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How should the federal government deal with state laws that legalize marijuana use?

Dec. 10, 2012

By Jeremy Quattlebaum, Student Voices staff writer

On Nov. 7, the voters in Washington and Colorado did something no other state has done. They voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use by anyone over 21. Both ballot initiatives decriminalized possession of up to one ounce of marijuana by adults.

Washington’s state law took effect last week. This week, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper declared marijuana use legal as part of the state's constitution. Both states prohibit public use of the marijuana, and regulations for commercial sales will be approved in the coming months. However, a 1970 federal law called the Controlled Substances Act classifies marijuana as a dangerous and addictive drug, the same as heroin and cocaine. Anyone caught distributing or using marijuana by federal officials will face prosecution.The federal law is enforced by the Drug Enforcement Agency with the oversight by the Justice Department, which may prosecute individuals who grow, sell or distribute marijuana.

Colorado and Washington officials have asked the Department of Justice for guidance on the laws that conflict with federal drug law. Thus far, the Justice Department has only issued a warning that possession, growing or use of marijuana is still illegal under federal law. “Regardless of any changes in state law, including the change that will go into effect on Dec. 6 in Washington state, growing, selling or possessing any amount of marijuana remains illegal under federal law,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle said in a statement.

Also, Article VI of the U.S. Constitution contains the supremacy clause, which makes federal laws the “supreme law of the land” and forces states to follow the U.S. Constitution and all federal laws. If a state law conflicts with a federal law, then the federal law must be followed.

So the states of Washington and Colorado will have voter-endorsed laws that stand in direct opposition to federal law. Both states plan to tax marijuana that is sold legally for personal use and distribute it using systems similar to liquor-control boards.

President Obama said in an interview that prosecuting marijuana users in states that have legalized the drug won't be a top priority for his administration. "We've got bigger fish to fry," Obama told ABC News' Barbara Walters in an interview that aired Friday. He did not say whether the Justice Department would go after growers and suppliers in those states. The Obama administration will have to decide whether to sue the states to block laws that allow the recreational use of marijuana or to let those states continue without federal intervention.

During the election, Obama remained silent on the ballot initiatives. Nine former DEA administrators and John Walters, national drug czar under President George W. Bush, had urged Obama and the Justice Department to come out against them.

Some elected officials, law enforcement agents and judges want the administration to take a softer approach to the issue, asking the president to allow the states to proceed and to allow them to develop the marijuana industry free from DEA interference.

“What we’re all hoping for, what we’re essentially lobbying for, is for the federal government to view these two states as laboratories, as incubators of new ideas and better ideas for dealing with the country’s challenge of regulating marijuana,” said Norm Stamper, former Seattle police chief.

Rep. Diana Degette (D., Colo.) introduced legislation that would exempt states that have voter-approved marijuana legalization laws from the federal Controlled Substance Act’s provisions on marijuana.

Also showing support for legalization without federal intervention is Rep. Mike Coffman (R., Colo.), who said in a Denver Post interview: “I strongly oppose the legalization of marijuana, but I also have an obligation to respect the will of the voters given the passage of this initiative, so I feel obligated to support this legislation.”

What do you think?

How should the federal government deal with Washington and Colorado’s legalization of marijuana? Should the Justice Department fight the laws in court or let the states do what they want? Should DEA agents still enforce the federal laws in those states? Should the federal government review and possibly revise the Controlled Substance Act to soften its prohibition of marijuana? Join the discussion and let us know what you think!

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Comments
6/12/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Samantha L.
Mr. Hanna/ SJHS
I think they should not let states do what they what. If they do it may cause a big mess. I think we should not legalize marijuana use, because now there are people out there who sell other people marijuana who are not suppose to use it because they do not have a medical card, but if we do legalize marijuana dealers may lose out and start selling even worst drugs like coke, meth, and etc..and it may cause crime to increase.

3/17/2014
TENNESSE
BRYANT
DANIEL MCKEE
I think that marijuana should be legalized for medical purposes and for recreational use for people 18 and over. If marijuana was ligalised the country could get out of debt faster from the money they could get from the purchase of marijuana. The only thing the goverment doesnt know is that in almost every house there is a pot smoking person. The national goverment should still have some destrictions on it like the amount a person can have in there pockets and that if you are high you must be out of public places or you could get arrested.

3/14/2014
TN
Ossie Parker
DMK
if states make law thaht violate federal law with no retribution then why cant a state decide to not paryicipate in the federal programes like social security or minimum wage. Liberals will destroy our countrys.

3/14/2014
Murfreesboro/Tennessee
roderick
Daniel Mckee
The federal government should just legalize this drug because everyone uses it anyways and the govrnment dosent even know about it.

3/14/2014
muffreesboro/TN
perry
mis.philips/Daneal Mckee
I think that weed should be legallized because alcohol kills more peaple than weed does, and i think if they legalized weed the country would not be in dedt long because everyone would buy it and the country would get all the taxes. but i think they should have restrictions on it, no would be allowed to drive while they are high, or be in public while there high, because then people would get hurt, so i think it would be alright.

3/14/2014
Murfreesboro
Sam
Daniel McKee/ Phillips
Marijuana in my point of view should be legalized, for rectreational use and for medical purposes. Pot helps with a lot of chronic pain, this can be useful to many professionals, military men, the injured, or even our government leaders. They should regulate the laws to where you may only have a certain amount of marijuana on you before it becomes illegal. Also, the laws made for this topic should be that the legalization is to be organized to where it is only legal for certain things and hospitals.

3/14/2014
tennessee
aaron
daniel mckee
The federal government should just let the states make their own decisions. Its stupid to have the state law legal for marijuana but the federal law is illegal still, its pointless.

1/16/2014
Commerce City CO
D

If states can make laws that violate federal law with no retribution, then why cant a state decide to not participate in federal programs like social security or minimum wage. Liberals will destroy our country...

