Pubdate: Mon, 09 Feb 2009
Source: Arbiter, The (Boise State, ID Edu)
Copyright: 2009 The Arbiter
Author: Katherine Thornton
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Did you happen to catch the film "Super High Me?" The documentary
follows comedian and former High Times "Stoner of the Year" Doug
Benson as he smokes massive amounts of weed.

Benson first abstains from smoking for 30 days and is given a battery
of tests. After the first period of sobriety, Benson smokes copious
amounts of weed for 30 days and is given the same battery of tests.
The results are surprising and amusing. Just as surprising  is the
more serious topic addressed in the film: California's medical
marijuana movement.

In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 215, which removed
criminal penalties for the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
Thus, if you can get a board certified physician to write you a
prescription for marijuana, the state of California will not 
prosecute you criminally for being in possession. Making it seem
easy, Benson flashes his legally obtained medical marijuana card and
tours different  medical marijuana clubs all over California.

Yes, these clubs could be heaven on earth, until the Drug Enforcement
Administration drops by.

"Super High Me" also addresses the DEA raiding businesses that
distribute marijuana. How can they do that? Is our federal government
justified in shutting down hard-working, properly licensed, perfectly
legitimate tax-paying businesses?

According to National Public Radio, the medical marijuana industry
produced more than $100 million in tax revenue for the state of
California in 2007. When state and federal laws compete, which
succeed and which triumph?

"It is a system of shared powers, which means it is always subject to
interpretation and controversy," Gary  Moncrief, professor of
political science at Boise State University, said.

OK, so the DEA does have jurisdiction, but why? Moncrief clarified
that the states' power of self government has changed over time.

"Fiscal federalism makes the system much more complex because areas
that at one time were left to the states (police powers, education,
health, etc.) are now shared because the federal government provides
some funding in exchange for some say in the policies," Moncrief said.

The simple conclusion is the American public is allowed an increase
in the federal government's power.

When asked, Boise State students thought the power should be with

"The national government is worried about [49] other states," Chris
Bermensolo, a sophomore in the nursing department, said. "With states
you're just worried about the people who are located within the state."

The citizens of California who passed Proposition 215 are putting
state rights to practice, but ultimately the federal government holds
the cards in this issue. There are several other issues, such as
health care and other social programs, which ride this line between 
state and federal power. These programs affect us directly whether
you're a recipient of these programs or your taxes fund them. So,
take a step back and ask yourself this question, who do you want
deciding the public policy's that affect you in your everyday life?
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin