Legalization of Marijuana at the Federal and State Level

In the past years, the public has given more support to marijuana law reform with more than half of the country’s population supporting the legalization of marijuana. So far, a report by Governing (n.d) shows that 26 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the expansive laws and legalized the herb for recreational use. Other states have also legalized the possession of small amounts of Cannabis Sativa, with some allowing it on the condition of a doctor’s prescription for certain rare diseases. Yet, the federal government still holds that marijuana is not accepted for medical use and has expressly voiced its concerns on the high potentials for abuse of the drug. Instead of legalizing it at the federal level, the Congress has maintained its stand on leaving the decision to the states, believing that is where it belongs. By far, the stand by the federal government contradicts the state governments presenting a perfect example of federalism in the United States.

Advantages of the Duplication of the Policy

The United States federal government has been adamant about legalizing marijuana, a move that would see it removed from the Controlled Substances Act and moved to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. By failing to legalize marijuana at the Federal level, the government fails to serve the will of the majority who has been in support of its legalization. On the other hand, legalization of Cannabis Sativa has by far benefitted the states where the herb has been legalized. Case sample is the State of Colorado where marijuana generates revenue to the tune of billions of dollars (Borchardt, 2017). By making it legal, the state can control its use and discourages cartels, creates jobs, and not addicts. Thus, in this case, the duplication of this policy helps in serving the will of the people in the States where cannabis is legalized despite the federal government stand.

Implications of Federalism

In the United States, federalism allows two or three units to have a final authority and sometimes act independently in the formation and implementation of policies. However, as France (2008) elaborates federalism is sometimes less favorable to the development of well-functioning policies but attributes this to the context of policies. Similarly, he goes on to note that this split in authority has several implications in the area of policy reforms, especially when the federal government contradicts the state government. One significant consequence of this sovereignty is the subjectivity to different laws depending on the state of residence. In order to this, we make an explicit analysis to the legalization of marijuana policy at the state and federal levels. On the one hand, the federal government is adamant about legalizing cannabis and the other the state government is free to legalize the herb. This leaves the citizens of the States where cannabis is legal to be governed by a different rule of law and those in the states where marijuana is illegal bound by the federal government rule of law.

Federal Government Participation in Healthcare Policy-Making

The involvement of federal government in health care policy-making remains a bitterly contested political issue, and although it is important, it remains unanswered. According to France (2008), the United States Constitution fails to explicitly indicate the role of federal government in health care policies. However, as France goes on to elaborate, the Constitution states that the Congress has the mandate to levy and collect taxes and provide for the general welfare of the American citizens. In this context, the federal government has a responsibility to spend on or fund in the area of health care. Certainly, the federal government has a mandate to support and administer insurance programs and most notably the Medicaid.


“State Marijuana Laws in 2017 Map.” (n.d). Governing. Retrieved from: http://www.governing.com/gov-data/state-marijuana-laws-map-medical-recreational.html

Borchardt, D. (2017). $1 Billion in Marijuana Taxes Is Addictive To State Governors. Forbes. Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/debraborchardt/2017/04/11/1-billion-in-marijuana-taxes-is-addicting-to-state-governors/#5063db9d2c3b

France, C. (2008). The Form and Context of Federalism: Meanings for Health Care Financing. Journal of Health Politics, Policy & Law, 33(4), pp. 649–705.

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