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Legalization of medical marijuana - Essay Example

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Summary to essay on topic "Legalization of medical marijuana"
Despite the strong voter support and health advocates for the legalization of medical marijuana, the Congress still holds the power to decide if states will be able to legalize the drug. Many Americans do not feel that this is fair, however, the Congress can prohibit the drug's legalization according to the United States Constitution, the U.S…
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Download file "Legalization of medical marijuana" to see previous pages... According to the Drug Policy Alliance, during the year 1999, the most comprehensive study of medical marijuana's effectiveness to date by the Institute of Medicine, concluded, "Nausea, appetite loss, pain and anxietyall can be mitigated by marijuana." This statement opened the doors for many people in over 26 states to support the legalization of the drug.
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However, despite the strong support for the legalization, Congress still holds firm that they will not allow the legalization without their approval, regardless of the majority of Americans who have voted to legalize the drug.
In July of 1787, five members of the Committee of Detail began arranging and preparing the United States Constitution. This Committee was in favor of allowing the United States Constitution to have "essential principles only; lest the operations of government should be clogged by rendering those provisions permanent and unalterable which ought to be accommodated to times and events."
During their task they were able to enumerate 18 powers for Congress, the 18th power being the "Elastic Clause." This clause gave Congress the complete authority "to make all laws that shall be necessary for carrying into execution the foregoing powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States." The Committee decided that along with the decision to enforce the "Elastic Clause" they would also implement the "Supremacy Clause".
According to article VI, Paragraph 2 of the United States Constitution the "Supremacy Clause" states, "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding."
This portion of the United State Constitution solidifies the fact that everyone must follow the federal law even if it conflicts with state law. Valid state laws or court orders cannot override the federal law because the United States Constitution clearly states that federal law is supreme to anything in the Constitution or laws from any state to the contrary notwithstanding. These two clauses make it nearly impossible for a state to legalize medical marijuana without authority from the U.S. Congress.
June 14, 2005 lawmakers of the House of Representatives voted 161-264 against a law stating that the federal government could not prosecute patients who use medical marijuana under a physician's orders in states that allow the practice. The Congress could have had the opportunity to prohibit the Justice Department from spending money to undermine state medical marijuana laws, however, the 161 votes for the bill did not pass even though it was the most votes that had ever been received during the past three years that the amendment has been offered. This vote came one week after a 6-3 ruling by the Supreme Court that the federal government can still enforce national anti-drug laws in the states that allow medical marijuana uses. This decision ultimately gave Congress the right to regulate and decide about medical marijuana use regardless of state laws.
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