Medical marijuana and guns: The Obama administration’s split personality on state sovereignty

Article Source – examiner.com
Author – Kurt Hofmann

ella lawrence with illinois state flag Medical marijuana and guns: The Obama administrations split personality on state sovereignty

The Obama administration has, just this week, explicitly stated that it will not interfere with state laws permitting the medical use of marijuana.

In a sharp policy shift, the Obama administration told federal attorneys not to prosecute patients who use marijuana for medical reasons or dispensaries in states where it has been legalized.

A Justice Department official said the formal guidelines were issued Monday to reflect President Barack Obama‘s views. The Bush administration had said it could enforce the federal law against marijuana and that it trumped state laws.

This will no doubt be regarded as good news by proponents of marijuana law reform who voted for Obama, only to be disappointed shortly after his taking office when the DEA raided a medical marijuana dispensary in Lake Tahoe, California.

Here is the part I find particularly interesting:

A White House spokesman repeated Obama’s view that “federal resources should not be used to circumvent state laws.”

Hmm . . .  compare and contrast that to this:

The passage of the Tennessee Firearms Freedom Act, H.B. 1796, 106th Leg. (Tenn. 2009) 1796 (”Act”), effective June 19, 2009, has generated questions from industry members as to how this State law may affect them while engaged in a firearms business activity. The Act purports to exempt personal firearms, firearms accessories, and ammunition manufactured in the State, and which remain in the State, from most Federal firearms laws and regulations. However, because the Act conflicts with Federal firearms laws and regulations, Federal law supersedes the Act, and all provisions of the Gun Control Act and the National Firearms Act, and their corresponding regulations, continue to apply.

. . . and to this:

The passage of the Montana Firearms Freedom Act, House Bill 246 (Act), effective, October 1, 2009, has generated questions from industry members as to how this State law may affect them while engaged in firearms business activity. The Act purports to exempt personal firearms, firearms accessories and ammunition manufactured in the State, from most Federal Firearms laws and regulations. However, because the Act conflicts with Federal firearms laws and regulations, Federal law supercedes the Act, and all provisions of the Gun Control Act and the National Firearms Act, and their corresponding regulations, continue to apply.

I’m not certain about Tennessee, but in Montana, the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and the Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA) have filed suit in an effort to force the federal government to back off from its insistence on exercising a power that is not delegated to it anywhere in the Constitution.  The federal government is, presumably, planning to contest this lawsuit, and the BATFE has declared its intention to enforce the federal laws, regardless of their inapplicability under the new state laws.  Is it just me, or does that sound an awful lot like using federal resources “to circumvent state laws”?

I thought this administration had just made up its mind to not do that, and that’s without even getting into the Obama campaign position that “what works in Chicago may not work in Cheyenne.”

Whatever one’s position on drug laws, if state law trumps federal law (in the absence of any “interstate commerce” interests) regarding marijuana, how can it not do so when the subject is intrastate commerce in guns?

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