Question 1. Do states have legislative authority within their jurisdictions to decide drug laws or should marijuana legislation be within the jurisdiction of the federal government alone?
States do not have the political authority within their borders to determine marijuana laws. Marijuana legislation, however, needs to be strictly under the federal government’s control. There are a number of arguments to defend my point as to why I think marijuana should be solely under the authority of the federal government. To start with, laws that legalize the use of marijuana are completely unconstitutional which implies that any administration decision that fails to enforce federal laws that greatly bans marijuana in different states that have allowed the use of the drug is a complete abuse of the prosecutorial discretion (Owen). This is evident from the Federal Controlled Substance Act which is the law that bans marijuana national wide whereby the Act lists it as a schedule 1 narcotic. Secondly, allowing states to have policy jurisdiction to determine marijuana laws in their territories, it would bring conflicts between the two vital tensions of political thought in USA for the federalism and moralism (Owen). For example, moralists greatly believe in the conservation of a recognized social order while on the other hand federalist aims at limiting the supremacy of the federal government relatives to the people and states.
Question 2. Regardless of who has jurisdiction over the issue, explain your position on the consumption of marijuana.
My position on the consumption of marijuana is that it should be made legal. To support this, there are a number of reasons that makes me argue that the drug should be legal. Firstly, ban of marijuana has massive social costs. Usually, the harmful impacts of its ban run from the wasted capitals to abandoned lives. Police use most of their time arresting cannabis users. Many of the people arrested have spent quite a long time behind bars in some cases for nothing more than being in possessing of bhang for own use. For example, in the year 2012, there were about 658,000 arrests for cannabis compared to about 256,000 for some other drugs like heroin and cocaine (Terence). The impact of this on the society is that these arrests takes officers away from urgent issues that greatly affects the people in the society. Secondly, legalization of bhang cannot lead to increased use. It is very clear that legal substance can be controlled in a diverse of ways that the illegal ones cannot (Terence). For example, the government has come up with ways to keep alcohol from the hands of the minors. Therefore, there should be mandatory underage smoking laws and effective marketing campaigns to reduce cannabis use just like there is for alcohol and cigarettes hence saving minors in the society from smoking marijuana.
Owen Poindexter. 6 Powerful Reasons to Legalize Marijuana, From the New York Times (2014). Retrieved from: http://www.alternet.org/drugs/6-powerful-reasons-new-york-times-says-end-marijuana-prohibition
Terence Jeffrey P. Chairman: State Laws Legalizing Marijuana Are Unconstitutional (2015). Retrieved from: http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/judiciary-chairman-state-laws-legalizing-marijuana-are