Legalized Marijuana: A Modern-Day States Rights Issue
The current debate over legalized marijuana could be described as a modern-day states rights issue. States rights are those rights that are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution to be rights that are solely within the purview of the various states. These state rights are guaranteed by the 10th amendment, of the U.S. Constitution.
This being said, why is the debate about legalized marijuana such a hot issue for discussion, especially for certain federal officials like Jeff Sessions? The reason is that Jeff Sessions has gone out of his way to try to enforce his position, which he regards as the federal position, against legalized marijuana. Sessions also have made no secret he believes that marijuana is a “gateway drug“; a mistaken concept that has never been proven by medical experts. However, despite this, Sessions uses this as a justification for federal intervention by the Department of Justice in trying to stop states from legalizing marijuana; something which they have no way to do.
The debate over states rights has always been a hotly contested issue between the Federal government and state governments. A states rights issue, the issue of slavery, was a primary cause of the Civil War. However, this must be viewed as an extreme case and one where states rights did not apply. Clearly, slavery was an issue that the federal government had jurisdiction over, and was therefore justified in trying to control and/or abolish.
The attempt by Jeff Sessions to try to stop states from legalizing marijuana goes against the 10th amendment because the right to legalize marijuana is not listed under the laws that the federal government has jurisdiction. Therefore, the various states (now five I believe) have every right to legalized marijuana because it is clearly not a federal issue, even though the biggest hypocrite in Washington, Jeff Sessions, says it is.
I say it is more likely that Jeff Sessions, and others, say that legalized marijuana is not a states rights issue and the federal government has a right to intervene in this issue because it so happens that the states that have legalized marijuana are states that did not support Donald Trump is his quest for the presidency.
By trying to enforce federal law, Jeff Sessions is just trying to prove himself to be a faithful lap-dog of Donald Trump; a position which the Trump administration now doubts because Sessions recused himself from the investigation about the Trump campaign collusion with Russia to fix the election in favor of Trump. Opposing legalized marijuana has become a political football Jeff Sessions hopes to use to reassert his loyalty at everyone else’s expense.