How Will Federal Laws Interact with State Marijuana Laws?
Proposition 19 was a letdown for the medical marijuana community, but it hasn’t stopped the fight, there will be another election in 2012 and Nevada medical marijuana clinics are in full support of California giving it the old college try one more time.
It seems a lot of people were in favor of Prop 19 passing but the measure fell short. That’s not to say it won’t happen, the fact that it’s on the ballot at all speaks volumes for medical marijuana doctors. But, what would happen to federal laws if a state legalized marijuana?
Say for example, in 2012 doctors that recommend marijuana in Nevada were able to get a legal marijuana initiative on the ballot. And through hard work and support of the medical marijuana community and medical marijuana clinics in Nevada, they passed the law. It would have far reaching implications, passed the state and pass other states all the way to the federal government.
At the heart of the matter is that this is a State’s Rights vs. Federal Rights problem. If a state passes a law that contradicts a Federal law, the matter can go all the way to the Supreme Court.
A similar case involving the use of medical marijuana was introduced to the Supreme Court in 2005. Angel Raich used homegrown medical marijuana in California, recommended by his doctor, to alleviate pain he was dealing with. The case had a negative turn for medical marijuana support when the Supreme Court ruled “Congress may ban home-grown cannabis even where states approve its use for medicinal purposes.”
This ruling was obviously not what doctors that recommend medical marijuana in Nevada were hoping for. Nevada medical marijuana clinics wanted to see the Supreme Court hold up states rights and medical marijuana clinics in Nevada’s rights to recommend medical marijuana to their patients. But, under the Obama administration there has been less federal involvement in medical marijuana clinics, but the threat exist that they could change their policy and prosecute patients and doctors that recommend medical marijuana under the same statute.
Angel Raich’s doctor stated that, without medical marijuana, his patient’s life was threatened by his pain. But, the Supreme Court did not see it that way and struck down the Raich’s attorney’s plea.
That’s not to say that the new Supreme Court would hold the same ruling, but they are virtually the same court that defeated the resolution before. Medical marijuana doctors in Nevada were eagerly awaiting California’s Prop 19 to pass and even though it did not, patients in Nevada can still get a medical marijuana card in Nevada. But, things could change without federal laws supporting medical marijuana clinics in Nevada. Only by voicing our concerns can medical marijuan finally see the changes we all want.
It can be a new day for medical marijuana in 2012, so let’s give it a push and see if we can’t change how Nevada medical marijuana clinics are governed.