Let states decide marijuana legalization
Published: Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 01:02
Lawmakers are working on several bills to bring to Congress, which would rework the way our country approaches marijuana. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and Jared Polis, D-Colo., plan on introducing these bills today.
One measure would remove marijuana from the Drug Enforcement Administration, and instead reclassify it under the “newly renamed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Marijuana and Firearms,” according to a Huffington Post article on Feb. 4. Marijuana would be treated similarly to how the federal government treats alcohol.
In this case, growers would have to obtain a federal permit to grow. It would, also, be illegal to transport marijuana to a state where it is not legal. Put in other words, if you go to Washington for a long weekend, then smuggle leftover greens back across state lines, you could be in for a world of heat.
Our neighbor to the north, and Colorado, legalized the possession of no more than an ounce of marijuana for adults over 21 last November. The federal government, however, still classifies marijuana as an illegal drug.
Technically, it is within the federal government’s boundaries to interfere and arrest those using the drug.
A recent Reason-Rupe poll found that 72 percent of Americans believe, if a state legalizes marijuana, the federal government should not arrest the user in that state. Likewise, 68 percent believe growers in a state that has legalized marijuana should not be arrested, and 64 percent believe sellers should not be arrested by the federal government.
The key here is, as long as you are within the state where marijuana is legal, the majority of Americans think the federal government should not intervene. We agree with the majority of Americans.
We believe a state should have the power to legalize marijuana, and the federal government should recognize the state’s right to do so. Ideally, the federal government will recognize that marijuana needs to be reclassified and removed from the category of a Schedule I drug.
As recognized by the United States, the Drug Enforcement Administration classifies marijuana with drugs like heroin, LSD and ecstasy. Schedule I drugs “have no currently accepted medical use in the United States,” and have “a high potential for abuse,” according the DEA webpage.
With marijuana legal in Washington and Colorado, and the growing marijuana movement in Oregon, California and Maine, it will be interesting to see how the federal government reacts. Should the federal government stick its nose in the state’s business regarding marijuana? Should marijuana be reclassified and dealt with like alcohol? Let us know what you think in a letter to the editor.
Editorials serve as means for Barometer editors to offer commentary and opinions on issues both global and local, grand in scale or diminutive. The views expressed here are a reflection of the editorial board’s majority.