Why Legalizing Will Be Much Harder Than You Think
function share_this(num) {
 tit=encodeURIComponent('Why Legalizing Will Be Much Harder Than You Think');
 site = new Array(5);
 return false;

Why Legalizing Will Be Much Harder Than You Think
Posted by CN Staff on April 27, 2016 at 09:23:04 PT
By Erwin Chemerinsky
Source: Washington Post
Washington, D.C. -- There are rumors that the federal government may soon lift its ban on marijuana, but that wouldn’t end marijuana prohibitions in the United States. This incongruity is the result of federalism: the ability of each jurisdiction — the federal government and every state — to maintain its own laws as to which drugs are illegal and which are not.Completely legalizing marijuana in the United States would require the actions of both the federal government and every state government. If the federal government repealed its criminal prohibition of marijuana or rescheduled the drug under federal law, that would not change state laws that forbid its possession or sale. Likewise, state governments can repeal their marijuana laws, in whole or in part, but that does not change federal law.
When Colorado and Washington legalized the possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, questions arose as to how this would interact with federal law. Specifically, the question was whether such state efforts are preempted by the federal law, which still prohibits marijuana as a controlled substance like heroin and cocaine.The answer is clear: States can have whatever laws they want with regard to marijuana or any other drug. No state is required to have a law prohibiting or regulating marijuana. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that Congress cannot force states to enact laws; such coercion violates the 10th Amendment. A state could choose to have no law prohibiting marijuana, or a law prohibiting marijuana with an exception for medical use, or a law allowing possession of small amounts of marijuana, or anything else. In fact, across the United States today, this is exactly the situation — many states have very different laws concerning marijuana.Similarly, if the federal government were to repeal the prohibition of marijuana or reschedule it under the Controlled Substances Act, that would not change state laws. States still could prohibit and punish the sale and possession of marijuana under state criminal statutes.Contrary to what many believe, marijuana laws continue to be enforced by both states and the federal government. According to statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 693,482 individuals in the United States were arrested in 2013 and charged with marijuana violations. Of these, 609,423 — or 88 percent — were arrested for simple possession. There is an enormous cost in terms of law enforcement resources, the criminal justice system and people’s lives for marijuana to remain illegal. Even for those arrested and never prosecuted or convicted, arrest records have real harms in terms of the ability to get jobs, loans, housing and benefits.Like all drug laws, the prohibition against marijuana is much more likely to be enforced against African Americans and Latinos than against whites. According to a 2013 study, whites and blacks use marijuana at roughly the same rates, but blacks are 3.7 times more likely than whites to be arrested for possession of marijuana.Yet there is little benefit to illegality. The primary argument for keeping marijuana illegal is that it is harmful. But as President Obama observed, pot is no “more dangerous than alcohol.” Many things are harmful — cigarettes, foods high in sugar and salt and cholesterol — but that does not mean that they should be illegal. In fact, there is a good deal of evidence that marijuana is significantly less harmful than tobacco or alcohol and that it has benefits in treating some medical conditions such as glaucoma and seizure disorders, and alleviating some of the ill effects of chemotherapy. That is why 24 states and the District allow medical use of marijuana.Like the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s, the prohibition of marijuana has been a failure. The drug is readily available and it is estimated that 30 million Americans used it in the past year. And similar to the prohibition of alcohol, it is a costly failure. In addition to the cost in enforcing the criminal laws, there is the loss of significant revenue that could be gained from taxation and legalization.It is a question of when, not whether, marijuana becomes legal in the United States. A study by the Pew Research Center last year found that a majority of Americans now favor legalization and only 44 percent believe it should be illegal. Of those under 35 years old, 68 percent believe that marijuana should be legal. But there is no doubt that the confusion federalism entails will make legalizing marijuana much more difficult.Erwin Chemerinsky is dean and distinguished professor of law at the University of California, Irvine School of LawSource: Washington Post (DC)Author: Erwin ChemerinskyPublished: April 27, 2016Copyright: 2016 Washington Post CompanyContact: letters Website: URL:  -- Cannabis Archives 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help 

Comment #4 posted by Oleg the Tumor on May 05, 2016 at 15:09:22 PT
This is what one insider said about Prohibition:
"You will see a canary fly past, with the Washington Monument tied to its tail before Prohibition is repealed!"Just call 2016 "The Year of the Canary"
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by FoM on May 02, 2016 at 12:39:48 PT
Oregon Approves First Recreational MJ License
Oregon Approves First Recreational Marijuana LicensesURL:
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by John Tyler on April 29, 2016 at 06:18:28 PT
legislators had better get to work then
The legislators and bureaucrats had better get to work and get this done. Look at all of the money Colorado is making. Don’t be left behind. Be the first state in your region to re-legalize and make the money before the other states do.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by Sam Adams on April 27, 2016 at 09:31:21 PT
Consumer Reports - pharma evil
Turns out Big Pharma has sent the equivalent of tens of millions of drunk drivers onto our roads>>> A study published online in June 2015 by the American Journal of Public Health found that people prescribed sleeping pills were around twice as likely to be in car crashes as other people. The researchers estimated that people taking sleep drugs were as likely to have a car crash as those driving with a blood alcohol level above the legal limit.
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment