States Have Right to Govern Public Health Laws

By SHARE

The U.S. Supreme Court has granted federal authorities the prosecutorial discretion to enforce federal marijuana laws even in medical marijuana states. However, in granting that authority, the court did not encourage such enforcement and conveyed that it may even be imprudent.

More importantly, it is not the federal government's purview to enforce local and state medical marijuana laws. Local and state officials must have the right to develop, implement, and enforce their own public health laws concerning medical marijuana. The obstruction of this right amounts to a constitutional violation by the Obama administration.

[Read about a recent Gallup poll about legalizing marijuana.]

The federal government has thwarted the adoption and implementation of local and state medical marijuana laws. The Justice Department has carried out more than 100 aggressive SWAT-style raids and sent threatening letters to public officials in at least 10 medical marijuana states. In addition, other federal agencies including the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have attempted to undermine state medical marijuana laws and have enabled discrimination against patients.

Every time the federal government shuts down a dispensary, hundreds of patients are denied access to their medication. One of the most adverse effects of this antagonistic federal policy is that it drives thousands of patients into the illicit market, thereby placing them in harm's way and complicating the efforts of law enforcement.

President Obama should, at the very least, keep his pledge to not use Justice Department resources to circumvent state medical marijuana laws. But, a more compassionate and sensible approach would be to recognize the science behind medical marijuana and adopt an appropriate federal public health policy.

Kris Hermes

About Kris Hermes Media Spokesperson for Americans for Safe Access

Tags
marijuana
California
public health

Other Arguments

#1
1,610 Pts
Don't Punish the Medical Marijuana Patients

No – Don't Punish the Medical Marijuana Patients

Brian Vicente Executive Director of Sensible Colorado

#3
1,535 Pts
Medical Marijuana Is California's Business

No – Medical Marijuana Is California's Business

Morgan Fox Communications Manager at the Marijuana Policy Project

#4
1,524 Pts
Obama Should Keep Promise on Medical Marijuana
#5
-1,465 Pts
More Research Needed Before Marijuana Is Safe

Yes – More Research Needed Before Marijuana Is Safe

Kevin Sabet Former Senior Adviser for Policy to White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Director

#6
-1,545 Pts
California Medical Marijuana Is a Public Danger

Yes – California Medical Marijuana Is a Public Danger

Peter Bensinger Former Administrator of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration

#7
-1,556 Pts
California's Kids Need to Be Protected

Yes – California's Kids Need to Be Protected

John Redman Executive Director of Californians for Drug Free Youth

You Might Also Like


See More