Saturday, October 16, 2010

Proposition 19: State Rights being tested

California is at it again. Proposition 19 – Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act – is on the ballot for November. "Attorney General Eric Holder said the Obama administration 'strongly opposes' a California ballot measure to legalize marijuana, warning that federal drug-enforcement efforts would be 'greatly complicated' if the measure passes" (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704300604575554261952309990.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_sections_news). Putting aside the issue of marijuana as a control substance, a bigger issue is at hand. The issue is State Rights vs. Federal powers. Personally, I do not see why a state could not pass a law that would legalize marijuana.

America has spent trillions on fighting the drug trade. Not to say that is a reason to legalize it but those that I know that use marijuana are not a threat to society no more than the person getting behind the wheel that has been drinking. Then again I don't want to get bogged down in a conversation on the substance control aspect of marijuana. This is similar to the same sex marriage debate. If a group of people, as in California, want to legalize marijuana and are not going to sell it or advertise the sale of it outside of the state does the Federal government have jurisdiction? Does the Supremacy Clause apply? Is this an example of State Rights vs. enumerated powers to the federal government?