Opinions

Obama administration shouldn’t intervene on states’ marijuana laws

State employees who are currently involved in the licensing and overall production of medical marijuana dispensaries have the potential to face prosecution by the Obama Administration, according to a new letter published by the Department of Justice.

The letter, which was sent to Washington State Gov. Chris Gregoire (D) last Friday, does not leave anything to the imagination in regards to the aim of the Department of Justice, claiming “the prosecution of individuals and organizations involved in the trade of any illegal drugs and the disruption of drug trafficking organizations is a core priority of the Department.”

The Department of Justice seems most concerned with state practices being authorized contrary to what the federal law would allow, as is made clear in the document.

Due to the recent document, Gregoire is refusing to sign a recent medical marijuana bill proposed by the state of Washington, in fear of potentially being prosecuted by the federal government.

This recent turn of events begs an interesting question: At what point is it acceptable for federal law to supersede state law?

If a state’s legislators are unable to handle certain issues and deal with laws and regulations accordingly, then yes, it would be appropriate for the current administration to intervene and take charge. However, many states’ legislators have proven they are able to handle the facilitation and licensing of medical marijuana. As a matter of fact, 15 states and the District of Columbia are currently doing so.

This is not the only upsetting news about the matter. What is even more absurd is the fact that the Obama administration has previously claimed that marijuana dispensaries operating in states that had legalized the activity would not be prosecuted.

So, why this now? Why will our tax dollars soon be funding punishment for activities and organizations that we as a people voted on at the state level? These practices and establishments are not a threat to national security. They do not hinder a state’s ability to function properly, so what is the point? If anything, the production and distribution of medical marijuana boosts states’ economies, and has the potential to boost the entire nation’s economy if the federal government would allow it.

Forget roads, education and healthcare. Let’s spend more money on people who are not even doing anything wrong. Yes, that makes perfect sense. Pay no mind to the legislature that has been put into place by 15 states and Washington D.C. by their lawmakers and officials, because when it comes down to it, the Fed has trump rights.

Though a vast majority of you are not and most likely will not be a part of the legal production and distribution of medical marijuana, this unnecessary intervention of the federal government should be alarming to you. Regardless of whether you enjoy some of the green goodness from time to time or if you are against the Devil’s Lettuce in general, this should be alarming to you.

If an issue as seemingly small as this one — in the grand scope of matters concerning our nation — is seen as such a threat to the Obama administration, imagine what they will interfere with in the future. The centralization of federal government power must cease. Or maybe the Fed should just light up a fat one.

Jessica Wood is a senior biology major and a columnist for the Daily 49er.

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