How States Could Win The War Over Marijuana
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How States Could Win The War Over Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on July 22, 2009 at 15:33:15 PT
By Amy Wolf
Source: Vanderbilt University
USA -- Even though it’s against federal law to grow, sell or possess marijuana, 13 states have recently legalized medical use of the drug. Now California is contemplating taking the next step – legalizing marijuana outright – in the hope that taxing marijuana sales could help ease the state’s latest budget crisis. Vanderbilt University Law School professor Robert Mikos, an expert on federalism issues, examined the conflict between state and federal drug laws in a new paper, “Legalizing Federal Crime: The Example of State Medical Marijuana Laws.” Mikos argues that states wield far more power over the nation’s drug policy than most recognize.
“States are under no obligation to ban drugs like marijuana, even if the federal government does so. They just can’t facilitate drug use or obstruct federal agents who are enforcing the federal ban. For example, states can refuse to arrest or punish people who sell marijuana, but they can’t distribute the drug directly,” said Mikos. According to Mikos, lifting state prohibitions on marijuana could have a significant impact on drug use, even if the federal ban stands. Mikos estimates that as many as 400,000 people are now participating in state medical marijuana programs, in spite of the federal ban.   “Compared to the states, the federal government has very limited law enforcement capacity. It can only track down and prosecute a tiny fraction of all marijuana violations, so most people aren’t going to be deterred by federal sanctions.”Mikos suggests that by legalizing medical use of marijuana, states may have actually helped re-shape public attitudes toward the drug.   “The use of marijuana may seem more beneficial and less dangerous or wicked simply because it’s now permitted by state law.”   Mikos says that federal drug authorities are clearly troubled by the signal they believe is being sent by state medical marijuana laws. In fact, over the past decade, the federal government has spent nearly $1.5 billion trying to convince citizens that marijuana is a dangerous and destructive drug. Mikos warns that the federal ban may have a counter-productive and undesirable effect on state policy. “The federal ban makes it difficult for states to supervise marijuana, for example, to make sure that only qualified patients use the drug,” said Mikos. “State supervision creates a paper trail that federal law enforcement authorities could use to track down and punish marijuana users and suppliers.” As a result, some states do not monitor users, physicians, or suppliers to ensure they comply with state regulations. “The lack of supervision invites abuse,” Mikos said. “But this is a price some states seem willing to pay to shield legitimate users and suppliers from federal authorities.”A similar problem could frustrate state efforts to collect taxes on marijuana sales. One member of California’s Board of Equalization has suggested that California could collect over $1.3 billion in new tax revenue by legalizing and taxing marijuana. However, Mikos suggests this estimate is “overly optimistic.”“As long as the federal ban remains in place, marijuana dealers have an incentive to operate in the shadows, out of the reach of both federal law enforcement agents and state tax collectors.” The Obama administration recently suggested that the federal government won’t prosecute medical marijuana distributors that comply with state law. According to Mikos, the announcement merely acknowledged what was already clear, that “the states have won the war over medical marijuana policy.” However, Mikos said the change in policy could have one important ramification, “States that haven’t been particularly rigorous about supervising medical marijuana in terms of requiring users to register, inspecting grow houses, and so on, will now start to do that because there’s less of a risk that the paper trail they create is going to be followed by federal law enforcement agents.” In addition to medical marijuana, Mikos said there are several other issues that pit restrictive federal laws against permissive state legislation, including sports-related gambling, late-term abortion and various gun laws. He suggests that state lawmakers may have more room to maneuver on each of these issues than is currently recognized. Complete Title: Legalizing a Federal Crime: How States Could Win The War Over MarijuanaSource: Vanderbilt University (TN)Author: Amy WolfPublished: Wednesday, July 22, 2009Contact: amy.wolf vanderbilt.eduWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on July 26, 2009 at 08:32:49 PT
Another Off Topic Comment
We know we need prison reform. We know that we need to find a balance between police and those they police. The fear of police is understandable. Maybe this could be a great step forward and maybe Gates and Crowley could do some town hall meetings and let it be the beginning of a new understanding. That's all.Is the Gates/Crowley Affair a 'Teachable Moment?'
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Comment #19 posted by FoM on July 26, 2009 at 05:14:23 PT
OT: Just a Really Good Story
We are so darn lucky to finally have a reasonable President.Hello, Sgt. Crowley, It's The President CallingURL:
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on July 26, 2009 at 04:57:40 PT
ekim and greenmed
We have come so far in these past 10 years. We finally have a President that is reasonable and more interested in the people then how it's been for so darn long. CNews has grown and it is a mature group of people that are willing to plod along and value every step of the way. One thing that is gone is fear for me. I am not afraid of this new administration and I have a great deal of respect for the change in the direction we are going. Change will continue to be in small steps and I will rejoice with every small step we make. Someday marijuana will be legal but not for many years. Hemp could be accepted even before marijuana. That's just my opinion though and I could be wrong. I am seriously offended when hate rears it's ugly head. We are intelligent, compassionate and caring people and that is what I want this administration to see when they check out CNews. 
