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Marijuana and gay marriage: New study explores their legal link

Categories: Marijuana

civil union hands 205x205.jpg
Same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization aren't natural bedfellows, as it were. But do the topics have more in common than seems obvious at first blush? Jonathan Rauch thinks so. In a new Brookings Institution study on view below in its entirety, he maintains that just as states have the right to establish their own marriage laws -- an argument that may doom the Defense of Marriage Act, which was challenged this week in the U.S. Supreme Court -- they should also be allowed to do likewise when it comes to pot.

The philosophy explored in "Washington Versus Washington (and Colorado): Why the States Should Lead on Marijuana Policy" couldn't be more timely.

jonathan rauch.jpg
Jonathan Rauch.
As we've noted, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has said several times since the passage of Amendment 64, which allows adults 21 and over in Colorado to use and possess small amounts of marijuana, that a federal response to the measure would be coming soon.

Nearly four months after Governor John Hickenlooper signed A64 into law, "soon" still isn't here. And while President Barack Obama's announced visit to Colorado next month has prompted a new round of rumors that a decision is imminent, it's unlikely that the POTUS will take a break from discussing his main reason for the trip -- promoting gun-control laws -- to buzz about weed.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court heard arguments against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) this week, and Justice Anthony Kennedy -- thought to be the likely swing vote on the issue -- seemed to suggest that the law might be an unconstitutional usurpation of states' rights.

With DOMA, Kennedy said, "you are at real risk of running in conflict with what has always been thought to be the essence of the State police power, which is to regulate marriage, divorce, custody."

Justice Anthony Kennedy.jpg
Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Should the same philosophy be applied to marijuana, which voters in Colorado and Washington have legalized, albeit with limitations? Rauch, a contributing editor for the National Journal and The Atlantic, thinks that they do.

He introduces the subject like so:

When Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana by decisive margins in initiatives last November, they set up not just one but two conflicts. The first, of course, is about drug policy. No less important, albeit less widely noticed, is a conflict about power. To what extent can and should the states act independently of the federal government on an issue with national ramifications? The choices that Colorado and both Washingtons make over the coming months are likely to affect the course not only of drug policy but of state-federal relations for years to come.

The American public is closely divided on whether marijuana should be legal. But it has a clear preference on the question of how to decide. In three recent polls that asked whether the federal government or the states should decide -- or, in a different wording, whether the federal government should let Colorado and Washington implement their legalizations -- respondents favored state leadership by margins ranging from 14 to 25 percentage points. Significantly, CBS News, in November, found that even among those who oppose legalizing marijuana (47 percent -- the same percentage as favored legalizing), 49 percent thought the states should be allowed to decide.

But popular opinion isn't his only reason for arguing that the federal government should leave marijuana to the states.

Continue for more about the legal link between marijuana and gay marriage, including graphics and the complete report.



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78 comments
11er
11er

If only people would come out of the marijuana closet with their bongs, the politicians in D.C. would have no choice but to back it just like they did for GAY marriage...I really can't believe how strong and quick the support came for the gay situation....

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

By the way, when people refer to "states' rights" it's a lazy reference to the tenth amendment, which asserts the so-called legitimate authority of the states, where the US Constitution does not grant enumerated powers to the Federal Government. States don't have rights. People have rights.

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

Framed as you've framed it, pretty much everything has something in common with the two. The Federal Government has a very small list of enumerated powers, and they've made it their business to push the envelope. The Federal Government does not have 99% of the power it pretends to. Sadly, Americans are lousy at saying "NO!"

Mindy Hulin
Mindy Hulin

Indeed they should! The Federal government was not put in place to supercede the State, but to protect the people if the State violated our Constitutional rights. Instead, the Feds are now violating our Constitutional rights...

stuka1
stuka1

The cover story of the current Time magazine says, "Gay marriage has already won: The Supreme Court hasn't made up its mind -- but America has."

Much the same can be said about cannabis, the feds, and the American people.

Davis Bailey
Davis Bailey

Of course they should let us make our own rules, that's the whole fucking point of the state system... O_o

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 Legal FAIL!

The Interstate Commerce Clause is the foundation by which the Feds exert control over DRUGS, including Marijuana.

Marriage -- gay or otherwise -- does not fall under the Feds ICC purview, there is no rational comparison.

BTW: The argument of "State's Rights" was decided in favor of the Feds -- back in 1865. 


Peter Dunn
Peter Dunn

Only if they enforce the constitutional provision that states honor each other's laws.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@2006KLIDstupidstoner 

70+ years of Pot Prohibition and Clueless Stoners still haven't attained the political competency to overturn it.

