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Q: Federalism - state v. national ( No Answer,   2 Comments )
Subject: Federalism - state v. national
Category: Reference, Education and News > Current Events
Asked by: wbahl-ga
List Price: $3.00
Posted: 17 Nov 2006 14:13 PST
Expires: 17 Dec 2006 14:13 PST
Question ID: 783656
Legal question: How is a state law that conflicts with a federal law
resolved (medical marijauna use in CA)?

I am teaching the concept of federalism to my students. We are
examining a recent case in California where the County of San Diego is
suing to overturn a law (proposition 215) that allows for the medical
use of marijuana. Marijuana is listed as a schedule 1 narcotic (most
dangerous classification) by the federal government. I am not debating
the merits of the law one way or another. I am interested in finding
out how the federal law that bans the use of marijuana is resolved
with the state law in CA that allows for the use of medical marijuana.
How does the federal government punish a person for doing something
that is legal in the State of California? I am sorry if this is
confusing, but I am trying to understand it myself.

Request for Question Clarification by mvguy-ga on 17 Nov 2006 18:04 PST
How detailed of an answer do you need?

If it would be a sufficient answer, I could provide you with the URL
for the full text of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that said federal
anti-marijuana laws could be enforced in California, along with the
URL for a news story that briefly explains that decision.

There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Federalism - state v. national
From: triumfdoogooder-ga on 17 Nov 2006 16:46 PST
Of course, when there is conflict between federal and state laws,
federal laws take effect, in the same way as state laws supersede
local ordinances.  Just because you were released or better yet never
arrested for marijuana possession by local authorities doesn't mean
you can't be arrested/prosecuted by federal officials.  Remember, the
feds enforced desegregation laws in south carolina which the state law
oppossed.  Hope that helps.
Subject: Re: Federalism - state v. national
From: ubiquity-ga on 22 Nov 2006 07:49 PST
This commenter is not necessarily correct.  Federal law overrules
state laws only for the powers given to the federal government by the
U.S. constitution.  See the 10th Amendment.
"Amendment X:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor
prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states
respectively, or to the people."

So, in order for the Fed government to regulate it, the use of medical
marijuana must eb related to osme federal power.  My guess is that the
Federal government would claim it related to the commerce clause
because drug use has an effect of interstate commerce.  Also, since
most drugs come in from international sources, it may also be governed
by the Federal Government.  See Art 1, Section 8 for a list of federal

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