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Comment #17 posted by greenmed on July 25, 2009 at 23:17:41 PT
I agree with you. It is good to put things in perspective.It is amazing how far we have come in the past ten years and how much more commonplace hemp is today. Store shelves are filled with hemp-based products - in my fridge there is hemp granola and a bottle of hemp seed oil, and in the shower, hemp-based hair products (this is anecdotal, but... there is less hair on the drain since switching a few years ago). I noticed the other day another prominently labeled hemp breakfast cereal in the health-foods aisle of a mainstream supermarket here in the generally conservative Commonweal' of Virginia. No one even bats an eyelid when I pull out my hempen billfold with the HEMP label attached.It is such ridiculous folly that cannabis hemp may not yet be cultivated here in the U.S. and must be imported, thereby depriving the economy of a source of industry and much-needed jobs. I am optimistic as I know are many of our fellow C-NEWSers that common sense will prevail and that cannabis farming will once again take its rightful place in American agriculture. It is too important a plant to keep suppressed. In so many ways, as indeed we have learned from each other.
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Comment #16 posted by ekim on July 25, 2009 at 20:16:02 PT
unite hempsters and reformers alike
dont be scared stay together/
look at the last 10 years and think how we have come to know each other.we want the same plant to grow for the good of all.Pubdate July 24, 1999 James, a DEA agent in San Francisco, "hemp is marijuana." activist Woody Harrelson's latest hemp cause has apparently gone up in smoke. 
The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled today that the former Cheers barkeep and cultivation-friendly film star must stand trial for marijuana possession, following his well-publicized arrest for planting four hemp seeds in 1996. jury acquitted actor Woody Harrelson of misdemeanor marijuana possession charges Thursday, ending his four-year court battle to get the state to differentiate between hemp and marijuana. Harrelson planted four hemp seeds in 1996, knowing he would be arrested, so he could challenge a law outlawing possession of any part of the cannabis plant. The jurors deliberated about 25 minutes before finding him innocent October 9, 2001, without public notice or opportunity for comment, the DEA issued an interpretive rule purporting to make hemp foods containing any traces of naturally occurring tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient found in marijuana, immediately illegal under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1971. Because trace THC does not pose any potential for abuse as a drug, the U.S. Congress had exempted non-viable hemp seed and oil from control under the Controlled Substances Act.
A 2 1/2-year-old legal battle is over and the winner is hemp — the plant some confuse as having the same effects as marijuana. 
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 6 that hemp-based foods are safe for human consumption, going against the case laid out by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). 
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Comment #15 posted by Hope on July 25, 2009 at 11:59:34 PT
Storm Crow
Being able to make your own tincture to saturate the strip makes more sense.But the whole dang device... made in CHINA? Doesn't appeal to me. I prefer US made if I need something and can afford it. I've had unpleasant experiences with foreign made items that I did not appreciate at all and that made me very doubtful of their products. Very off topic stories... and very unpleasant.
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Comment #14 posted by Storm Crow on July 25, 2009 at 10:38:42 PT
I think I would prefer something "home-made". I don't trust Chinese made stuff, either (I remember that melamine business, too). However, making the strips at home would be so simple- a bit of filter paper or other carrier, some high proof alcohol and some (legal) medical cannabis. I would much prefer a "Made in USA" e cig! I see a great business opportunity for someone in the 13 "sane" states! 
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Comment #13 posted by Hope on July 25, 2009 at 10:05:36 PT
Storm Crow
Comment 11. Someday, when this prohibition ends there will easily be such small devices that actually can safely vaporize a bit of real cannabis. Knowing cannabists... I imagine there are likely many home made versions in an advanced state of development or already in use.I don't actually know this thing, that I imagine, that can actually vaporize natural cannabis in so small a device exists. But knowing what I've learned about people that enjoy cannabis, over these many, many years, many were quite imaginative, creative, inventive, and resourceful. Sometimes the cannabis... smoked, swallowed whatever... can ease a place in ones thinking that seems to allow ideas to flow. Often very good ideas.Of course, to the Calvinas and Joyces out there... I guess that's bad. You shouldn't have had those ideas. They aren't natural.Ugh.Cannabis is a gift of a plant. It can be a wonderful and very pleasant experience. Thinking that it shouldn't be acceptable is the same kind of thinking that would let everyone suffer and die from every shortcoming and illness because it's natural and ok. Suffering is ok? It makes you strong? No medicine for the diabetic? No medicine for the infected? It's evil witch craft of some sort and must not be allowed and it should be punished harshly as a message to everyone else? Right? Ugh.
