Marijuana legalization, federalism and the 10th Amendment to the US Constitution. This tangled web frustrates efforts to legalize weed nationally, so state governments have taken the lead. So, should states or the federal government decide?
A new poll highlights just how out of touch the federal government can be when it comes to the will of the people. According to a new survey conducted by Morning Consultant, the majority of Americans polled believe individual states should establish their own cannabis policies – not the feds.
Conducted July 13 and 14, 2018, the survey asks 2,200 adults a single question:
“Do you think the federal government or individual states should be responsible for regulating marijuana?”
Tallied based on age, race, ethnicity, gender, religion, and educational attainment, the poll found that 56 percent believe marijuana should be regulated by states. Even more telling, the poll indicates 53 percent of self-identified Republicans support states being responsible for drafting their own cannabis-related rules and regulations.
“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.” — The 10th Amendment
A core belief of the establishment of the United States is the superiority of states’ rights as a principle of federalism has since been flouted numerous times in our country’s history, including cases that have to do with marijuana’s fate. In 2005, US Supreme Court ruled in Gonzales v. Raich that power delegated “to regulate interstate commerce” allows Congress to make criminals of compliant patients in legal states.
And that’s a problem for a majority of Americans in Morning Consult’s poll.
Drilling down on the poll’s results, the issue of states’ rights superseding the federal government’s is one of those rare birds among the American electorate – a unifying issue. Seventy-four percent of Jewish respondents (Mazel tov), 53 percent of Evangelical Christian respondents and 59 percent of non-evangelical Catholics believe that states should regulate their own marijuana laws.
Categorized by partisan and demographic backgrounds, here’s how Americans view the Great American marijuana debate, broken down by ideology, sex, generational category, and race:
Data: Morning Consult online poll conducted from July 13-14, 2018, among a national sample of 2,200 Adults. The interviews were conducted online and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of Adults based on age, race/ethnicity, gender, educational attainment, and religion. Margin of error plus or minus 2 percentage points. Chart: Allena Braithwaite/Marijuana.com
An interesting demographic involves those who approve or disapprove of the job that President Donald Trump is doing. In perhaps the only issue Trump supporters and those in the anti-Trump movement seem to agree upon, both Trump job approval (55 percent) and job disapproval (60%) think that individual states should be responsible for regulation marijuana.
Don’t Count on Trump
Historically speaking, Trump lies, and most understand this. When is comes to respecting the will of the people and leaving the fate of legalization to individual states, the president’s “deal” to work with Colorado’s first-term Republican US Sen. Cory Gardner to protect states that have passed marijuana laws, is a bad bet.
“President Trump has consistently supported states’ rights to decide for themselves how best to approach marijuana,” said Gardner in mid-April. “I received a commitment from the President that the Department of Justice’s rescission of the Cole memo will not impact Colorado’s legal marijuana industry.”
But while that “commitment” from President Trump sounded great in the wake of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ rescission of the Cole memo, 90 days of legislative inaction undermines any confidence the marijuana community may have once had. Another empty promise from the manchild-in-chief.