12/19/2013
Vacaville/California
Charlie Miller
Mr. Hawkins
I think that marijuana should be legalized for medical purposes and for recreational use for people 18 and over. It should be monitored just like alcohol and tobacco. The government should let Washington and Colorado continue their law legalizing pot and let other states do the same if it is legalized in other states. Marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and tobacco and it helps treat people who have medical problems such as depression and insomnia. It would also save lives of children who have epilepsy because it is used to treat epilepsy. There are many reasons why marijuana should be legalized and the government should revise the Controlled Substance Act to soften or possibly abolish its prohibition of marijuana.

12/3/2013
great neck NY 11021
Aviva Sham
Ms.Davidson great neck north high school
I believe the federal government should harshly deal with the people that deal with marijuana. 19 percent of 10th graders use Marijuana. In 2012 6.5 percent of 12th graders use Marijuana. One of the negative outcomes of Marijuana is it can affect brain function. This side effect will ruin the teenagers brain development which stops around their 20's.

9/13/2013
Sidney, Mt
Dace Fisher
Mr. Faulhaber
In all reality the states of Washington and Colorado in my opinion have forgotten what the constitution and the amendments of the United States means. They have went against the federal government and made laws that allowed a substance that is illegal under FEDERAL law to be legalized because the voters wanted it to be. Just because the voters want something doesn't mean that its right and should be legalized. The voters of the state know what they want not whats constitutionally correct!!

9/13/2013
Sidney, Montana
Sam
Mr.Faulhaber
I think that marijuana should be legalized for the purpose of taking funds away from dangerous cartels, creating huge tax revenue, creating jobs, and for the welfare of the country. Marijuana is currently America's #1 cash crop surpassing corn even. The war on drugs has been raging on for over 50 years, proving to be ineffective and an abuse of tax payer money. I think that if legalized, marijuana use in teens and gateway opportunities to other drugs will diminish significantly. Studies show, as well as from personal experience, marijuana is much easier to get than regulated and controlled goods such as alcohol and tobacco. This is 2013 and with the vast amount of scientific evidence that supports the theory that marijuana is not as harmful as alcohol, I believe we should stop putting people in jail over it, cut the police force, and create jobs from this plant and commodity. We can take advantage of this already on the streets reality and control it, or continue to fight an expensive, losing war.

5/9/2013
Green Bay
Dan
Mr. Olsen
you should legalize it in wisconsin. yay

3/20/2013
Kennedy
Sophia
Mumby
I belive that marijuana should stay legalized for anyone 21 and over. I disagree with the fact that in 1970 the federal law called the CSA (Controlled Substance Act) classifed marijuana as a dangerous and addictive drug, the same as heroin and cocaine. Their are bigger problems like crime, killers, and political probelms that are more importanat then marijuana users. Their are beneficial reasons for marijuana too it helps anxiety, ADHD, depression, and people with cancer their for I belive it should stay legalized

3/19/2013
Denver / Colorado
Rico
Mumby / Kennedy
I Think That They Should Leave Marijuana Legalized, Because Everyone Alot Of People Smoke Marijuana, And Grow Marijuana..So I Think Anyone Over 21 Has The Right To Smoke Marijuana..

3/19/2013
denver colorado
Anthony
Mrs.Mumby Kennedy High school
Are Federal Goverment should deal with the Laws of Marijuana usage in Washington and Colorado by making it Legal with anyone with a medical issues are health issues.The Justice department should not fight in court just distribute Marijuana to any persons with a Medical Marijuana License.DEA should just make certain requirements on Marijuana usage and How its Distributed.Medical Marijuana also makes the goverment tons of Money and all the taxes can go to something new for the Community.

3/19/2013
Denver,Co
Kristin
Mrs. Mumby /John F. Kennedy Hight School
They should just legalize it in every state! The goverment would make more money and alot of people do smoke marijuana so it would be nice to just give them the right to do it. People are going to smoke it no matter if its legal or not so just make it legal so it dont cause people to get in trouble.

3/19/2013
Denver Colorado
Jade
Mrs.Mumby/John F. Kennedy
Due to the new 2013 68th amendment 'legalization of marijuana users to ages 21 & over" In my opinion the federal government should no prosecute nor have the justice department fight laws against citizens. The DEA should not enforce laws in these states unless they need to be regarded. This is because the government should just continue to just watch the 2 states Colorado and Washington just to see how everything by passes and goes. With just watching and the amount of users to this substance we could increase the sales amount as well as taxes. There shouldn't be no laws enforced unless you see a constant rate or a bad habit continuing to go on. we should just see how everything goes for now.

3/19/2013
Denver Co
Ernesto Barragan
Mrs Mumby
I think marijuana should be legalized as long as it is not abussed by any one whith out a recreationl permet. I do not smoke marijuana but older people do and I think that people have the right to enjoy them self.

3/19/2013
Denver/Colorado
Matthew
M. Mumby/John F. Kennedy
I think That the United States should leave the law of legalizing Marijuana. Marijuana Does nothing to the human body but cures it. People that smoke Marijuana do not do crimes that harm people , Marijuana clams the body down. The United States should leave it as it is and just add taxes to it so they make money.

3/15/2013
Loving New Mexico
Felicia Martinez
Mrs. Reed
This does not answer my question!!!!!!!!!!

3/6/2013
Rudyard/Montana
Caleb
Mrs. Campbell/North Star
I think that the federal goernment should not prosecute marijuana growers and distributers in those states. I think that the federal government should watch those two states and see how the industry takes off. If marijuana sales boost their economy, I believe that the federal governmnt should change its laws so that we can use the sales to increase our nations economy. As President Obama pointed out, the federal government has more important things to do than interfer with the trial run of these two states

2/20/2013
Sidney, Mt
Chris
Mr. Faulhaber-Sidney High School
I think that the states shouldnt get sued. I belive that because these two states can be used as a trail state and see how these new laws work out. Also if they get sued it could make other states afraid to pass certain laws because they dont wanna get sued either.

