Marijuana Laws in Seattle

Over the past decades, marijuana has been categorized among schedule 1 drugs due to the health and safety related issues associated with its use. However, in the recent past, the public opinion about its recreational use has been shifting, with various states decriminalizing the use of pot. In fact, the move by the Seattle Police Department to clinch to “The Dude” personality might cause the mayor to have some concerns. Primarily, individuals might misapprehend the approach to mean that marijuana has been decriminalized. The implication of this misinterpretation would be that numerous numbers of individuals, including the younger generation, would start or continue to use pot because of the view that there would be no felony or penalties if caught by police using it. Indeed, increased pot use would have a wide range of repercussions, including addiction, brain damage, and road impairment (Hanson et al., 2015; Cerdá et al., 2015). The embracement of the Dude character by police would yield negative results in the prevention of the use of pot. Any police department with the intentions of leading in the prevention of the use of cannabis sativa should develop approaches that are not misleading to the members of the public.

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In my opinion, the federal laws should take precedence over the state laws in instances where the two laws conflict, such as in the case of marijuana. In the United States, a law applies to instances where the federal and state laws diverge, known as the supremacy clause and is a section in the article VI of the United States’ Constitution. The clause has a doctrine of pre-emption that indicates that the federal law should prevail in the case of a conflicting statute. Therefore, in the current scenario where state law endorses the personal use of pot, and the state law schedules it among the Schedule 1 substance due to the health and social implications associated with its use, the federal legislature should prevail (Statement, 2015).

Upon asking what the federal government is likely to do, my answer to the mayor would be that it could use the threat of asset and forfeiture to close the state-licensed dealings. The federal implementing agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Agency have an option for the cases they pursue, and just like other government agencies, they hold budget constrictions to consider. For instance, in the year 2011, the Deputy Attorney General by the name James Cole issued a memo that instructed various federal implementing agencies to augment their priority or take legal action on growers as well as dispensaries that were viewed as contributing to the prohibited supply of marijuana by the federal law (Americans for Safe Access, 2013). In fact, since the release of this memo, many dispensaries have become targets of the federal enforcement agencies.

The federal prosecutors start by sending desists and cease letters that instruct the owners of dispensaries to close their operations or risk being prosecuted by the federal government. Should the premise be rented, another letter is issued to the landlord warning him or her that if he allows the business to continue, he risks losing the asset through forfeiture to the federal government. Owing to the fact that federal laws treat cannabis sativa like other controlled drugs, including heroin and cocaine, punishment for people found guilty is usually very steep. In essence, the federal administration has been committed to giving the highest standards of health and wellness to the public, and the use of cannabis sativa for medical use is not an excuse.                  

 

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References

Americans for safe Access. 2013. Federal Marijuana Law available at http://www.safeaccessnow.org/federal_marijuana_law

Cerdá, M., Wall, M., Keyes, K. M., Galea, S., & Hasin, D. (2012). Medical marijuana laws in 50 states: Investigating the relationship between state legalization of medical marijuana and marijuana use, abuse and dependence. Drug and Alcohol Dependence120(1-3), 22-27.

Hanson, G., Venturelli, P. J., & Fleckenstein, A. E. (2015). Drugs and society.

Statement, P. (2015). The Impact of Marijuana Policies on Youth: Clinical, Research, and Legal Update. Pediatrics135(3), 584-587. 

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