States’ Rights: Marijuana Becomes A Front Line Struggle
Graphic: MGN Online
The country’s drug laws are currently getting closely examined.
Two states have already given the go-ahead to recreational marijuana with many more allowing medical marijuana.
Now two federal bills – HB499 and HB501 – seek to turn over drug enforcement to the states and tax legal marijuana.
When it comes to states’ rights, Representative Mo Brooks (R-District 5) doesn’t mince words, “It used to be in the early days that the primary source of government was from your state legislature and your governor, and of course, that is no longer the case. It seems that the federal government has dipped its fingers into most every aspect of our lives.”
Marijuana has found itself on the frontlines of the battle between states and the federal government.
Washington spends big bucks raiding and prosecuting business that follow state marijuana laws.
Here the lines on states rights versus federal power becomes – well – a little blurry.
Rep. Brooks says, “To me drug enforcement to a very large degree is a states’ rights issue. Unfortunately, however, because drugs can be so easily transported across state lines from a state that is permissive to a state that is not, that does suggest that there ought to be some federal government involvement.”
The pot issue remains fuzzy for Brooks, “I personally have not decided exactly where that line ought to be between state drug enforcement and federal drug enforcement.”
Congressman Brooks says he’s still looking for facts and input, “I haven’t studied this particular issue well enough, nor have I had sufficient input from the people I represent to make a hard and fast decision one way or another.”
We also reached out to Senators Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL).
Senator Shelby did not address our specific questions on states’ rights, but his office says he believes “laws deeming marijuana illegal are the correct policy.”
Senator Session’s office did not respond at all.