2/20/2013
Sidney, MT
Courtney
Mr. Faulhaber/ Sidney High School
I think the federal government should stay out of what the states do. The state can create laws so the federal government doesn't get too powerful. Yet the government is already trying to step in. I also believe that many other states should legalize marijuana. They should tax it and sell it and have a chance at making money off it.

2/15/2013
Belleville, NY
John
Colby- BHCS
They should just leave it alone. If anything simply add some taxes to it. After all, if anything people smoking small amounts of marijuana are going to be mellow

2/15/2013
belleville/ny
Rebecca
colby/belleville henderson
Just legalize it in every state! Just tax it. Tax it and sell it. The government would make so much money off it cause so many people smoke it! No point in keep arresting people! Just make it so people can only have a certain amount. Let each state do what they want. Just legalize it already! Treat it the same way you would alchohol even though marijuana is better for you. Have restrictions on it that you cant smoke and drive or smoke in school or smoke in local places.

2/15/2013
Belleville/ NY
Elina
Ms. Colby/Belleville Henderson central School
I think that government should not legalize marijuana. It is a drug and I am against of any kinds of drugs. Even if you use them in medical interests, this is not right. There are different ways to reduce pain. It is addicted drug tat people should not use. If government decides to legalize marijuana it will be available for everyone and it is gonna be legal. This drug make people get used to it and not survive without it.

2/15/2013
Belleville, NY
Erin
Miss Colby/ Belleville Henderson
I think that marijuana should be used for medical use only. People are still going to get it but it should be against the law. People do stupid stuff when they are using marijuana.

2/15/2013
Belleville/NY
Kyle
Colby/Belleville Henderson
If the federal government does legalize marijuana it is quite obvious that they will tax it like crazy just like they did with alcohol and tobacco. It would no doubt bring in a good amount of money because if people want it they get it, much liike alcohol. Personally I don't really care if they do or not, but what is most likely to happen is: one they will tax it, two a lot of people will buy it just to try it now that it is legal, three medical problems will probably increase, and four everyone will stop buying it so much after a little while because it is just the rush at first to try it.

2/15/2013
Belleville/NY
Daryan
Colby/Belleville Henderson
I think that people are going to get marijuana wheather its leagalized or not. If its leagalilzed just tax it and sell it at high prices and make some money off from it. Government is never going to stop people from smoking marijuana just like they are never going to be able to take peoples guns away. People will find a way to have the things they want no matter what the government says.

2/6/2013
Harrisburg Pennsylvania
David
Mrs. Morris
In my opinion i think the federal government should embrace the legalization of marijuana. But put some regulations on it. Treat it almost like alchohol. Cant smoke and drive. Cant smoke at work. It you think about the U.S. governement could make money off the legalization of weed To benefit the country.

2/6/2013
Harrisburg,PA
Katie
Morris, Central Dauphin High school
I think the use of marijuana should be legalized. Just put tax on the Herb. We'll be able to be closer to closing the door to being in debt. Since we're all COMPLAINING about being in debt and with the whole money issue, tax the Herb, and release it out on the street. Why should only hospitals be able to with hold pounds and punds of marijuana? But, you can't realease it out to the people when you know they're still doing it anyways, you know it. So quit the whining. Alcohol is legal and more suffer severe consequences from drinking, rather than "using" marijuana. I beleive that if Marijuana were to be legalized, it should be kept within ones home and not out in public. It does not make sense to take away ones right to use what they wish

2/6/2013
Harrisburg,PA
Katie
Morris, Central Dauphin High school
I think the use of marijuana should be legalized. Just put tax on the Herb. We'll be able to be closer to closing the door to being in debt. Since we're all COMPLAINING about being in debt and with the whole money issue, tax the Herb, and release it out on the street. Why should only hospitals be able to with hold pounds and punds of marijuana? But, you can't realease it out to the people when you know they're still doing it anyways, you know it. So quit the whining. Alcohol is legal and more suffer severe consequences from drinking, rather than "using" marijuana. I beleive that if Marijuana were to be legalized, it should be kept within ones home and not out in public. It does not make sense to take away ones right to use what they wish

2/6/2013
Harrisburg
Amber
Central Dauphin High School
To my understanding Marijuana is used by those who are either ill. Not only this, but a recreational purpose is perfectly fine. I have never heard of someone getting into a car accident from "using" marijuana. Alcohol is legal and more suffer severe consequences from drinking, rather than "using" marijuana. I beleive that if Marijuana were to be legalized, it should be kept within ones home and not out in public. It does not make sense to take away ones right to use what they wish.

2/6/2013
Harrisburg Pa
Tyroil Smoochie Wallace
Central Dauphin High School
Legalize it!! it helps people with cancer and makes people :) it also would decrease crime rate and gangs.

2/6/2013
harrisburg,PA
jocelyn shingara
mrs.morris/central dauphin high school
i think people should focus more on the harmful drugs such as crack and meth than weed which isnt harmful or addictive.

2/6/2013
Harrisburg/Pennsylevania
Nathan
Morris/Central Dauphin High School
The current law states that the legalization of substances such as marijuana shall be decided upon by the state so the only way to react is by not doing anything about it because the government shouldnt restrict the powers of the state.

2/6/2013
Harrisburg/Pennsylevania
Nathan
Morris/Central Dauphin High School
The current law states that the legalization of substances such as marijuana shall be decided upon by the state so the only way to react is by not doing anything about it because the government shouldnt restrict the powers of the state.

2/6/2013
Harrisburg, Pa
Caroline
Morris
I believe Marijuana should be legalized. It kills cancer cells and helps cure sick people. If it is saving lives i believe that it should be legalized.

1/29/2013
Seffner, Fl
Beth
Frank/Burnett
i think it should be left alone because it is NOT a dangerous and addictive drug because its natural and not chemically made unlike cocaine or meth

1/21/2013
Irving/Tx
Jazmyn
Bradley/Nimitz
I think the Federal government shouldn't handle the legalization so lightly. The legalization is going to help the crime rate decrease. I'm glad Washington and Colorado legalized marijuana , so that way if things go good, the government has something to look upon and take notes. If it goes bad the government could find out what things need to be changed.

