It is time for the federal government to stop sending mixed signals on marijuana, Yaroch writes.(Photo: Mathew Sumner / AP)
It is time for the federal government to stop sending mixed signals on marijuana.
In 2008, a citizens-initiated ballot proposal passed in Michigan which allowed for medical use of marijuana, and this year, the state of Michigan will start to issue licenses for medical marijuana operations. But, while Michigan is one of 29 states who have passed laws allowing marijuana use in some form, it remains illegal under federal law.
This has created a very real conflict between the state and federal government. In the 10 years since Michigan voters approved the medical marijuana ballot proposal, the direction we have received from Washington, D.C., has been inconsistent, at best. Congress has restricted funding for enforcement in states that have legalized marijuana, yet federal regulators tell banks and credit unions they cannot do financial services with these operations. Most recently, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has given discretion to local federal prosecutors as to whether to enforce marijuana laws in states like ours. This uncertainty has caused great confusion in Michigan as the Legislature tries to follow the will of the people, while knowing that our approved legislation violates federal law. Specifically, this conflict between Michigan and federal law has created problems related to law enforcement, property zoning, banking and taxation.
It is not for the attorney general under any president to decide whether marijuana will be legal and where to enforce the law (or ignore it); it is Congress’s duty under the U.S. Constitution to decide what the law will be when it comes to marijuana. And the time is now for Congress to make a simple decision: either stand by the current law banning