Though states are legalizing medical and recreational cannabis left and right in the US, with 23 states legally recommending medical marijuana, 4 states plus D.C. doing rec and medical, and 12 more expected to appear on the ballot in the next two years, the truth is that it all only flies as long as the big dogs in the White House say it flies.
Marijuana is still a controlled substance, which means doctors and caregivers and cancer patients alike can have the DEA or other federal agencies reign down on them whenever they feel like it. The good news is, lately, they haven’t been feeling like it. Obama and the new DEA chief have both made marijuana the lowest of priorities in the drug war. States can keep on playing house until mom and dad call them in for dinner.
After the 2016 presidential elections, a new mom and dad are going to take over the White House, and they can call an end to playtime whenever they feel like it. If that new parental guardian happens to use more red ink than blue in their campaign posters (like say Chris Christie or the poll-leading anti-legalization advocate Mr. Trump), it’s likely to come to an end just about immediately.
And all those states’ marijuana bills and amendments to those bills and amendments to those amendments to make marijuana safe and easy to access for the people who need it won’t be worth the paper they’re drafted on. One solution to this problem is federal legalization. Some are trying to get this done, but that landmark is probably a long way off. Another tactic that states are trying is just to make majority support for legalized marijuana so apparent that the federal government would look like clowns trying to shut it down.
That’s exactly what a new policy statement passed at the annual National Conference of State Legislatures in Seattle last week aimed to do. The statement, which was signed by a bi-partisan committee representing 49 of our union’s states. The statement isn’t a law, it’s not a mandate, and it’s not an amendment. It’s a ratified statement that asks the federal government to just let states govern themselves when it comes to marijuana.
The resolution targeted the federal Controlled Substances Act in particular, saying the legislation should be amended to “explicitly allow states to set their own marijuana and hemp policies without federal interference and urges the administration not to undermine state marijuana and hemp policies.”
The ratified statement was both endorsed and then published by the Marijuana Policy Project, a lobbyist organization that’s obviously doing a pretty rad job of pointing lawmakers toward cannabis legalization so far