Federal government needs to let states decide on drugs

By Chris Hoitash (11/11/12 7:49pm)

So, who wants some legal weed and a political science debate?

The November elections are over, but the aftershocks shall permeate the political sphere for some time. A new dilemma has formed from the elections, and the answer isn’t as clear to the powers that be as it needs to be.

A Nov. 8 Huffington Post article states, “America’s war on drugs got a lot more interesting Tuesday night when Colorado and Washington voted to legalize marijuana. Legalization advocates were quick to call the two measures ‘the beginning of the end’ of marijuana prohibition in the United States.”

While the two states have gotten most of the pro-weed related press, they’re not the only area fighting back against the buzzkilling horde of suit wearing buzzkillers. Ypsilanti and several other cities recently passed new laws that essentially have the police not running around looking for pot in every blue jean-wearing college student they see, which is a shame because I enjoyed having the excuse to not wear blue jeans. Unfortunately, the issue isn’t so clear-cut.

The problem is a little thing called the U.S. Constitution. You see, America is a federal republic, based on the idea of state sovereignty coinciding with federal power. That’s just a fancy way of saying states have more autonomy than you’d normally expect.

While all federal laws apply to all states, the states themselves have some control over what is legal and illegal in their own borders. For example, it is illegal to have a soul and reside in Alaska.

Anyway, marijuana is illegal under federal law, which supersedes state law in this instance. So, regardless of the state laws, it’s still illegal to own pot, because it’s a federal crime, like cheating on your taxes or plotting to take over Canada for your bear fur industry.

The time has come for the states to take drug laws into their own hands. They must be unshackled from the federal power to deem for themselves what drugs they do and do not want. Only then can states freely choose whether or not to make marijuana use legal. Only then will Florida be free to blow itself up with its million meth labs.

The war on drugs has entered a new theater of war: federalism. The very sovereignty of the states is at stake. The federal government needs to yield anti-drug legislation to the individual states. It is time for the people to decide for themselves if they want the right to toke.

A new era is dawning in the War on Drugs. Whether this election has sparked its demise, or merely its shift from one theater to the next, the government’s next move is clear. This nation, this Union, must have its state’s rights respected, for are we or are we not a federal republic?

Originally Published: 11/11/12 7:49pm

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