NYT op-doc on medical pot grower in MT who faces life in prison

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11 Responses to “NYT op-doc on medical pot grower in MT who faces life in prison”

  1. EH says:

    Tell me the NYT didn’t embargo this story until after the election.

  2. Alpacaman says:

     Can someone please explain to me (as a(n ignorant) foreigner) how Federal and State laws can differ? Who then enforces what? Is anything done about discrepancies?

    • My understanding is that the original intention of the US founders was that the Constitution would really be the extent of the federal government. It sets up our basic human rights and the way that the executive, judicial, and legislative branches work. The intention was that the federal government would be a regulatory body for the state governments, meaning laws could vary widely between states as long as they upheld the basic rights set forth in the constitution. However, it hasn’t worked out that way. The federal government has seen fit to make laws about drugs, marriage, and a huge variety of other things that they really don’t have the constitutional right to stick their nose in (and I’m saying this as a liberal– although I do think marriage should be a human right). At this point, the feds can basically pull rank over the state. I don’t know if the state really has any recourse.

      • Alpacaman says:

         Great, this makes more sense to me now, cheers.

      • C W says:

        “The federal government has seen fit to make laws about drugs, marriage, and a huge variety of other things that they really don’t have the constitutional right to stick their nose in”

        Civil Rights legislation of all variety…

    • AnthonyC says:

      Corl has the right idea. Historically, the states would have each been sovereign after the revolution but chose to join together to form the US. The Constitution explains what powers the Federal gov’t should have. Over the years the federal gov’t has expanded beyond that by interpreting vague passages broadly. For example, the power to regulate interstate commerce has over time expanded to include any product, any part of which crosses state lines – including drugs. When lawsuits challenge whether a state or the federal government has the power to pass and enforce a law it has passed, the Supreme Court gets to decide who is right. It can declare laws (federal or state) or parts of laws unconstitutional.

      In this particular instance, both the federal and state governments have laws about marijuana. Essentially, what the states are doing is saying “We are no longer going to prosecute people for marijuana use at the state level under these conditions,” and in some cases “We aren’t going to help the federal government enforce their laws either.” But the federal government can and does do its own investigating and prosecuting, which is what is going on here.

  3. boise427 says:

    If every federal agent involved in this were fired tomorrow and not replaced, the country would be better off.

  4. anansi133 says:

    I’m curious now about the fate of state prisoners in CO and WA who are now serving time for something that is no longer illegal. Do they get transferred to federal facilities? Do they get to go free?

    I imagine those serving in federal prsions for these crimes are just SOL, they merely enjoy a status change from petty criminal to political prisoner.

  5. Jack Acme says:

    Be sure to check out the Times Op-Ed from 11/7 by one Ed Gogek entitled “A Bad Trip For Democrats.” The writer claims to be an expert on addiction and lays out some typical arguments against medicalization or legalization. The punch line is that the guy is a homeopath!

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