Doobie Do or Doobie Don’t?

marijuana-leaf

This is one of those topics where it’s really easy to have a knee-jerk opinion.  But then you think about it, and it gets really, really complicated.

Marijuana.

President Obama has publicly stated that he will not order his minions to pursue charges against those providing medical marijuana, and there are those who are up in arms about it.

So here’s the question:  Should the government be prosecuting people for selling/using marijuana, if it is legal in that state (such as California, which has a “medical marijuana” law)

My first reaction was yes, they should be prosecuting because marijuana is a federally banned substance.

Immediately on the heels of that reaction, the other half of my brain said, ‘what about State’s Rights?  Don’t you think that the Feds are overstepping their bounds by banning substances that states have deemed legal?’ to which my answer is yes, so maybe they shouldn’t be prosecuting.

But then I think, well, there are some times when it’s appropriate to have an overarching law that encompasses all the states.  Murder, for example, is a federal crime, and should be punished regardless of whether it’s a state law or not.

I think the problem I have with this whole situation is as follows:  Why are there laws that we have no intention of prosecuting?  If President Obama wishes for medical marijuana to be legal, then he should campaign for an adjustment  to the law – and I’m sure there are plenty of CA representatives who would propose it – that states something like, “marijuana is legal and regulated for medicinal purposes only.  All others will be subject to existing laws.”  (written, of course, in politi-speak, with appropriate loopholes for Congress and their families)  I have the same problem with a lot of other laws, too… illegal immigration, prostitution and polygamy, to name a few.  If it’s illegal, it should be prosecuted.  If it’s too expensive to prosecute, the law should be examined and changed so that it’s enforceable.  And if it’s “not enforceable”, then don’t make it a law in the first place.

And now that I’ve said all this, I still don’t really know where I stand on the issue.

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7 Responses to Doobie Do or Doobie Don’t?

  1. mssc54 says:

    Unless you are talking about the IRS laws I think you would be hard pressed to find any law that is exclussive to the Federal Government. Murder is illegal across the board.

    I think it all comes down to states’ rights. Constitutionally speaking states have the right to self govern without the federal government screwing things up. But then we would have to use the Constitution for something more than….

    If the citizens of California want to legalize marijuana that’s their right. If Maine wants to legalize same sex marriages, that’s their right.

    Here in the state of South Carolina there is still a law on the books that says a husband can beat his wife on the steps of the Court House at noon on Sundays. I’ll bet if you Google “stupid laws” you would see a bunch of crazy stuff.

  2. SKL says:

    Well, I don’t know much about the laws about MJ or how such a substance would be regulated. I do know there are Federal agencies, e.g., FDA, ATF, that regulate drugs, tobacco, alcohol, etc. So I guess there is precedent for federal regulation of stuff like MJ.

    I do like the idea of states’ rights, but the feds have overreached that so much, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to it. I also think there are some things that need to be national, mainly because of the ease with which bad stuff can cross state lines. Like kidnaping, child sex trafficking, and yes, the drug trade.

    Now if the feds did decide MJ was not their business, how many additional states would legalize it? Don’t you think there are some states that are not legalizing it only because they don’t want to fight with the feds about it? I could see my state legalizing it across the board (bunch of liberals in power right now). And if my state legalized pot, it would be very easy for me to sell it into the five neighboring states. Should those states have to create a whole border control program to keep my pot out? I don’t think so.

    And I don’t think limiting the license to “medical pot” is going to cut it. Pot is pot. Plus, you know that as soon as everyone gives in on “medical pot,” there will be a push to expand it to “psychological relief pot” and “adult recreational pot except on Sundays” and eventually the only people not smoking it legally will be the ones not trying to smoke it illegally now.

    Furthermore, I think that if MJ is going to be eliminated from the substances that the feds regulate, based on some standard or other, then that same standard should be applied to re-evaluate every other substance that the feds currently regulate. If not, I can only conclude that Obama is doing this to appease some group of voters or to reward some political ally.