1/20/2013
Irving/Texas
Linda
Bradley/Nimitz
Honestly, people who want marijuana, will get marijuana, one way or another, whether its legal or not. Making a state law to legalize it or making a federal law to keep it illegal doesn't change that. But just like President Obama said, "We've got bigger fish to fry,". Therefore the federal government should leave this alone for a bit.

1/19/2013
Irving/Tx
Jennifer R
Bradley/Nimitz
Marijuana shouldn't be legalized. The federal government needs to pick a side. Washington a Colorado legalized the drug, yet the federal government has on opposed opinion over the same matter. As a united nation, the legalization of this drug must be resolved. If marijuana is known as a dangerous addictive drug, then why take the risk of allowing a drug that will not better our society.

1/18/2013
Irving/Tx
Carolina R
Bradley/Nimitz
The states should do what they want. Of course it would only lead to more things to watch out for. I mean, if alcohol and liquor use is a problem since people cannot even drink responsibly what makes them let the people decide that they can handle marijuana? Apperantly the public is not educated enough or mature enough to handle substances then maybe it should not be legal. If it is such a big problem that it concerns the DEA then i believe that they should take action.

1/18/2013
Irving/Texas
Ashley P
Bradley/Nimitz
Since we live in a country where the federal law trumps state laws, I believe Washington and Colorado are in the wrong. This is a direct defiance of the Controlled Substance Act, and although the federal government has bigger things on their plate they need to focus on, this marijuana legalization law still needs to be on the agenda. By making marijuana legal, it makes it that much easier for minors to get a hold of it because they have more places to look for now. As a student in high school, I can confirm that marijuana use is already too frequent among students. Although by applying a tax on this item we could potentially help our economy, would we soon see marijuana related jobs open? It will be interesting though to see how these two states handle this newfound legalization.

1/18/2013
Irving, TX
Bethany
Bradley/Nimitz
The federal government needs to decide its position on the legalization of marijuana because this nation has to have a consistent opinion all throughout the country about so important an issue about drug use and control. Federal laws, like the law that makes growing, selling, or possessing drugs illegal, still have more weight than state laws, so DEA agents must enforce those laws over this new state law that makes marijuana legal. The Justice Department should only allow states to do what they please as long as any of the laws they make don't conflict with laws of the federal government. The Controlled Substance Act should not be revised or softened; with the restrictions that are currently in place, we presently have a rampant problem with outrageous use of marijuana and drugs of the like by minors and adults alike. If marijuana is made legal and easier to obtain, who's to say that adults won't allow minors to use this drug? They already sell drugs to minors illegally, so how much more will the use of drugs by minors when the possession of marijuana will become legal?

1/18/2013
Irving/Tx
Kristian B
Bradley/Nimitz
The federal government should deal with Washington and Colorado's legalization of marijuana by sticking to the Controlled Substances Act and classify marijuana still illegal. If the government wants the states to have marijuana legalized than they should revise the Controlled Substance Act or first legalize it themselves. The Justice Department should fight the laws in court because if the states allow marijuana to be sold or promoted then they are breaking federal law. The DEA should still enforce the federal laws in those states and keep marijuana from being distributed “legally” by the states' votes.

1/18/2013
Irving/TX
Martha
Bradley/Nimitz
The federal government has the right to have a say on the laws a state passes regarding such a scandalous topic such a the use of drugs. Even though the states do have the right to pass their own laws, when in comes to legalizing a drug that as the federal government has already prove to be illegal. I think that if a state decides to make a law regarding this subject, it shall made a appointment with the federal government since it's something that will be noticed by other states and will cause certain commotion.

1/17/2013
Irving/TX
Alex H.
Bradley/Nimitz
Since marijuana is illegal under the federal law, it's obviously not correct for these two states to pass their own law legalizing marijuana. But on the other hand, people in the U.S. are strong marijuana users, so applying a tax on the sell and production of marijuana could be a beneficial factor for the country. So because of this, I believe that Obama should just let this slide and see how it goes, because we never know , it might just open up many jobs in our suffering economy, plus there wouldn't be so much people getting arrested for small amounts of marijuana. Overall, I believe that this will benefit our economy, and these two states will be like the guinea pigs of this topic.

1/17/2013
Irving, TX
Daniela R
Bradley/Nimitz
The federal government should just wait this one out. We just barely missed going over the fiscal cliff this past New Years. Obama and Congress have bigger things to worry about. DEA shouldn't enforce the federal law because it already made it legal, but if the federal government gets involved then they should step aside and let them do heir job. As long as marijuana doesn't cause harm and is used for curing purposes the federal government should revise the Controlled Substance Act. That way less people will be put in jail for having the drug and jails can make room for the real criminals.

1/17/2013
Irving/TX
Mayra Z
Bradley/Nimitz
The federal government has more important issues to deal with other than just this problem that emerged in these two states. Its not a big issue to actually legalize marijuana because people who want marijuana still use it , even if there is a law against it.They should still enforce the law because if people right now use marijuana being against the law now that two states want to make it legal more and more people will use it.I don't think they should revise or soften the Controlled Substance Act because marijuana does has a substance that is addictive and when it's legalized it would probably increase accident, death, and crime rates.

1/16/2013
Irving
Kimberly Lopez
Helen Bradley
President Obama said, "We've got bigger fish to fry.", and I believe that's true. I'm not saying they should turn a blind eye towards the issue, but it really shouldn't be top priority. So maybe leaving it alone for a bit wouldn't be too bad, just to see how things would go.

1/16/2013
Irving
Kimberly Lopez
Helen Bradley
President Obama said, "We've got bigger fish to fry.", and I believe that's true. I'm not saying they should turn a blind eye towards the issue, but it really shouldn't be top priority. So maybe leaving it alone for a bit wouldn't be too bad, just to see how things would go.

