Earlier this year, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo giving federal prosecutors greater authority to enforce marijuana laws. The memo was intended to allow federal prosecutors in states where marijuana is legal to determine how aggressively to enforce the current federal law that prohibits it.
Under federal law, marijuana is classified as an illegal substance under the Controlled Substances Act. However, recreational marijuana use has been legalized in six states, as well as the District of Columbia.
Recently, President Donald Trump promised Colorado Senator Corey Gardner (R) that he will support congressional efforts to protect states like Colorado that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. This seemingly puts an end to a standoff between Gardner and the administration over the prospect of a federal crackdown in such states.
To say the least, we’re glad this deal didn’t go up in smoke.
Seriously though, this is great news for citizens who believe states should have the right to challenge federal power, especially in cases where citizens believe that the federal government is acting unconstitutionally.
Not only is this deal a win for fans of the Constitution, but also for taxpayers.
Our prison system is the most highly-populated in the world and billions of taxdollars are being wasted every year fighting a failed War on Drugs. To be blunt (pun 100% intended), non-violent individuals should not have their lives ruined and their families torn apart over an act that has already been legalized in several states across the nation.
Whether it’s marijuana or something else, what states want to do is ultimately up to them, as it should be. If, for example, New Jersey wants to pass bad policy in the form of a state health insurance mandate, that’s their call.
Hopefully, both the president and Sen. Gardner will hold up their ends of the bargain here and this will mark the start of a new era of federalism.