If California Legalizes Pot (Marijuana), How Will the Feds React?


Ashby Jones writes an interesting article on California’s potential legalization of marijuana. The article which is featured on Wall Street Journal’s Law  Blog does a decent job of showing the tension  between State vs. Federal law. The central question is what happens where state law conflicts with the federal law of the land?

Lately, on a variety of controversial legal issues, I am noticing states flex their muscles i.e. test boundaries with judges making rulings that undermine the federal law of the land. Read the excerpt from the article:

“Next month, voters in California could vote to legalize the use of marijuana for recreational use — a result that simply wouldn’t have been thinkable five years ago. According to a recent Field Poll, 49 percent of likely voters approved of measure, called Proposition 19, while 42 percent disapproved.

Thing is, regardless of what happens in California, using any quantity of marijuana for recreational use will still be a violation of federal law, namely the Controlled Substances Act, first passed into law in 1970.

So what will happen? We did a little digging on the issue and churned out this little piece for Wednesday’s WSJ. The bottom line: nobody really knows what might happen.

On the one hand, some think that the two sets of laws will be in conflict. And under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, when federal and state law conflict, the state law is nullified. This position was articulated in this WSJ opinion piece Wednesday by a handful of former DEA administrators.”

Read full article at WSJ.com.

Photocredit: Mendocino News