1/16/2013
Irving/TX
Kenia R
Bradely/Nimitx
The government should of stopped the states when they had a chance, now they have to deal with the consequences of their actions. The DEA should just watch for now and give it a little time, if this causes problems then they should step in and control it. The president said that there are more fish to fry, meaning that they have bigger problems to deal with right now.

1/15/2013
Irving/TX
Julio F.
Bradley/Nimitz
The federal government shouldn't really be dealing with the legalization of marijuana in Colorado or Washington, they should leave it alone as an experiment and see where it would go. The states shouldn't be really be doing what ever they want but to take it into court I think that's a little necessary. There should be a change in the action taken by the federal agents when they catch someone having marijuana, well only in those two states. Since marijuana is, at the moment, legal in Colorado and Washington, people who abuse it should still be punished, for example if they grow or distribute marijuana they should still be punished.

1/14/2013
Irving Texas
Jasmin T.
Bradley/Nimitz
I don't see how the government can pass a law, and still have the federal law have a problem with it. I see that in the future being a very big hassle and them having to fix that. People all over the U.S besides the states whom already passed the ok, have fought this making it clear, they want this. I know if it was something that a very large group of people wanted and didn't give up on letting the government know they wanted they would most likely pass it. It is very weird I do have to admit that people have made such a big protest and such about this for the government to ever have passed it. I know that the federal government should even consider changing their law to coping with the state laws, on this one law.

1/13/2013
Irving, TX
Kelsey
Bradley, Nimitz High School
The federal government should realize that the people of the states have spoken and they wank the legalization of marijuana. The whole point for government is "for the people by the people" so how can they just ignore the people. The federal government coming and outlawing something that voters found okay sound ridiculous. They should take advantage of there incubators and experiment with how it would work for the country as a whole. If the government would take advantage of what they have then they could find a good moral and economic medium that wouldn’t tamper with the federal law much.

1/13/2013
Irving, TX
Brittany H
Bradley/Nimitz
The federal government should allow Washington and Colorado to legalize marijuana. The states should have the right to make their own individual decisions on the situation of legalizing marijuana. It should be the same as laws for drinking alcohol seeing as they have the same relations with both being considered “drugs”. The federal government should review and revise the Controlled Substance Act since this is an issue that many have been protesting against for decades. The idea of selling marijuana to citizens 21 and over in states that allow it seems like a fair deal to both the citizens an the government who could gain money from taxing the sales.

1/11/2013
Sidney, Mt
Mitchell
Mr. Faulhaber
I believe that the laws dealing with Marijuana should be left to the states, and that only Marijuana crossing the borders between states and countries should be regulated by the federal government.

1/11/2013
Sidney, MT
Courtney A.
Faulhaber / Sidney High School
I think the federal government should stay out of what the states decide to do. They need to worry about America and the other problems we have besides a couple people in the state that wanna smoke a little marijuana. State and local governments have their own rules so the federal government doesn't get too powerful. So why are they trying to interfere here. I understand it's illegal throughout the U.S. But they should just make it illegal in all states that keep it illegal. The government shouldn't interfere with a law that a state makes.

1/11/2013
montgomery,TX
Justin A.
Metzger
In my opinion this could go both ways because, yes the government should always follow the constitution, but if the government were not to do anything about this it could lead to some major problems in the other states that it is illegal to have marijuana. It could start protest in other states to legalize it. At the end of the day it is best for the states to follow the constitution and federal law then to try to battle with the government on the legalization of marijuana. The states have just caused more problems and time and money for the government just to legalize marijuana when in reality it is never going happen because we live by the constitution.

1/10/2013
Montgomery, TX
Leah
Metzger/MHS
I think the federal government should stay out of it! Just stop worrying about the legalization of marijuana so darn much. Worry about bigger issues in America! If the people of Washington and Colorado voted for the legalization, then just let it be. Sometimes the federal government just needs to let go of their pride and say "Hey! This might not be such a bad thing!". I mean they honestly need to get their priorities straight. Why not let the states be and spend that money on more important issues? I know there has got to be bigger issues than this. The Justice Department should just let the states be "incubators of new ideas and better ideas for dealing with the country's challenge of regulating marijuana," as Norm Stamper said in this article. Maybe that would actually open their minds a little.

1/10/2013
Irving/TX
Jessica H.
Bradley/Nimitzf
The federal government should let Washington and Colorado be a test dummy for the legalization of marijuana. However, the government should continue to enforce the federal laws, but not as a priority to show that federal government still over rules state government. Allowing Washington and Colorado to test the legalization of marijuana will allow the federal government to have a better idea of the impact it can have in our society. The federal government should review and possibly revise the Controlled Substance Act, but only after they have a better idea of what the effects of marijuana legalization would be.

1/9/2013
Irving, Texas
Sona
Bradley,Nimitz
Federal government should have a say on what they think about legalizing the use of marijuana . Because the states are supposed to follow all federal laws. But since some of the states have legalized the use of marijuana, it should be okay to legalize in other states too. I am pretty sure that the federal government make any decisions that are bad for the people of the united states. So its really up to the federal government to decide whether or not to let states legalize/prohibit the use marijuana.

1/9/2013
Irving/Tx
Heather Egan
Bradley/Nimitz
The federal government are going to have a lot of questions answered. Who's to say if the person using marijuana is for medical purposes or not? This law that is in place is just going to give people one idea, "It is okay to use drugs" simple as that. It is going to be easier for others not using the drug as a medical reason to get marijuana simply for the fact it can now be given to people who probably only want it to do drugs. Of course federal laws need to be still in place, if they don't you are going to see people selling drugs in the middle of the street in broad daylight. They'd be dumb not to still enforce laws. I think the laws in place should stay, and they should not revise and soften the prohibition of marijuana as stated in the Controlled Substance Act.

1/9/2013
Benson/Arizona
Shawn
Sorenson/Benson High School
There is a reason as to why the Bill of Rights was established. Solely for the fact that in case the Federal branches of the government, Judicial branch specfically, became overwhelmed with too much power due to their own interpretation of the Constitution, This is what is occuring with Colorado and Washington. The Federal Government is not recognizing their laws, but as a state they should be left alone, For that is the purpose of running a state, and a state government.

1/9/2013
benson/az
cottrell
sorenson/benson high school
The government should leave the states alone and see how the situation plays out. Yes, marijuana is illegal but that is not stopping anyone from getting their hands on it. So why not try something new to where there is a happy medium? If the the situation goes wrong then we may at least learn from our mistake and go back to the drawing board.

1/8/2013
Irving, Tx
Dominic
Bradley/Nimitz
The federal government should just step aside and let these two states handle it. If they were able to get a biil like this passed, there has to be substanial support of how they are going to support the new law. The Controlled Substances Act should be reformed. Times are changing, and that act is still stuck in the past.

1/8/2013
irving/tx
cindy m
bradley/nimitz
Every state is individual and i feel like Washington and Colorado's choice is all up to them. I do not think there should be a huge deal being made of this. You can have up to one ounce and you must be 21. Those are reasonable standards. When president Obama said" That is not the presidents main concern." That shows that there shouldn't be made about the legalization in these states.

1/7/2013
montgomery, tx
Herbert House
Mr.metzger
The states Washington and Colorado’s voters passed a law to legalize marijuana use for people 21 and up. The federal government will still arrest people for marijuana use, growing, or distributing. It is still illegal under article 4 of the U.S constitution, but still its legal in the states will be both taxed and distributed using a system similar to liquor control boards. President Obama says,” That’s not the federal government’s main concern”. Lots of people have come out said that they oppose but their hands are tied, because the voters have spoken.

1/4/2013
Irving/Tx
Rebecca M.
Bradley/Nimitz
The government had the chance to stop the laws in Washington and Colorado and they chose to stand by and watch instead of taking action. Now they have to live with that mistake on their part and let the states be. If the Justice Department gets involved, it can cause many more problems than necessary. The government should stand back and watch carefully and if things get out of hand the they can step in.

1/4/2013
Montgomery, Tx
Justin
Metzger/Montgomery HS
This issue has been around since before i was born and quite frankly im sick of it. I don't believe that marijuana is even close to as bad as cocaine or heroin, but that doesnt mean that it should be abused. Honestly the government spends way too much money trying to control it. At the end of it all, legal or not there will still be people doing it, and people strongly agianst it.

1/4/2013
belleville, ny
Rebecca
colby/belleville henderson
Marijuana should be legal in every state! I think the Justice Department should let the states do what they want because its your problem if you smoke it or not. I dont personally think that you should have to be a certain age to smoke it, well you should have to be at least 10.. I think if they legalize it they should make a building that sells it, and not one person should be able to grow it unless they work in the factory. I think the federal government should revise the controlled substance act and meake it legalized. I dont know one person who hasnt tried it or someone who doesnt use it. I dont think you should be able to smoke it on school grounds or let little kids smoke it. it would be dumb not to legalize it. Watching cops on the tv or hearing about people getting arrested for smoking marijuana its dumb, if they would legalize it nobody would be in jail for it.

1/4/2013
Irving/Tx
Jennifer T.
Bradley/Nimitz
If one wants or seeks something they will not rest until the object or goal is obtained. Marijuana is a drug and a lethal one to those who abuse it. Some use it for medical reasons, and others just want to get high. Every day people are being arrested for selling and dealing marijuana, but aren’t there greater dangers in our society than smoking a joint. Of course things get out of hand when minors consume the substance or it is being abused, but there is always a downside to everything. The states should have the right to legalize or ban marijuana. This is something new which over the years has caused many heated debates, and should be considered a “test run”. The federal government needs to relax and observe the states, so they can decided based on the test run whether to change Controlled Substance Act or not.

1/3/2013
Montgomery, Texas
Rachel B.
Metzger/ Montgomery HS
This is not the first time the issue of legalizing marijuana has arisen in recent years and I highly doubt this will be the last. However, I think the steps that Colorado and Washington took to solve the issue are taking them in the right direction. What better way to go about something of this magnitude than to go through the people? This will, after all, affect them. Stating that, I am of the opinion that the government should stand aside and see what becomes of this situation. If it works out for the better of the people then they should look further into legalizing this substance. But if this experiment takes a turn for the worst they should, of course, step in and put a stop to it.

1/3/2013
Montgomery/Texas
Danielle
Metzger/Montgomery High School
I think that the Federal Government should consider letting these states become a guinea pig. Marijuana is almost like alcohol, it can have similar effects. There can be problems with it just like alcohol so therefore it should have an age limit. The Government and the people of the U.S. should see how things go. Also i do not believe the government should have that kind of power to control us like that. If someone wants to do that it should not matter to the government. Let the people do that to themselves if they want to be stupid enough. However they should not be rewarded for doing it, by giving those people jobs or healthcare.

1/3/2013
Montgomery/Tx
Donovan
Metzger/Montgomery High School
The issue of whether or not cannabis should be legalized, is completely non-germane. The herb itself has no negative consequences on one's health; even today we can't find any cons to the plant's recreational and medicinal use using modern science. The pros to legalizing the plant's usage in the United States are vast; from using hemp to make paper and paper products, to aiding in stress and pain, to even possibly help cure diseases in the future. There has already been a Harvard study on the recreational use in lung cancer patients, and there was a 40% decrease in the size of the tumors in the lungs. Not to mention, the net worth of the drug in beneficial expenses to the country runs around $10,000,000,000, that's ten billion.

1/3/2013
Montgomery/Tx
Casey B.
Metzger/Montgomery High School
I think that if people want to use marijuana then let them they are going to use it regaurdless of the law it's just a matter of them getting caught. in my opinion the federal government should just stay out of it, if the states want to leagalize it then let them there's obviously a good reason for it. Also putting marijuana in the same category as Heroine or cocaine isn't fair. There is such thing as "Medical Marijuana" there is NOT such thing as "Medical Cocaine or Heroine". Some will even argue that pot is better for you than cigarettes are. The federal government is making the issue way bigger than it has to be.

1/3/2013
Magnolia/Tx
kody
Metzger/Montgomery HighSchool
On this topic, I feel the federal government should take a softer approach. The federal government should use these states as testing grounds. If things go bad we will know legalizing it is not the best thing, but this could also provide much needed revenue for the u.s. government.

1/2/2013
Montgomery/Texas
Dakota C.
Metzger/Montgomery High School
I think the Federal Government should allow Washington and Colorado to keep and execute their laws on marijuana. The Justice Department should let the states do what they want, if people want it they will do it anyway, regardless of law. There are more important things the DEA could be worried about, than marijuana legalization. The Federal Government should revise the Controlled Substance Act and soften the prohibition of marijuana, but at the same time have restrictions. Marijuana usage has not been at the top of the DEA or Federal Government's priority list before, so why should it be a big deal now. The states should be able to keep there laws with no interference from the Federal Government.

12/22/2012
Irving.TX
Marisol
Bradley/Nimitz
The federal government should allow Washington and Colorado's legalization of marijuana carry on. We say that legalizing marijuana will be bad, and that it's not a good idea, but how will we know if we don't attempt the idea. The states have rights too, and if these two states want to attempt this legalization then so be it. The Justice Department should just let the states deal with this action responsibly. The DEA agents should still enforce the laws required to make sure marijuana isn't abused. The Controlled Substance Act should be looked in to so the legalization of this drug can be better interpreted instead of being seeing as 100% bad. But, even with all these laws, there are going to be people who abuse the law. Whether marijuana is illegal or legal people are still going to find access to it. So, might as well legalize it, tax it, and responsibly regulate it.

12/20/2012
Irving/Tx
Ashley C
Bradley/Nimitz
The Federal Government should make a compromise with the states who decide to legalize the recreational use of marijuana for any one over the age of 21. Even though there are acts that prohibit the selling, growing and distributing of marijuana, people in other states still do this. Have they gotten caught? No. Not yet at least. The federal government should recognize the state laws. A court battle is unnecessary. The federal government can still prosecute those selling, distributing or growing marijuana in the states that have not legalized marijuana.

12/17/2012
Irving,TX
Lily
Bradley/Nimitz
I think that the federal government should come to a compromise with Washington and Colorado. But at the same time, the states should realize that the federal government has more power over them. If they feel very strong about this issue then they should go to court, but if they aren't really concerned then they should just let the states do as they wish. It could help the economy in the long run anyways. I still think that the federal government should enforce their laws in the states that haven't legalized marijuana.

12/17/2012
Irving/ TX
Sandra C.
Bradley/ Nimitz
The federal government should not get too involved in the legalization of marijuana in the states of Washington and Colorado because there is already too much ttension. The states shouldn't do what they want, but a fight in court is not necessary. There should be a change to the action taken when federal agents catch someone having marijuana- only in those two states. Since marijuana is now legal in Colorado and Washington, people should only get punished if they are caught distributing or growing marijuana, but not for using it.

12/16/2012
Irving/Tx
Vanessa C.
Bradley/Nimitz
The federal government should not get involved with the laws in Washington and Colorado. Since the government had the chance to stop them and they just watch what they were doing. The Justice Department should just let the states do what they want to do because if they keep on going they may cause more problems for each other. The government is always looking for ways to get money so it may help the economy. But if later on if they see that it's not working for the states and the economy then they should start making changes.

12/16/2012
Irving/Tx
Hector S.
Bradley/Nimitz
The Federal Government should let Colorado and Washington do as the please for the time being. Colorado and Washington can serve as test subjects for a much heated debate. There is enough tension that the states passed marijuana laws and any action taken by the Federal Government can make things worse. The states went to the Justice Department for guidance as to what the think of the laws and is only fair for the Justice Department to allow the states to carry on with their law for the time being since there are restrictions included. The Government should monitor the states and if nothing negative happens, possibly go back and review the Controlled Substance Act and possibly amend it.

12/13/2012
Irving/ TX
Amber P
Bradley/ Nimitz
The federal government should have done something about this law before it got this far. The federal government can't just let the states do what they want, this may lead to bigger problems, but that always depends on the issue at hand. Like I said before, if they wanted to stop the states they needed to already have handled it- it's too late now, but I guess they always could take them to court. No the government should have made it impossible to let something be legal if they didn't want it to be- there's no reason to punish the citizens of that state where it's suppose to be legal. The federal government needs to tie up all its incredibly lose ends on this subject- it's confusing.

12/13/2012
Irving/Texas
Claudia
Bradley/Nimitz
The federal government is above state law but have not proven they are in these cases. They had the chance to stop the bills from becoming laws and they failed to do so. If the federal government has failed to get involved the federal agencies like DEA agents will only contradict the actions of the federal government to not get involved. It important for the federal government to keep the states in check to avoid bigger conflicts that might take place one a law is already in place and the government decides to do something to change that.

12/13/2012
Irving/Texas
Chhering
Bradley/Nimitz
Federal government shouldn't do anything but make a profits from marijuana's tax. It is useless to fight the laws in coourt or let the states do what they want. It should me decided by people of the citizens.The federal gvernment should review and possibly revise the Controlled Substance Act to soften its prohibition of marijuana.

12/12/2012
Irving/Texas
Angel Olvera
Austin/JESA
The federal government shouldn't get involved with the laws in Washington and Colorado since both states have already asked for guidance from the Department of Justice. The government could have stopped the laws from passing because of the supremacy clause, but they decided to take a watching approach. The legalization of marijuana can possible boost the economy of both states. The government should revise the Controlled Substance Act to soften the restrictions for marijuana.

12/12/2012
Irving/TX
Ricky
Austin/JESA
I think because the federal government is higher in law of then from state law federal law should still be enforce. Until the federal government changes so that it applies to everyone. The justice should fight the law because is something that will effect the whole country because marijuana is a drug that can be found in all states. However the federal government can argue that the states should of known from the Controlled Substance Act that it is a highly addictive and dangerous and should of not had the ability to execute the law because it violates federal law.

12/12/2012
Irving/Texas
Carlos A Jimenez
Austin/JESA
The federal government should take part of this and make sure that they overturn that law and make sure that is not legalized. It if it is going to be a illegal type of case it should be dealt with in the Federal court, even though is controversial that needs be dealt on a high level of justice. The DEA should still enforce the federal laws and make sure that the people that live in those states do not uses the drug for something that is not legal to use it as. The review and revise of the Controlled Substance Act is not necessary because if they were to allow marijuana to be allowed people will be more open to using it as they please, if they were to revise this they have to state that marijuana should only be used for medical purposes.

12/12/2012
Irving, Tx
Cristina Perez
Austin/JESA
I think that the federal government should interfere with the way that Washington and Colorado are dealing with the passing of legalization of marijuana.The Constitution is supposed to be the supreme law, over state laws. The states shouldn't be allowed to make something legal that the federal government has made illegal. The Justice Department should fight the state laws on this because the states are openly disobeying the federal law. Therefore, the DEA needs, not should, enforce the laws in these states. No, the federal government shouldn't have to revise it's laws to reflect the laws of few states when the majority of the states won't pass legalizing marijuana.

12/11/2012
Irving/Texas
Monica
Bradley / Nimitz
The federal government should not get involved. For one if they had the chance to stop the legalization of marijuana why didn't they? Like what Rep. Mike Coffman said " I strongly oppose the legalization of marijuana, but i also have an obligation to respect the will of the voters.." If the Colorado and Washington officials could not stop it then how can the federal government? Furthermore why should the Justice of Departments get involved if the Washington and Colorado officials legalized marijuana. If they knew they would have to ask for help and put restrictions on it then simply do not legalize it.

12/11/2012
Irving, TX
Sandra E.
Bradley/Nimitz
When Washington and Colorado made it clear that they wanted the legalization of marijuana the federal government lost the battle. They should leave the states as they are because interfering with the states would cause more problems. Therefore, the Justice Department should let the states do what they please, i mean let them experiment and see what the outcome of the legalization of marijuana will be. There's no point in enforcing anything because there is always going to be drug dealers and consumers out there. The government should just wait and see what happens and hope for the best. Now a days the government will need to decide morally for the citizens or depend on the economic "success" that will over come our debt crisis.

12/11/2012
Irving/Tx.
Katie D
Bradley/Nimitz
The federal government should interfere with how Washington and Colorado are dealing with the passing of legalization of marijuana.The Constitution is supposed to be the supreme law, over state laws. The states shouldn't be allowed to make something legal that the federal government has made illegal. The Justice Department should fight the state laws on this because the states are openly disobeying the federal law. Therefore, the DEA needs (not should) enforce the laws in these states. No, the federal government shouldn't have to revise it's laws to reflect the laws of few states when the majority of the states won't pass legalizing marijuana.

12/11/2012
Irving/TX
Eric I.
Bradley/Nimitz High School
I believe that they shouldn't interfere with the two states. I agree with former Seattle police chief, Norm Stampler, when he says that the government should let the two states be, and let them experiment with the situation. Maybe the legalized marijuana won't be terrible, and it'll maybe change the opinions of the government. Also, they might even want to take the marijuana off of the list from the Controlled Substance Act.

12/10/2012
Irving, TX
Daniela
Austin/JESA
I think that the federal government should come to a compromise with Washington and Colorado. But at the same time, the states should realize that the federal government has more power of them. If they feel very strong about this issue then they should go to court, but if they aren't really concerned then they can turn the other way and let the states do as they wish. Still the federal government in a way should enforce their laws in the states because it wouldn't be fair to other states.

12/10/2012
Irving
Adaline K
Austin/JESA
I believe that the federal government should deal with Washington and Colorado's legalization of marijuana in a way that would let the states choose on what they should allow or not allow. It's their voters' choice on what should be legalized or being illegal. I also think that they should revise the Controlled Substance Act if absolutely needed for the states' purpose, but not revise it if it's not necessary.

12/10/2012
Irving/Tx
Rafael
Austin/JESA
The federal Government should deal with Washington and Colorado's legalization of marijuana because they might bring up good points for the reason those two states wants to legalize it. I think the states should be let to do what they want to do with this huge controversy but the government should also put a limit to it.

12/10/2012
Irving/Texas
Priyank
Austin/ JESA
I think the federal government should have a say in the legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado. They should be able to make the decision they think is best, whether to sure the states to stop legislation of marijuana, or let the states continue without federal intervention. I think the Justice Department should fight the laws in court since they have more power. DEA agents should still enforce the federal laws in those states because people are still gonna be using marijuana for other purposes such as selling it.

12/10/2012
Irving, TX
Chibueze
Austin/JESA
I think the federal government should listen to the states' reasons for having this legalization law before deciding what action to take next. However, the Justice Department shouldn't immediately let the states do what they want right away because the supremacy clause still stands. Therefore, DEA agents should still enforce the federal laws in those states. Even though I believe that marijuana should only be used for medicinal purposes, maybe the federal government should review the Controlled Substance Act once more before taking action.

12/10/2012
Irving, Tx
Sabrina
Austin/JESA
The federal government should, to a certain extent, give the states the right to do what voters indicated they want. DEA agents should continue enforcing the law as usual in states that have not given an indication of their stance on the subject, but in states in which they have, they should perhaps give some leniency. It is, without question, important beyond measure that the federal government review (and maybe revise) the Controlled Substance Act, so there are no qualms about whether the Supremacy Clause is being challenged by the states in question.

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