The issue of whether individual states or the federal government should have more power with the legalization of marijuana. There is a clash of laws since there are states that have legalized the use of marijuana while it remains illegal in the federal government. The federal government believes that legalization might result in drug abuse, but states such as Oregon have legalized it for recreational purposes and for treatment. It is sufficient to note that when a law is created by the federal government it needs to be good and fair, but there is a downside because if the total power lies within the federal government, then there will be no room for addressing some of the unjust laws that might affect the citizens of the United States. Therefore, the state should have more power to control what happens in their states, especially with aspects such as the legalization of marijuana.
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The Tenth Amendment in the Bill of Rights provides the options for the state to provide for the rights of individuals in the specific states especially when these rights are not guaranteed by the federal government. Therefore, the forefathers believed that federalism had significance and will prove to be more effective in matters such as the legalization of marijuana. Since the beginning of time, the founding fathers strongly believed in a limited centralized governance system and thus this was meant to restrict the responsibilities of the federal government. Thus, since the conception of the idea of having state government with the power to decide on issues such as marijuana legalization, then there is a myriad of benefits with this concept. One of the benefits is that the states will get empowered to make some of the tough decisions rather than only the federal governments having overall say on decisions. The empowerment of states will allow individuals to choose some of the states that best suits their values.
It is worth noting that the legalization of marijuana in some states is to enhance treatment purposes or even for recreational purposes. Notably, states have distinct systems of such as hospitals and pain management therefore through ensuring that an individual truly needs marijuana by running tests and examining the patients then it will be for the benefit of the citizen of that state. Furthermore, the legalization for recreational activities also helps in ensuring that adults can get their rights sorted. In this case for legalization with regards to recreation, then there are aspects such as advertisement and accessibility which might impact adolescents into marijuana abuse (Mason et al.). Moreover, individuals tend to incorporate objective perception of risks, and therefore the argument that refutes an increase in the use is associated with the perceived outcomes among the youths (Blevins et al). This is more reasonable than having a law that might violate the rights of some of the people especially those who are relying on marijuana for treatment. Therefore, individual states should have power vs federal government in the legalization of marijuana because they understand their social institutions.
National supremacy has been the norm in several states especially during the 1970s and onwards when the national government was solely involved in coming up with initiatives that will so the control of the use of marijuana among many states. Individuals are predisposed to the idea of making their own choices in their respective states and therefore if individuals in the state embarked on disagreements regarding certain laws then the federal government might intervene and help in settling the issues or even the individuals moving into states that are consistent with the legalization of marijuana.
Finally, through allowing the state government the power to enact their own laws with regards to the legalization of marijuana many other states are able to learn. The implication here is that the states might influence the decisions of other states with regards to such issues. For, instance according to studies undertaken, it is evident that the rates of use of marijuana among states such as Oregon, Alaska, Nevada and others, it is evident that the rate of adolescent use of marijuana is higher as compared to states that has not legalized it, but it also believed that the rates were still higher even before the legalization in the particular states (Hasin et al). This will also help some states learn about the consequences of undertaking the laws for legalization. It is efficient to note that without the powers the state will not be able to gain experience with some of the legislation. This is controversial and might infringe the rights of people in the particular state.
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From the essay, it is evident that state powers are more crucial especially when focusing on issues such as the legalization of marijuana. It is worth noting that federalism is in the Bill of Rights and thus the founding fathers of the nation foresaw the significance of ensuring a decentralized system of government in issues that tend to be controversial. Furthermore, allocating power to state government provides an opportunity for individuals to have choices that benefits them rather than being held hostage with laws that limits liberty, especially with regards to using marijuana for treatment and recreational purposes. Finally, state powers provide an experience to other states which are preparing with dealing with marijuana legislation, as they can get insights of the impacts of the decisions they will undertake when implementing legislation concerning marijuana.
- Blevins, Claire E., et al. “The Implications of Cannabis Policy Changes in Washington on Adolescent Perception of Risk, Norms, Attitudes, and Substance Use.” Substance abuse: research and treatment 12 (2018): 1178221818815491.
- Hasin, Deborah S., et al. “Medical marijuana laws and adolescent marijuana use in the USA from 1991 to 2014: results from annual, repeated cross-sectional surveys.” The Lancet Psychiatry 2.7 (2015): 601-608.
- Mason, W. Alex, et al. “Washington State recreational marijuana legalization: Parent and adolescent perceptions, knowledge, and discussions in a sample of low-income families.” Substance use & misuse 50.5 (2015): 541-545.
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