Monday, January 18, 2010
We live in a beautiful country where we have the right to vote - a government for the people, by the people. Naturally, we all cannot agree on everything and some laws will be passed that go against what some people believe in. The United States has been debating the legitimacy of medical marijuana on a state and federal level; states have a right to make their own laws that do not coincide with federal laws and that is where the argument starts. The 10th Amendment - Powers of the States and People was ratified 12/15/1791, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people". Nowhere in the constitution does it say anything about marijuana, so states took it upon themselves to circumvent federal drug laws and exercise their individual powers. Since 1996 when medical marijuana was passed in California, federal drug agents have ignored the laws passed in the states that allow for medical marijuana.
In the last couple years public opinion about marijuana on a national level shifted and has become more accepting of the idea. President Obama has instructed the DEA to leave medical marijuana patients and growers alone as long as state laws were being adhered to. However, certain drug officials have not followed Obama's new mandate and are still pursuing legal patients. According to the Denver Post, "a Coloradan who works for the president's drug-policy office is leading efforts to undermine the state's constitutional amendment allowing cannabis for medical use. On the federal dime, Tom Gorman, director of the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, is lobbying state lawmakers to gut the Colorado law". This really isn't so much a surprise, as it is confusing! Here is a guy who is in fact violating the most sacred of American documents, the United States Constitution and nobody seems to care. It seems strange how people can trample on the constitution in order to wage personal wars without any punishment, setting aside one's beliefs about the legitimacy of medical marijuana, at what point does the constitution stop being important? The Denver Post said it best, "Whether for or against medical marijuana, you'll probably agree that government has no business paying functionaries to work in contradiction to its own policies".
People who break the law are required to pay for it; yet, people who break the law trying to enforce the law are left alone. Tom Gorman's beliefs are irrelevant when it comes to state and federal law; we live in a democracy where we can't always have our way. Whether or not medical marijuana is just or acceptable is a question for the people in their respective states, not for one man with passion; this is a republic of laws not people. If the Constitution is not upheld in this country than we are lost, it is the glue that holds America together.