Document Type

Social Sciences


The recent successful ballot initiatives in Colorado and Washington to legalize recreational marijuana despite restrictive federal law continue to demonstrate the disconnect between national and state marijuana policy. In order to understand how many of these national policies were enacted, an investigation will be presented of the discriminatory history of marijuana legislation, indicating the inconsistent nature of past regulation. Thus following will be an examination of relevant Supreme Court cases depicting the Supreme Court’s ultimate hesitation to prevent the states from circumventing federal marijuana law. Finally, a discussion will be held on the ramifications of inconsistent state and national policies, which create a system that is at odds with the principles of the Constitution. In the face of growing public support for medical marijuana and increased state action towards allowing more access to the drug for medical and even recreational purposes, the federal government should reexamine its policies in order to maintain a healthy democracy.