Tags: Marijuana Legalization | marijuana | legal | states | federal | laws

Clamor Over Legal Marijuana May Force Feds to Act

By    |   Monday, 12 Jan 2015 07:20 AM

Current federal policy that allows states to make their own decisions about recreational and medical marijuana is coming under pressure, with demands rising that the Obama administration, the Supreme Court or Congress set guidelines that would apply nationwide, Politico reported.

Marijuana is legal in Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon. The District of Columbia voted to legalize pot but some Republicans like Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland want Congress to block the decision.

Another eight states —Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada, along with Missouri, Montana and Florida — are all leaning in the legalization direction.

Meanwhile, Nebraska and Oklahoma say that Colorado's tolerant marijuana policies are having a spillover effect on them. They have filed a request for the Supreme Court to intervene.

There is also the practical matter of moving legal marijuana across states where it is illegal.

Those against pot legalization would like to see federal marijuana laws enforced.

Proponents want federal marijuana laws revamped to take pot off the list of controlled substances, which includes heroin.

There has been no great desire at the White House or on Capitol Hill to get involved.

Now, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the incoming Senate Judiciary chairman, says the impact of Colorado's policies beyond its borders can no longer be disregarded by the federal government.

He is expected to press attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch to say whether she will continue her predecessor's hands-off approach.

The issue has risen from "slow burn to a hot, cauldron bubble," Ohio State University law professor Douglas Berman told Politico. "I think the next six months to a year is a time that Congress needs to do something relatively big."

The Republican base may favor a prohibitory line on pot but polls show that a majority of Americans favor marijuana legalization. Most don't want federal laws enforced and younger voters, in particular, oppose leaving pot criminalized, according to Politico.

Samford University law professor Brannon Denning argues that the Constitution recognizes "that having states go their own ways is not necessarily an unalloyed good." There are cases when "a single, national rule governing conduct in all 50 states" makes sense, he told Politico.

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Current federal policy that allows states to make their own decisions about recreational and medical marijuana is coming under pressure, with demands rising that the Obama administration, the Supreme Court or Congress set guidelines that would apply nationwide, Politico reports.
marijuana, legal, states, federal, laws
359
2015-20-12
Monday, 12 Jan 2015 07:20 AM
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