Overview of Federal-state Law Clash on Medical Marijuana


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Essay #: 059372
Total text length is 4,691 characters (approximately 3.2 pages).

Excerpts from the Paper

The beginning:
Policy Analysis Project: Executive Summary
TO: Jerry Brown, Attorney General of California
FROM: Eda Bifulco
DATE: March 1, 2010
SUBJECT: Overview of federal-state law clash on medical marijuana
The purpose of this memo is to summarize the events surrounding recent federal treatment of California’s Compassionate Use Act of 1996, survey some of the available policy actions, and make a recommendation for action.
Action Forcing Event and Problem Definition
The Compassionate Use Act of 1996 is a California state law that makes the medical use of marijuana legal. However, California law has been challenged by federal authorities who, under the aegis of the Interstate Commerce Clause, have exerted their authority to prosecute medical marijuana...
The end:
.....members of the federal government to get behind the legislation.
Policy option 1 is recommended, for the following reasons: option 2 is likely to be unpopular with California voters, whereas option 3 is unlikely to succeed (and has failed whenever it has been proposed in the Senate). Option 1 recognizes the state’s current powerlessness to fight back against the federal government’s interpretation of the laws, but it also refrains from throwing ordinary Californians under the bus. By defending individual Californians, this policy option signals that the state will provide whatever support it can for medical marijuana users while not being able to bring about the high-level changes needed for a reorientation of federal policy.