A Breath of Fresh Air: A Constitutional Amendment Legalizing Marijuana Through an Article V Convention of the States
Criminal enforcement of anti-marijuana laws by the United States federal government has been non-sensical for more than twenty years. Culminating, ultimately, in an anomaly within American jurisprudence when California legalized marijuana in 1996 in direct violation of federal law, yet the federal government did little to stop it. Since then, a majority of states have followed California and legalized marijuana. Currently, thirty-six states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana despite federal law. Every year billions of dollars are spent on the federal enforcement of anti-marijuana laws while states collect billions in tax revenue from marijuana sales. Even more confusing is the fact that both President Obama and President Trump have issued federal directives loosening federal enforcement of laws criminalizing marijuana. Despite all this, marijuana maintains the status of a Schedule I substance, and the violation of federal marijuana law can, technically, result in a death sentence. The federal government has blundered numerous times on the issue of marijuana. These blunders have cost the country billions of dollars and ruined numerous lives through the unnecessary prosecution of marijuana offenders. This Article argues that because the states are capable of regulating marijuana, they should band together under the authority granted to them by Article V of the United States Constitution. That article provides an avenue to amend the constitution. If thirty-four states apply for an Article V Convention of the States, the federal government must convene one. An Article V Convention has never been held but has often been discussed. Considering a majority of the states and the District of Columbia have already legalized marijuana to some degree, and the federal government is undecided on marijuana enforcement, conditions are perfect for calling an Article V Convention of the States to ratify a Constitutional Amendment ending the archaic federal treatment of marijuana in this country.
Griffith, Esq., Ryan C.
"A Breath of Fresh Air: A Constitutional Amendment Legalizing Marijuana Through an Article V Convention of the States,"
University of Massachusetts Law Review: Vol. 16:
2, Article 2.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.umassd.edu/umlr/vol16/iss2/2