    What I’d really like to know is, if Obama “believes” in state rights on medical MJ, how can he be pushing for federal control over any other aspect of health care? (Maybe MJ is what he’s going to give the grannies instead of medical care – hey, now that’s brilliant.)

  3. Joy says:

    My personal opinion is that I think it should be legal. I’m not sure how it would work though if it were legal on a state by state basis. I think like SKL mentioned, it would be pretty hard to keep other people from coming to your state to buy it. It would be almost impossible to maintain.

    It may be my age, I’m not sure but I just can’t see what pot hurts OTHER than the fact that it’s illegal. I know MANY people who I’d much rather see smoking that than drinking. I think drinking causes many more problems than pot does. Think of the money the state could earn on the “sin” tax of pot.

    There are a lot of laws that need to be redone or rethought. So many of them are too hard to prosecute and then I think we (they) have just given up such as the illegal citizens we have in this country. I know my dad winters in AZ and he maintains it would be impossible to arrest all of the illegals down there and in CA. So what happens is the law enforcement people have just given up on it because it’s like emptying the ocean with a teaspoon. When you don’t know where to start, it’s hard to jump in and do anything so it tends to get overlooked.

    I don’t know the answer here. Does anyone???

  4. Just a Mom says:

    I don’t know where I stand on this issue either. In the perfect world I would like to see States Rights come first but we all know this world is not perfect!

  5. nikki says:

    I think it should be legal…and one day it will be all over. The government would be stupid to not just legalize it. In California alone there is a potential tax gain of $1billion yearly. For a state that has a $24 billion deficit it would slowly chip a way at that. This would in turn raise the cost of the buyer. I’m betting they would be okay with that if they weren’t going to get into trouble. Pay the price for the legalization. People pay taxes on cigarette…beer…ect…or the seller be retired to pay a fairly hefty license fee to sell…or both!
    Something else one might consider is IF it were legalized could there be restrictions on potency? IDK how they would regulate that though. I know a lot of people on this issue are afraid addiction rates will rise although pot addiction is not nearly as destructive as, say, abuse of alcohol.
    I do think it should be legalized but legalization should include careful planning for how those who are most vulnerable to harm from marijuana use, children and adolescents, can be protected.

    • nikki says:

      oh as for the actual question IDK…a lot of laws are too general and need to be reevaluated and reimplemented to fit todays issues. I tend to think states rights should be respected. I just don’t know though!! Great topic!!

  6. SKL says:

    I have to respond to all the comments that MJ should be legal and taxed. While it’s not as dangerous as, say, driving drunk, it’s still very problematic. It causes all the same health problems as cigarettes with a lot fewer “joints,” and in addition, it saps motivation. The last thing this country needs is a bunch more people who don’t give a hoot about their tomorrow or their kids’ or much of anything else. Plus you can’t really regulate the content / potency when people grow the stuff in their backyards.

    If we don’t want to regulate MJ because it’s not immediately devastating, then why do we regulate any drugs? Why are steroids, oxycontin, and cocaine bad?

    The tax argument doesn’t sit well with me. First of all, it’s another regressive tax, meaning the people paying it will be predominantly those who have the least means. Secondly, taxing something doesn’t make it more moral, in my opinion. Things we tax, like gambling, cigarettes, alcohol, etc., still ruin lives.

    I also believe that legalizing pot will increase the number o people who smoke it. There is still a large % of people who don’t do things because they are illegal. When they legalized abortion, nobody imagined how many more unwanted pregnancies and abortions would occur thereafter – to the point where one in four babies conceived in the US is aborted (or whatever the latest figure is). It sounds logical to argue that legalizing it won’t have much social effect, but I don’t believe it.

    So I would hope that even with state rights, the voters would choose not to legalize it. But unfortunately, I’m afraid some states (maybe many) would do so.

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