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Comment #12 posted by Hope on July 25, 2009 at 09:42:07 PT
Storm Crow
Guess we'll soon see how much C-News is read by the opposition.Joyce e-mailing Calvina with alerts for things to ban. Those e cigs are fascinating. It, the e cigarette, appears to be a rather amazing device, if nothing else. I've not seen one in person... but just looking at them and hearing about them, they are fascinating. I wonder if they're something like little laser pens. A brother in law of mine has one. Apparently people love watching you "smoke" it. Instead of lowering your annoyance profile... it makes you fun to watch.They are fascinating though. I think I want one. Last time I checked on one they'd sold out all over the place. That was right after the big cig price boost here awhile back. Just the other day I read somewhere that a company in CHINA was making them and available with thc liquid to saturate the strip. Somehow. I forget how and where. I surf all over the place. But.....DUH!!! Chinese THC? Liquid THC? 100% THC liquid in bottles? Please people... don't be stupid. If it was a jip it would be bad. If it wasn't a jip and was for real it would be bad. CHINESE chemicals... anyone? Remember Heparin? Remember lead soaked toys?
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Comment #11 posted by Storm Crow on July 25, 2009 at 00:29:45 PT
"An electronic cig that dispatches nicotine electronically,"To me that sounds like this is some sort of a mini-vaporizer!
OK- What if we removed the nicotine etc. from the picture, and replace it with cannabis or cannabis oil. Tah-Dah! We now have "An electronic cig that dispatches THC electronically,"
This might turn out to be very interesting! 
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Comment #10 posted by anunlikelyally on July 24, 2009 at 03:31:42 PT:
How Thoughtful #9
FINALLY! Nic-fits can kill themselves without ruining our atmosphere. Thumbs up!
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Comment #9 posted by tintala on July 23, 2009 at 09:22:36 PT:
An electronic cig that dispatches nicotine electronically, it only causes cancer, contain carcinogens and toxic chemicals such as diethylene glycol, an ingredient used in antifreeze. these products do not contain any health warnings comparable to FDA-approved nicotine replacement products or conventional cigarettes. They are also available in different flavors, such as chocolate and mint, which may appeal to young people. WOW: who'd thunk it. And yet CANNABIS is still considered "lethal as cra**".
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Comment #8 posted by The GCW on July 22, 2009 at 18:45:15 PT
John Tyler,
I just looked and didn't see any booze ads. They change though.That would be ironic to see the booze ad.
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Comment #7 posted by John Tyler on July 22, 2009 at 18:38:14 PT
Re # 5
I voted. Did you notice the liquor ad at the top of the page? 
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on July 22, 2009 at 18:02:21 PT
Question Authority 
I know what you are saying. I do understand. It is tragic how many people get addicted to legal prescription drugs and can't smoke Cannabis because of drug testing if going to a pain clinic or so I have been told. It is sad and down right wrong.
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Comment #5 posted by The GCW on July 22, 2009 at 17:51:35 PT
I wanted to post this poll again; it's still in progress in case any readers have not voted. do you think of medical/decriminalized marijuana?___Good idea. Should be legal for all.___Mixed: Ok with medicinal but not outright decriminalization.___Bad idea. It should stay illegal for all.
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Comment #4 posted by Dankhank on July 22, 2009 at 17:48:25 PT
are modern-day storm troopers.I'm betting most, or all, will claim they are "Christian."they'll have some 'splaining' to do.The ONLY reason I hope God exists.
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Comment #3 posted by Question Authority on July 22, 2009 at 16:50:31 PT
Thanks, FOM
My cousin Jackie worked at a chicken processing plant. The cops would sit outside the parking lot at noon and watch for any employees going to their cars to smoke pot. They would arrest them and the state would give them "years", not months, in jail.A friend of Jackie's got busted once and was fired from his job and was looking at 5 years. The difficulty in obtaining cannabis and the threat of jail made my cousin switch to prescription pain killers, which were/are easy to obtain, and get a job driving a taxi.It is fortunate that Jackie didn't kill anybody flying high in his taxi, but he'd be alive today if it weren't for LEOs and their aggressive tactics. Of course, they were probably working at the request of the management of said Tyson's Chicken plant.The totalitarian lawdogs accomplished the exact opposite of their supposed intent to keep society safe from drugs. But it is so much easier to bust cannabis users than look for burglars or violent criminals.See, it wasn't cannabis that was a gateway to harder drugs, it was the lazy LEOs that were the gateway!!! Boycott Tyson's Chicken! And don't let me get started on the tales of the chicken plant; you'll never eat chicken again!
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on July 22, 2009 at 16:08:14 PT
Question Authority
I'm so very sorry.
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Comment #1 posted by Question Authority on July 22, 2009 at 16:03:17 PT
Feds are not doctors
Because of the draconian marijuana laws in Arkansas, my cousin switched to pain pills for his back pain. He's dead now. Died of an overdose...cops didn't care cuz it was prescription drugs.But hey, at least he didn't smoke pot anymore, cuz pot is much more dangerous than Rx medz, right?RIP, Jackie!
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