States don’t get to ignore federal laws on marijuana
The marijuana industry and its allies reacted predictably after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed an Obama administration policy that looked the other way in states that legalized pot.
They claimed states’ rights. They insisted they were too big to be shut down. They sounded like the out-of-control residents of a town when the sheriff returns from a long vacation.
Sessions did the right thing. Marijuana is illegal under federal law. States don’t get to decide which federal laws to ignore.
If you don’t like a federal law, change it through Congress. That’s the proper place for debate, with each side presenting arguments, evidence and statistics. That’s where marijuana’s proponents should have gone.
Instead, they bypassed Congress and went state by state, pitching myths, half-truths and the promise of great riches to cash-starved governments.
Proponents first extolled the “medical” benefits of marijuana. They convinced voters to bypass the Food and Drug Administration, substituting popular vote for research, clinical trials and science. They downplayed the harmful health effects and never mentioned that FDA-approved medical marijuana for cancer patients is already legally available in nabilone pills.
Ads showing seniors toking to relieve the effects of chemotherapy tugged at heartstrings. Yet in Arizona, fewer than 3 percent of marijuana cardholders have cancer. Statistics suggest “medical” marijuana is a ruse for recreational pot: Cardholders are predominantly male, one-fourth are under 30 and 83 percent use it to relieve self-defined “chronic pain.”
Once medical marijuana gained a foothold, arguments to make marijuana legal for all quickly followed. It was a roll of the dice that paid off for a few industry insiders, who got very rich.
Now that gamble is coming back to haunt them. For more Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy