A critique of the Marijuana Policy


Acritique of the Marijuana Policy

Acritique of the Marijuana Policy

Importantelements in the marijuana policy

TheFederal government controls drugs through the Controlled SubstancesAct (CSA: P.L 91-513: 21 U.S.C). According to Kamin and Dinan(2015), currently, the federal government prohibits the production,distribution and possession of marijuana even for medical andrecreational purposes. Over the last few decades some states havedeviated from the federal laws on the use of marijuana and formulatedtheir laws allowing the use of marijuana for medical and recreationalpurposes. Some states such as California have gone a step further andinitiated decriminalized initiatives (Pacula,Chriqui and King, 2003).

Oneimportant element of the policy is the current legalization ofmarijuana use in the United States. Marijuana is considered underfederal law as highly dangerous and addictive drug. Therefore,illegal production and distribution of marijuana is a serious crime.Currently, the federal government has laid much emphasis on themedical marijuana patients and caregivers. Over the last few years,many people and private hospitals have been targets for violating themarijuana policy. Currently the federal and state laws regardingmarijuana use are in conflict. Many states argue that marijuana formedical and recreational purposes should be allowed to prevent othercrimes such as drug abuse, corruption and drug trafficking(Kamin andDinan, 2015).

Anotherimportant element of the marijuana policy is regulation and taxation.In some states such as Washington and Colorado, voters voted forlegalization, regulation and taxation of recreational use of smallamounts of marijuana. This part of the policy has various issueswhich are yet to be resolved since the federal law prohibits any useof marijuana. Currently,. They are hot debates from the publicpushing the federal government to amend the marijuana policy to allowregulation and decriminalization of small amounts of the drug(Pacula, Chriqui and King, 2003).

Whatissues /concerns does the policy address?

Currently,the marijuana policy addresses the issue of large-scale traffickingat the organizational and not individual level. The policy is aimedat regulating the large-scale production and distribution ofmarijuana, a trend that is affecting so many youths. The currentmarijuana policy does not recognize the need to legalize marijuanafor medical and recreational purposes. According to the policy, thelegalization of medical and recreational marijuana will lead toloopholes where drug traffickers and dirty organization n willproduce and distribute the drug at large scale. The pressing issueregarding the policy is the conflict between the state and federallaws concerning medical marijuana. According to Hudak(2015), with the current trend, there is a high probability that manystates will deviate from the federal law and support the legalizationof medical and recreational marijuana.

Anotherissue addressed by the marijuana policy is adherence to the marijuanalaw. Currently, the United States Supreme Court holds that thefederal government has the constitutional authority to prohibitmarijuana for all purposes. Therefore, the federal enforcementofficial have the mandate to prosecute medical marijuana patientseven if they grow medicine and reside in state where medicalmarijuana use is legalized. It means that in terms of adherence, thepolicy has several issues to address in ensuring that all states aregoverned by common clauses(Kamin and Dinan,2015). The policy aims to ensure that all states ensure theirresidents abide by the laws established to prohibit the production,cultivation and distribution of marijuana at a large scale.

Isthe policy effective?

Ibelieve that the current marijuana policy is ineffective. There areseveral factors leading to inefficiency of the policy. First andforemost, the federal government might be making a huge mistake byprohibiting marijuana for medical and recreational purposes. Thereare congress proposals that the Obama government should work hard toresolve the conflict between the federal and state law regardingmarijuana use. The federal government has a mandate andresponsibility to come up with a marijuana policy that applies in allstates to ensure it’s effective. Currently, the policy is facingvarious challenges such as the conflicts between the federal andstate laws and variance in adherence across various states.


Theexisting dispute revolves around the federal and the statesdifferences in policy, involving marijuana legalization. According toPacula,Chriqui &amp King, (2003) the United States Supreme Court statesthat according to the constitution, federal state has the power torule out the use of marijuana irrespective of the policies placed inplace by the states. This is in regard to use of marijuana forrecreational and medicinal purpose. Following these disagreementsthat exist between the federal and the state government, and theeffectiveness of the policy in the states where it has beenlegalised, the federal government should harmonise the use ofmarijuana in all states for uniformity.

Thisis following the rampant use of the same irrespective of the policiesbanning the use of marijuana both for medicinal and recreationalpurposes. Citing a case in the early 17thcentury when the united state government came up with a policybanning the use, sale or production of alcohol, the ban of medicinaland recreational marijuana use should be lifted at federal level. Theban of alcohol forced people to illegally smuggle alcohol from othercountries and its use became so rampant that the government wasforced to amend the policy to legalise its use. Similarly, marijuanashould be legalised for medicinal and recreational purpose, as longas its use is in small scale as congress is currently proposing(Seghetti&amp Bjelopera, 2012).


Alternativelythe federal government should strictly enforce the policy against theuse of marijuana for whichever purpose (Seghetti&amp Bjelopera, 2012).This way, the various states policies will be compelled to adjust tothe federal policy and there will be an existing uniform policyoutlawing the use of recreation al and medicinal marijuana. Thisuniformity would promote conformity and create very clear guidelineson federal policy on marijuana use so that the law enforcement agentscan to prosecute the would be law breakers (Seghetti&amp Bjelopera, 2012).This way, the existing conflict between the federal government andthe states over policy issues would be resolved amicably.


Legalizationof marijuana in the United States for either medicinal orrecreational purpose has been a hotly debated topic. This isconsidering the positive medicinal and recreational effects it hasbeen found to have on its users especially in the states where it islegalized on small scale use. The major concern is the large scaledistribution of the same and the abuse by traffickers across thevarious states forcing the federal government to term it as a highlydangerous drug. The existing conflict between the states and thefederal government on policy matters revolving the use of marijuanashould be reviewed critically to ensure a workable compromise hasbeen reached to solve the situation.


HudakJ. (2015). MarijuanaPolicy in 2015: Eight Big Things to Watch.Available at: http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/fixgov/posts/2015/01/08-marijuana-policy-2015-things-to-watch-hudak

KaminS. &amp DinanJ. (2015). Marijuanalegalization in the American states: recent developments andprospects.Available at: See more at:http://blog.oup.com/2015/07/marijuana-legalization-america/#sthash.prp76sNa.dpuf

Pacula,R. L., Chriqui, J. F., &amp King, J. (2003). MarijuanaDecriminalization: What does it mean in the United States?(No. w9690). National Bureau of Economic Research.

Seghetti,L. M., &amp Bjelopera, P. J. (2012), CRSReport for Congress Prepared for Members and Committees of CongressThe Violence Against Women Act: Overview, Legislation, and FederalFunding.CRS Report for Congress.