A recent poll posted in Marijuana Majority indicates that a large number of Republicans think the Federal government should honor state marijuana laws:
According to the poll, Republican voters believe the next president should do more to respect state marijuana laws without interfering.
An even higher percentage of Democrats and independents expressed the same opinion, according to the poll.
Overall, 71 percent of voters in Iowa and 73 percent of New Hampshire voters believe the federal government should stand down on marijuana enforcement in states that have legalized pot.
One of the factors, possibly one of the main factors, in this “shift” of opinion concerns states’ rights more than marijuana itself. Especially in the wake of Obergefell, a growing number of Republicans are fighting for the sovereignty of statewide laws, no matter what those laws concern. It’s certainly the case that many conservatives who don’t think marijuana should be legal at all would rather pot were legal in a few states rather than legal at the federal level.
Because that’s exactly what transpired in the Obergefell case, and that landmark case might be influencing many conservatives to take a more staunch states’ rights stance on other social issues. Same-sex marriage was already legal in many states, and local opinion was certainly shifting toward effectively legalizing same-sex marriage nationally. But there would have been hold out states, of course, and looking back now, most Republicans would probably have preferred to honor local same-sex marriage laws rather than “force” a national opinion. All of this of course rests on the assumption that homosexuals would have been satisfied with statewide laws. They would not have been. But the principle remains.
Perhaps Republicans, sensing the shift in national opinion on marijuana, are pre-empting a unilateral legalization by asking the next president to respect local laws. Because that cuts both ways, to the benefit of all parties, no matter how deep the disagreement.
Respecting local laws allows some states to maintain illegality no matter the national opinion. Honestly, that is the whole point of federalism and a union of different sovereign states. It allows people with different opinions to live together in relative harmony. The only laws that deserve to be national laws are those which involve the interaction of the states with each other or the interaction of the states as a nation with other nations. All other laws can be more effectively, judiciously, and reasonably handled at the state and local level.
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