Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie said that if he is elected president, he would crack down on states that have legalized marijuana. He criticized the Obama administration for allowing states to decide their own marijuana policy while it remains illegal at the federal level. As a defense attorney, Governor Christie’s policy seems to be at odds with voters as well as public policy experts who have examined the effectiveness of marijuana reform.
One thing Christie is right about is the need to reform marijuana laws at the federal level. Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule I substance, meaning it is among the most dangerous drugs and has no medicinal benefit. Because of this, states are not free to choose to legalize and tax the drug. The Obama administration has essentially looked the other way as Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska have legalize the drug, but that could change quickly if the next administration chooses to crack down.
This is unfortunate because the early indications have been positive from Colorado and Washington when it comes to marijuana. There has not been an increase in crime or teen usage (in fact, teen usage has actually dropped slightly, but it’s still far too early to draw real conclusions from this) and the tax revenue has been positive. At the very least, these states and others should be allowed to continue with marijuana legalization to draw more conclusions about its effectiveness.
Marijuana legalization also appears to be growing in momentum across the country. In 2016, some states where legalization seems likely include California, Nevada, Arizona, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine. As states continue to force the issue, it seems apparent that the federal government needs to take a hard look at how it classifies marijuana and how much freedom it allows the states in regulating it.
At Kroll & Johnson, we welcome marijuana legalization and think it is generally good for society. Common sense marijuana laws help keep people from life-changing criminal charges and help society more effectively deal with drug use and abuse.
If you have been arrested on a drug charge, a defense attorney at Kroll & Johnson can help. For a free consultation, contact us right away.