I read Kevin Drum almost every day, and today he hit a bunch of issues that I think are worth thinking about. One of them is this one. It talks about Obama's vexing about face on medical marijuana. In light of recent discussions, it strikes me that this is a perfect area for federalism. The federal government could choose to take itself out of the field and let states deal with it. It is a highly contested area, with lots of possible solutions. Why not let different states try different things? If you want to live in a marijuana-free state, fine. If not, also fine. Is marijuana really so important that we need a broad national strategy to deal with it?
Instead, look what is happening:
As fear of federal prosecution lessened, more states began adopting or considering medical marijuana laws; where the practice was already legal (as it was in California), there was a boom in the marijuana trade. Operating in a grey market between the federal prohibition and untested state rules, dispensaries of all kinds operated without much supervision.
....Though law enforcement officials could not point to any commensurate increase in crime, all that activity made the federal government uneasy: It realized that tacitly allowing states to regulate medical marijuana had far-reaching consequences that it wasn’t entirely comfortable with
Now isn't that interesting. The feds couldn't find any evidence of the alleged purpose for regulating marijuana (crime) but nevertheless they felt that letting it out of their control made them uneasy. So....the Obama administration decided to reassert their authority and crack down. That is a classic centralized government fear and a classic centralized government response. It doesn't have to be that way. We could have states that decide they don't want marijuana and other states that decide they don't care. Like many things, marijuana just isn't important enough to require a national government response. You could have your opinion on it, and I could have mine, and different states could have legislation that dealt with it differently.
That is the vision our United States was founded on, and we could probably use a little more of it.