Over 20 states have either decriminalized and/or legalized marijuana for medical or personal use. However, state legalization does not change the federal statutes which continue to prohibit the sale and possession of cannabis.
Last week, federal agents from the Drug Enforcement raided several marijuana dispensaries in Washington State. A spokesman for the DEA told the press that the raid was part of a two-year investigation.
Washington State recently legalized small amounts of marijuana for personal use.
Workers from one marijuana dispensary told the press that the agents seized numerous items including marijuana and personal cell phones.
In 2001, the United States Supreme Court held: "There is no medical necessity exception to the Controlled Substances Act's prohibitions on manufacturing and distributing marijuana."
This ruling in essence upheld the federal government's right to prosecute the sale and possession of marijuana even in those states where such sale and possession had been legalized.
Generally, intoxicating substances produce more harm than good. That is not to say however that some people with painful conditions experience symptom relief with intoxicants such as marijuana. It is also naïve to believe that all people will refrain from using pot recreationaly simply because of unwanted consequences. It is not true for tobacco or alcohol, nor will it be true for cannabis.
The most rational path this country can take at this juncture is decriminalization of marijuana. Decriminalization falls short of legalization and will be open the opportunity for mandatory medical intervention in cases where it becomes necessary.
Drug control policies of the United States have at best shown poor results and at worst have proven to be a dismal failure. Future efforts on curbing drug abuse will only demonstrate positive progression if they are medically based. Punitive measures alone will never succeed.