Could the federal government overturn its medical marijuana ban?

attempt to end the federal government’s blanket ban on marijuana. The concern is that — while the current administration is fairly lax about enforcing the drug’s ban, allowing the states to determine if medical marijuana can or should be legalized — future administrations may crack down on federal bans and overturn all existing (and future) state laws that allow for legalized pot. “While President Obama and the Justice Department have allowed the will of voters … to move forward, small business owners, medical marijuana patients, and others who follow state laws still live with the fear that a new administration — or this one — could reverse course and turn them into criminals,” said Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado, who introduced one of the two bills. “It is time for us to replace the failed prohibition with a regulatory system that works, and let states and municipalities decide for themselves if they want, or don’t want, to have legal marijuana within their borders.” Together, if passed, the federal bills would relegate marijuana to the same class as alcohol, transferring its regulatory control to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as well as set up an excise tax on regulated cannabis. Neither bill would make marijuana legal in every state; it would still be up to each state to regulate and pass laws regarding its usage, production and sale. Currently, four states and Washington D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana usage, and 23 states have legalized cannabis for medical use. Meanwhile, other states continue to consider legalization. Utah Sen. Mark Madsen has prepared a bill that would allow for medical marijuana dispensaries in the state — similar to state-run liquor stores — which could sell marijuana oils, lozenges and edible goods for those with a doctor’s diagnosis of specific medical problems. While Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has yet to see Sen. Madsen’s bill, his spokesman stated that he is opposed to medical marijuana being legal. Tennessee is also considering two bills that state representatives hope will make medical marijuana legal. One of those bills would make it so users of the drug would not be able to be penalized by employers, landlords, educators or lawyers for utilizing the drug. Both bills are currently out at committee.]]>

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