Marijuana legalization is a state’s rights issue. Federal resistance to state-lead marijuana policy reform is an affront to the Tenth Amendment’s assertion that states have the right to decide their own laws outside of the Constitutionally granted powers given to Congress.
So often you hear the arguments about the morality or economic analysis of marijuana legalization. You hear talk of drugs falling into the hands of children or supporting cartels and terrorists in foreign countries. Regardless of the validity of these arguments, marijuana legalization is a states rights issue and nothing more.
Decisions regarding the cultivation of farmland should be decided on by the state legislature, not the federal. Economic and moral repercussions arising from changes in the U.S. drug policy will be best dealt with by local governments who are able to be more in tune with the needs of their constituencies. Federal representatives are publicly forced to appear hard on drugs, regardless of their actual views and regardless of the actual consequences of this policy. Few federally elected officials are able to separate themselves from the politics of the issue to make a fair decision based on those they represent. Appearing weak on drugs is political suicide. The public hysteria surrounding any changes in drug laws has lead to irrational policies based on political biases and misconceptions, not facts or ideology.
According to a 2011 Gallup pole, a record 50% of Americans now support marijuana legalization. This gradual turn in public opinion of marijuana has been a long time in the making. The recent legalization of the plant in Colorado and Washington prove that the American people will have their voices heard, not drowned out by the politics of Washington. Constant and unwavering federal opposition to assertions of state power are costly for the taxpayer, inefficient for law enforcement, and unjust for the individual citizen. Many job-creating business people have opened legitimate businesses, including paying taxes and obtaining state documents stating the legality of their endeavors, and been met with allegations of criminality and the immediate and permanent seizure of their investments.
The populations of Washington and Colorado, along with the 15 other states that currently allow medical marijuana, have spoken. These states feel they will benefit from the legalization, regulation, and taxation of the plant. The state legislatures have heard the call for reform and have begun the arduous battle with the federal government to protect their Tenth Amendment right to decide their own laws. Regardless of your stance on marijuana policy reform in itself, the opportunity to voice your opinion through a state referendum is a right you are entitled to. Let us not let our rights fall to the wayside because we are scared of a little green plant.