As Pogie so clearly pointed out, our current batch of legislators seems uniquely unable to solve some very real problems with our medical marijuana system. It is also increasingly clear that the Federal Government is happy to use those problems as an excuse to ‘solve’ our medical marijuana system anyway.
I was furious when I read about the marijuana raids, but I held off writing about it for two reasons. One, I try to keep it professional here, and my brain was not coming up with a civil way to respond to what happened. But two, I figured there was more going on. As more details have come out, and there is insistence that policy hasn’t changed, a few things are becoming clear.
1. Some caregivers are involved in shady business. Selling cannabis to people without cards, selling guns to federal agents, tax fraud – these are still crimes, and frankly I think Montana has been negligent in enforcing these.
2. The Federal Government is singularly unsuited to enforcing these laws, because even performing a search on a business growing cannabis means that they will likely destroy tens of thousands of dollars worth of products and equipment. Because their primary goal is still the enforcement of federal law, it is an awkward and destructive mismatch to have them trying to enforce state laws.
Now I’m far from the first to point out that the TEA party has been notably silent on these issues. However, I think this is a perfect time to actually use the suddenly popular rhetoric of the TEA party to fix a serious problem. As numerous states are developing their individual laws for the enforcement of medical marijuana, it is clear that it is inappropriate to continue using federal agents to enforce marijuana laws. The competing claims of inflexible federal law and increasingly ration (if poorly enforce) state laws make for an awkward relationship between state and federal authorities and a nigh impossible situation for caregivers. For once, the solution actually is state’s rights, but not in the nullification party envisions.
If there really is such a TEA revolution on a national level, why don’t we change this intrusive and ineffective law on a national level – remove any federal legislation regarding cannabis (except probably for importation or transport across state borders, as that’s still clearly a federal issue), and let the states handle it, same as we do with gambling, prostitution, etc. I’m not necessarily ready to jump into the legalization camp yet, but those 33 percent of Americans who do would undoubtedly support leaving it in the states’ hands will likely support letting states decide the extent of their own crusades against this plant. Combine that with the percentage of Americans who will support near anything that has to do with weakening the federal government, and there may well be a powerful political force there. I would say it is certainly worth a try – the worst that could happen is that the TEA party, when pressed, would admit that they really couldn’t care less about liberty.