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State Lawmakers Want Congress to Back Down on Marijuana Laws

Photo By Taylor Kent

Politics

State Lawmakers Want Congress to Back Down on Marijuana Laws

State lawmakers have an important message for Congress: Stay out of our business when it comes to marijuana laws.

Last week, the National Conference of State Legislatures approved a resolution demanding the federal government amend the Controlled Substances Act to “allow states to set their own marijuana and hemp policies without federal interference.”

In addition, despite members having different opinions over how marijuana policies should be handled, the resolution suggests that, “states and localities should be able to set whatever marijuana and hemp policies work best to improve the public safety, health, and economic development of their communities.”

State lawmakers from all across the country gathered in Seattle on Thursday, passing the resolution in a voice vote of 75 percent of the attending jurisdictions.

Marijuana advocacy groups have since come forward to commend the NCSL for their dedication to reforming federal policies that continue to bind the cannabis plant.

“State lawmakers just sent a message to Congress that could not be any clearer,” Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement. “It’s time to end the federal prohibition of marijuana and let the states decide what policies work best for them.”

Although more than have of the nation has legalized marijuana for either medicinal or recreational use, the federal government still remains committed to causing trouble in states that have passed cannabis-friendly laws. Last year, the Obama Administration announced that it was taking a “hands off approach” to jurisdictions with marijuana laws in place, but recent statistics show the Department of Justice is still spending in upwards of $80 million per year to harass the medical marijuana community.

The inconsistencies are frustrating, especially considering that some of the latest polls reveal that the majority of the population believes that states should have the final say in determining their marijuana laws. In 2014, Third Way published a report that found 67 percent of the population support the concept of Congress passing a bill that makes legal marijuana states a “safe haven” from federal marijuana laws. What’s more is 60 percent of those surveyed said that state governments should prevail over federal enforcement.

The NCSL is scheduled to meet again in October to cast an official vote on the resolution.

Should Congress declare a cease fire in the War on Drugs? Tell us what you think.

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Roy

    August 14, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    I think if you are 21 or older you should be able to consume it same as alcohol or tobacco after all its less harmful than either of those. Legalize for recreational and medicinal, North Carolina.

  2. Justin

    August 12, 2015 at 1:36 am

    I’m from Wisconsin and I have epilepsy and marijuana helps with my seizures. I went from having anywhere from 5-10 seizures a day to none, the only drawback is that it’s still illegal here but I can buy any kind of marijuana product I want cause it’s everywhere in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

  3. courtney

    August 11, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    Yes I believe NC should legalize medical and recreational

  4. roger

    August 11, 2015 at 10:54 am

    It should be legal. What I am wondering though is who spell checks these articles? Am I the only one noticing errors?

  5. James Saddler

    August 11, 2015 at 8:23 am

    Absolutely! Billions upon billions have been spent on fighting the public’s right to have marijuana. Repeal Schedule 1 and think of the money that could be redistributed to real issues.

    • joel

      August 11, 2015 at 11:50 am

      yes legalize the war on drugs is a complete failure

  6. Miguel Laboy

    August 11, 2015 at 2:49 am

    Yes, Legalize.

  7. robin

    August 11, 2015 at 12:32 am

    If California were serious about conservation, it wouldn’t be cracking down on homeowners washing their stupid cars—it would be closing down things like golf courses, of which there are nearly a thousand. When more than half the state is categorized as suffering the most severe form of drought, when groundwater reserves are being tapped to such an extent that it may actually cause earthquakes, old rich white men should not be driving little carts around on beautifully manicured green lawns in the middle of a fucking desert.

    According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “[T]he average American family of four uses 400 gallons of water per day.” The average golf course uses 312,000 gallons of water, according to Audobon International, meaning each one uses as much water as 780 families of four. In Palm Springs—immediately adjacent to a place called Palm Desert—NPR reported that each of the city’s 57 courses use about a million gallons a day, or about the same as 2,500 families of four.

    Looking statewide, the numbers really get fun. California is second only to Florida in the number of golf courses it has: 921. Together, those courses use as much water as 2.8 million people, or about 7 percent of the state’s population. While middle-class homeowners risk fines for watering their lawns, millions upon millions of gallons of water are wasted every day on a boring leisure sport for the wealthy.

    “Golf courses are a huge problem,” said Adam Keats of the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental advocacy group. And part of that huge problem is the people who play it. “They’re a wealthy elite that have no connection to want or lack,” Keats, head of the center’s California Water Law Project, told me over the phone. “Golfers live in a world of excess.”

    Even amid a record drought, the affluent expect their world to persist as it always did. Cutting back is for the poor, just as “austerity” meant slashing social programs, not CEO salaries. But compared to me, Keats is a moderate: he thinks California can keep its golf courses, but only if they start looking like they are actually in California.

    “It’s irresponsible for golf courses to be as green as they are in California,” said Keats. Instead of dark green fairways, “we could have California brownways, with rock and with dirt and with scrub—the kind of vegetation that naturally grows here. We’re not in Scotland. Why are we pretending that we are?”

    • Chico916

      August 11, 2015 at 10:58 pm

      Tiger woods is not an old white man. It’s disappointing that you generalize and lump all golfers as rich old white men. Just in case you didn’t know woman and minorities can play golf to. If you want to complain that golf courses waste water I can accept that, but not your comments on rich old white men.

  8. KatinKa Edger

    August 10, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    It should have been legal 30 years ago due to the new medicinal findings concerning epileptic patients, cancer patients, glaucoma patients as well as other, furthur and indifferent diseases and conditions as well as some disorders. It would also aid the schools, upkeep of the infro structure, (ie) bridges, roads,as well as being able to fund disability, Medicare, Medicaid at state level. It also reduces global warming.

  9. Dusty

    August 10, 2015 at 9:57 pm

    Should be legal in Oklahoma for recreational and medicinal use

  10. Dusty

    August 10, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    It should be legal in Oklahoma for medicinal and recreational use thank you

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