Explain how the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 (in regards to marijuana) raises issues of “federalism.”

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This approach to the regulation of marijuana raises questions of federalism because it allows the federal government to overrule state laws governing the use of marijuana.

In recent years, some states have passed laws allowing, for example, the production and use of medical marijuana.  Even so, the federal government has often used the 1970 act and its successors to crack down on use of medical marijuana even in states where it is legal.  This has raised issues of federalism.  In this policy, the federal government is interfering in an area of policy that is not necessarily connected to interstate commerce.  Areas that are not part of interstate commerce are supposed to be under state jurisdiction unless otherwise specified in the Constitution.  

Thus, this law brings up issues of federalism because it forces us to ask why the national government has the right to interfere with state laws in this area.


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