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Medical Marijuana Situation Not So Hazy

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In the ongoing pot wars between the voters (who approved medical marijuana in 1999) and their hired help (the elected politicians who continue to defy voters and throw up roadblock after roadblock in the face of medical marijuana dispensaries), the same argument keeps cropping up: The conflict between the voter-approved state law legalizing medical use of marijuana and existing federal laws banning it leave California's cities and counties stuck in the middle.

For those politicians who are mostly interested in providing the appearance of abiding by voters' directives while actually thumbing their noses at them, it's a great argument to trot out.

Unfortunately for said politicians, the law is settled on this point ---- and not on their side.

And it's been settled law for more than a century and a half.

In 1793, Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Law ---- which said that any slave who escaped to a free state had to be returned to his or her rightful "owner." Northern abolitionists were disgusted by this law, and many northern state legislatures passed laws designed to counter this and provide safe haven for escaped slaves seeking their freedom.

Things came to a head when a bounty hunter named Edward Prigg was arrested for taking a black woman and her children from Pennsylvania back to her purported "owners" in Maryland. Pennsylvania authorities had Prigg arrested, and he was tried and convicted.

He filed a federal lawsuit (Prigg vs. Pennsylvania) seeking to have his conviction overturned, arguing that state law cannot supersede federal law. In 1842, the Supreme Court agreed ---- and overturned his conviction. However, the decision by the court noted that while states may not defy federal legislation or interfere with federal agents enforcing U.S. law, nothing in the Constitution requires states to enforce federal laws.

That principle stands today, and we see it in use daily with cities across the Southwest refusing to allow their police officers to enforce federal immigration law.

So, too, do the people of California have the right to prohibit any state or local officials from enforcing federal laws regarding marijuana.

And so the city of San Marcos is not "caught in the middle" between federal and state laws regarding medical marijuana. Its mandate is clear: Obey the voters and provide reasonable guidelines for the establishment and operation of medical marijuana dispensaries within city limits.

And if the DEA comes and busts them?

I guess we'll just have to accept the fact that our politicians will be cheering that.

News Hawk- Jacob Husky 420 MAGAZINE
Source: nctimes.com
Author: Jim Trageser
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: North County Times - The Californian
Website: TRAGESER: Medical marijuana situation not so hazy
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