Drunkards overturned Alcohol Prohibition in only 13 years.

Stoners + Politics = Epic Fail!


btw -- being a stupid stoner is a choice, unlike being gay.

hth.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident ... so much for your precious pistols defending against Government Tyranny, eh Comrade ?


Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

@Mindy Hulin The "union" jumped the shark when it used the civil war amendments--a blunt instrument, to do the surgery of excising slavery. Actually, the Federal Government wasn't even put into place to protect "our constitutional rights," as the so-called "incorporation" of the bill of rights into the rights of individuals against the states was a feature of the civil war amendments, and never did any such thing beforehand. That's why most of those same rights are, and always were, listed in state constitutions--because the state constitution does what you think the US Constitution always did.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@Mindy Hulin Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Mindy. Much appreciated.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@stuka1 ... except that Stupid Stoners + Politics = Epic FAIL!

Gay marriage will be legal nationwide LONG before marijuana.

... because of bong-sucking losers like you

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Davis Bailey ... you Confederates should have thought of that before you LOST the Civil War.


Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay The Interstate Commerce Clause was intended to keep interstate commerce regular (the meaning of regulate in that time and context.) The use of the Interstate Commerce Clause to restrict trade is actually completely fraudulent and opposite of the understanding of the US Constitution when it was ratified.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Peter Dunn ... so now you want the Feds to FORCE States to act against their own interests, as long as you agree with the laws being forced upon them?

Hypocrite much?

stuka1
stuka1

@DonkeyHotay = babbling fucking idiot troll, can't think his way out of a paper bag.

Comparing the history of alcohol prohibition to the history of cannabis prohibition is apples and oranges. You have no fucking sense of history at all. 

Your being a stupid chickenshit whiny pussy is a choice.

stuka1
stuka1

@DonkeyHotay = ignorant pussy troll BEGGING for an ass whipping.

Gay marriage has been fighting and winning state to state for a long time. The cannabis legalization fight is just beginning in the states.

You are a myopic whiny pussy with a big fucking mouth. Its going to get you in serious trouble.

FYI bongs are a HUGE waste. And your Gay is showing again. You really should come out of the closet and ditch the Larry Craig routine.

hth you chickenshit whiny pussy 

ColoradoKid
ColoradoKid

@stuka1 @DonkeyHotay  lol.  Hard for donkey to troll everyone with stuka1 riding him.  lol.  Ride the donkey until she breaks.  Stuka1 is the donkey whisperer!!!!

El_Derpo
El_Derpo

@stuka1 <<<<<<<< dripy derp

El_Derpo
El_Derpo

@stuka1 derp derp derp derp derp

stuka1
stuka1

@DonkeyHotay  

What, are we reading minds here? Why don't you Google their numbers and call them up and ask them while you go fuck yourself with a cactus, you chickenshit whiny pussy? Doesn't that make so much more sense than wasting all your time crying like a scalded bitch all day every day on this irrelevant entertainment blog? 


FUCK, but you are an imbecile.

El_Derpo
El_Derpo

@stuka1 «««««~~~~~ duke of derp

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@stuka1 ... so why did the ignorant fucktards who wrote and promoted A64 deliberately conflate and beg the Government to Regulate Marijuana LIKE Alcohol?


El_Derpo
El_Derpo

@stuka1 ««~~~~~~drunken derpslurper

El_Derpo
El_Derpo

@stuka1 «««««««««« drinks derpstew

stuka1
stuka1


@El_Derpo <<<< stupid fucktard begging for an ass whipping

El_Derpo
El_Derpo

@stuka1 «««««««««««« derp droppings

stuka1
stuka1

@DonkeyHotay 

= irrelevant whiny pussy troll, sucks ChrisTard TURDstone's asshole every night 

El_Derpo
El_Derpo

@stuka1 <<<<~~~~~~ derp slurper

stuka1
stuka1


@El_Derpo yeah youre going to have QUITE the  drooling problem with no fucking teeth

El_Derpo
El_Derpo

@stuka1 <<<<<<<<<< derptown drooler

El_Derpo
El_Derpo

@stuka1 <<<<<<<<<< derp diggler

El_Derpo
El_Derpo

@stuka1 <<~~~~~~~~ derp doofus

El_Derpo
El_Derpo

@ColoradoKid <<===== delusional derpage

El_Derpo
El_Derpo

@stuka1 <<<<<<------ derpopotamus

El_Derpo
El_Derpo

@ColoradoKid

stuka1 <<~~~~~~ derpeater

ColoradoKid
ColoradoKid

 el_derpo = the shit that drops as donkey walks

El_Derpo
El_Derpo

@stuka1 «««««««««« derpy dingus

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