What Happens When Federal Law Overrules State Law?

As in the case of the latest round of marijuana referendums, which should apply - state law as decided by the will of the people or federal law?

Tuesday was a happy day for pot smokers in a couple of states. Colorado and Washington both approved referendums that allowed for legalizing marijuana - and not just for medicinal purposes. They went for it all.

According to Minnpost.com, although 18 states and the District of Columbia have now approved marijuana for medical purposes, history was made in Tuesday’s election when Colorado and Washington voted to legalize it for recreational purposes.

The problem comes, however, with federal law. It does not recognize any legal use of the drug. This has already caused problems in other states, which legalized it for medical purposes. You can buy it - according to state law, you just can’t grow or sell it - according to federal law.

According to Minnpost.com, federal agents have already cracked down on growers and sellers in other states that have legalized it for medical purposes. So what really was the whole point of legalizing it if you can't legally obtain it. While economists were predicting a high for state coffers as well as those recreational users, it will likely also boost the bottom line for defense attorneys.

So which law should apply – federal or state?

Tom Doolittle November 09, 2012 at 06:03 PM
This is just one more example where "constitutionalist" states are exerting their rights in contest with the Feds. Some for good, some downright backward. In this case, the Feds should have learned a lesson after alcohol prohibition-- lots of unneeded violence, misallocation of resources, legislating behavior, public corruption, artificially inflated pricing...all for what...prohibiting the use of a natural substance that can cure diseases and ease pain. All for who? Follow the money.
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