On rescinding Obama-era marijuana enforcement guidelines

Marijuana by U.S law is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance. I extracted the information below from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) official site:

 

“The abuse rate is a determinate factor in the scheduling of the drug; for example, Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse and the potential to create severe psychological and/or physical dependence.”

“Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are: heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote”

If you live in a state that legalized medical or recreational marijuana use, it may come as an unpleasant surprise to learn that you are still committing a federal crime by possessing, buying, or selling marijuana. The problem is, despite the liberalization of state laws across the country, federal law still treats marijuana as a controlled substance, just like cocaine or heroin. When your local assembly approves an applicant’s permit request to open a pot shop, they are putting a stamp of approval for that vendor to violate federal law.

This conflict between state and federal law creates a situation where you can be charged with a federal crime for activities that are allowed by your home state. And your state laws won’t be a defense in federal court. There are also several ways that federal marijuana laws can affect everyday life decisions, from where you bank to where you live.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is charged by federal statutes to enforce federal laws. That means not only those he likes but those he may disagree with. In the 1950s and ’60s some state governors rebelled against enforcing civil rights legislation. President Eisenhower dispatched a contingent of the 101st Airborne Division when the governor of Arkansas defied the law. AG Sessions, unlike his predecessor, chooses to honor his oath of office. It seems to me that attacking the AG for fulfilling his duty is misplaced. It would be more appropriate to take up the matter with those representing Alaska in the role of making federal law. The names are Murkowski, Sullivan and Young.

Wiley Brooks,

Anchorage


• My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire.


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