The Federal Government Stands Firm On The Marijuana Question
As expected, the Federal Government has reaffirmed their stand on the Marijuana legalization. Recently the voters in the states of Washington and Colorado approved the legalization that will decriminalize the recreational use of Marijuana. The state laws on Marijuana have prompted the Obama Administration to clarify the issue.
The lawmakers in Washington recently passed the I-502 legislation as approved by the citizens, making the possession of Marijuana up to an ounce legal for all above the age of 21. Similarly, the Amendment 64 was passed in Colorado making the recreational use of Cannabis legal.
The Federal Government’s position
The Obama Administration reminded both Washington and Colorado states that the use of Marijuana is a criminal offense under the federal laws. The Marijuana remains classified as a Schedule 1 drug alongside Heroin and Cocaine.
As per the Federal laws, the possession of Marijuana will get you a year in prison and a 1000$ fine. Repeating the offense will lead to three years behind bars and a fine of 5000$. The Obama administration refuses to accept even the medical benefits of Marijuana.
Many experts have long argued for the legalization of medical Marijuana in the United States. However, the Federal government has always opposed any moves to change the law citing the potential for abuse.
The lawmakers in Colorado and Washington in a bind
The federal government’s stand has put the lawmakers in both Washington and Colorado in a bind. According to them, they passed the law respecting the wishes of the voters. They were expecting the very predictable reaction from the Federal government. However, there was some hope that the federal government will at least hear the voices of the citizens in these states.
The federal officials can continue to crack down on Marijuana growers and users citing the federal laws. In fact, this is already happening in many states, especially in California where the medical use of Marijuana is legal with a doctor’s prescription. Many Californians have been arrested and prosecuted under the federal laws for growing, distributing or possessing Marijuana.
The Federal Government should listen to the voters and let the state governments decide on the issue of Marijuana. The Obama Administration should put a stop to all the Federal Task Force operations in the states where the laws on Marijuana allows its use.
The citizens of Washington and Colorado are disappointed at the Federal Government’s decision. The Obama Administration has lost an important opportunity to put in place a more nuanced legislation that accommodates the wishes of voters in these states.