At a time when our nation is running on financial fumes, our government continues to waste money destroying local economies in an absurd Whac-a-Mole mission to crackdown on medical marijuana.
From tearing the medical marijuana industry down to its foundation in Montana, to running amuck at Oaksterdam U, Uncle Sam has been busy over the last couple of years. Many dispensaries, collectives, cultivation centers, compassion centers, and caregivers have been shuttered by direct federal threats and action. Federal Prosecutors have threatened and prosecuted landlords for renting to medical marijuana operations. Yet, more and more states continue to pass medical marijuana laws, and launch dispensary programs. Washington D.C., New Jersey, and Arizona will all see dispensaries open this year. There is a stark contrast between these states, and those that have suffered the most under federal raids–clear and unambiguous regulations.
True, no law is completely clear and unambiguous. Take Arizona: several lawsuits have been filed and heard in the year-and-a-half since voters passed the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. But, by addressing weaknesses in the law with a spirited debate, the regulations in Arizona have been clarified, perhaps not to everybody’s liking, but at least Arizona is taking charge of regulating the industry. Unlike other states like Montana, where the State government stepped aside as the Feds came down on the industry with crushing consequences, Arizona continues to buttress the industry against federal interference.
As I reported two days ago, President Obama insists his position has always remained the same: the Justice Department is not focused on operations in clear and unambiguous compliance with state law, but on those that use the cover of state law to supply recreational users, as stated in the Ogden Memo. Whether you believe Obama or not, it is a prudent course for states to establish clear and unambiguous medical marijuana regulations at the state and local levels. If voters pass the law, states must uphold their duty to protect its citizenry. In the end, no single rally or event will shift the federal government’s policies on medical marijuana. As with prohibition, more and more states will legalize marijuana for medical or recreational purposes until the absurdity of prohibition implodes. If more states approve medical and recreational use of marijuana, more marijuana haters have a chance to see firsthand, that marijuana is a marvelous herb that poses no threat to our society.