I would like to think that the federal government would not be raiding dispensaries in Colorado or Washington in the name of the Supremacy Clause. The Supremacy Clause only applies to laws Congress can pass constitutionally, and I personally do not find a marijuana ban to be constitutional. How can a body prohibit alcohol nationwide through a constitutional amendment, and then ban marijuana via legislation (not the constitutional amendment) less than 20 years later? The federal government will do as it pleases; if it would like to raid dispensaries and arrest civilians for possessing marijuana, it will. A national repeal on the marijuana ban would help states who have legalized it breathe a bit easier, but as the federal government, do you wait to repeal after clear laws are in place in each state? In my opinion the government is for and by the people. Marijuana is a state’s rights issue for me, and if the people of certain states vote to make it legal, then the government shouldn’t penalize or punish them for it.

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