The two diverging paths of marijuana / by kevin murray

There are multiple worlds for marijuana and its use, depending upon the State that you reside in.  For instance, there is the onslaught of marijuana being available for medical purposes in which prescriptions for its usage are handed out like candy, there are two States that have legalized marijuana (Washington and Colorado), additionally we have the ongoing decriminalization of marijuana in other States, and for those States that still criminalize marijuana usage a jury of their peers are becoming more and more reluctant to convict marijuana users despite clear evidence of their guilt in a court of law, which effectively negates laws against marijuana usage in those States that have not liberalized their laws.  However, despite our Constitutional Amendment that gives rights not accorded to the Federal Government to the people or to the State, respectively, the history of America over the last half-century is clearly a history of the Federal Government dominating and asserting itself into the peoples’ and State rights. 


Because of the Federal Government’s power and Federal judiciary that often aids and abets this power, States that have liberalized their marijuana laws face the fear and are subject to the Damocles sword that the Federal Government represents.    There is no doubt that a collision course is in process between the States and the Federal Government and the sooner that this is dealt with and it is resolved the clearer the path will be.


I, for one, am at a lost as to how marijuana stores in Colorado and Washington are even able to operate in good faith, when it would appear that they are in danger of being dealt out of business by the Federal Government at any moment.  For instance, banks which are heavily regulated will not readily accept the transactions of these businesses, which means therefore that these marijuana stores do all their sales in cash and consequently have to deal with the inconveniences of having a lot of cash on their premises that needs to be secured on a day-to-day level.


The Federal Government does not seem to comprehend that a legal business will essentially drive out the illegal business of marijuana sales, even if the legal price of marijuana is substantially higher than the illegal one.  We can somewhat judge the validity of this statement by taking a look at alcohol sales and activities during prohibition in which the illegal distilling and distribution of alcoholic goods is virtually non-existent at this point.  People, for the most part, are willing to pay a premium to be both on the right side of the law and to rest assured that the goods that they are procuring meet a certain particular standard.


Nothing about the popularity or the prevalence of marijuana should come as a surprise to the Federal Government and simply issuing an edict that the Feds will not stand in the way of the States when it comes to this issue would be all the clarity that the States would need, yet the Federal Government is reluctant to legislate this issue once and for all.  It is not for me to judge whether marijuana is any better or worse than alcohol, suffice to say, they are not the same thing.  What is clearly apparent, though, is that even for those folks that don’t smoke marijuana, or don’t believe that marijuana has any real positive value and the like, aren’t exactly clamoring for the continuing criminalization of marijuana,


The battle for the hearts and minds of America in reference to marijuana is over, the Federal Government has it wrong, the people have spoken, let the people in each State therefore make their choice, as that should be their prerogative.