States’ Rights or States’ Wrongs?

Trump’s administration doesn’t care about states rights, no matter what they’ve said in the past.

Recently, the Department of Justice and Department of Education instructed the Supreme Court to ignore Obama-era memos regarding the protections of transgender students in the public school system. President Trump’s new policy will prevent transgender students from using the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity. According to the Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, “Congress, state legislatures, and local governments are in a position to adopt appropriate policies or laws addressing this issue.”

Essentially, the Trump administration is making the case that this contentious and controversial issue is one best left up to the states. Considering the fact that Trump is indeed a Republican makes it understandable that he would adopt a pro-states’ rights platform. However, Trump and his administration have proven to be remarkably inconsistent when it comes to states’ rights, and it is clear that the current administration uses the façade of “states’ rights” to push through an intolerant agenda.

We can see the Trump administration’s hypocrisy through Sean Spicer’s recent implication that the federal law regarding recreational marijuana will be enforced more strictly under the Sessions Department of Justice. Sean Spicer, the White House Press Secretary, said we should expect “greater enforcement” of federal laws regarding marijuana use. According to Spicer, Trump sees “a big difference” between recreational pot and medicinal cannabis. It is clear that the Trump team is fully prepared to reject states’ rights when states make decisions that don’t fall in line with the President’s rollback of civil liberties.

Why Marijuana Should be Legal

Luckily, some members of Congress are fighting back. Four members of Congress, two Democrats and two Republicans, have formed the Congressional Cannabis Caucus in an effort to fight back against the suppression of the democratic will of those who voted to legalize marijuana in their home states (recreational marijuana use is currently legal in California, Colorado, Washington, Massachusetts, Alaska, Nevada, and Maine). For those of us who live in states with legal recreational marijuana, we should write and call our representatives to make sure that our democratic choices are protected and respected. Similarly, we should contact our representatives to introduce legislation that protects the rights of transgender students.

As a Libertarian, it is none of my business which bathroom someone chooses to use- that, to me, seems like a civil liberty that the government has no right to restrict. The same logic applies to recreational marijuana; if you want to smoke a joint after a long day at work, who is that hurting?

You can contact your Representatives here, and you can contact your Senators here.




The Necessity of Legalizing Marijuana

A very hot-button issue these days is marijuana legalization. Specifically, legalization for recreational purposes. Many on both sides wave studies around and talk about health benefits or health risks associated with using cannabis. It is my opinion, however, that marijuana needs to be legal on a federal level, not just on the state level. I will state my reasoning below.

The first and primary reason marijuana should be legalized federally is the medicinal benefit it holds for terminally ill patients. Yes, marijuana is good for pain relief and stimulating appetite in users. However, the primary reason doctors need to start prescribing marijuana to terminally ill patients is the fact that there is a minimal risk of abuse associated with marijuana compared to opiates (which doctors are prescribing to patients in staggering quantities). The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has said that “fentanyl related deaths are rising at an alarming rate.” What is fentanyl you ask?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate manufactured under several different brand names, including Duragesic, Abstral, and Subys, to name a few. It is highly lethal (a lethal dose for the average size male is 3 milligrams), and heroin traffickers have been mixing fentanyl in with their product in an effort to increase profits. The pharmaceutical industry is fully aware of fentanyl’s potential for abuse; in fact, several top pharmaceutical executives were recently arrested for bribing doctors to prescribe fentanyl. The pharmaceutical industry profits massively from the current opioid crisis in the United States.

Big Pharma also knows that marijuana has been shown to be at least as effective as and less dangerous than opiates. Perhaps that is why Insys Therapeutics (a fentanyl manufacturer) spent $500,000 fighting legal marijuana in Arizona. Ladies and gentlemen, the pharmaceutical industry couldn’t care less about the health of their customers. As long as people keep overdosing and their money keeps rolling in, they’re happy.

The DEA still refuses to reschedule marijuana; currently, it is a Schedule 1 substance, and the DEA considers marijuana to be more dangerous than methamphetamine (AKA crystal meth or ice). The simple reason for this is that the DEA and federal government as a whole both know that marijuana use across the United States is rampant; if they continue going after the most popular illicit substance, their budget will remain the same, or perhaps even increased. If marijuana is legalized, a large portion of the DEA budget will be cut. The DEA is one of the most corrupt government agencies (similar to Big Pharma, their actions are based solely on how much money they can squeeze out of whatever situation they’re in); there is simply no scientific reason that marijuana would be considered as dangerous as heroin (also a Schedule 1 substance). In fact, the DEA recently classified CBD (a non-psychoactive cannabinoid; in layman’s terms, it doesn’t get you baked) as a Schedule 1 substance. CBD is used by doctors and terminally ill patients to treat chronic pain without “getting high”, so to speak. Again, the DEA is just after their budget, and is doing favors for Big Pharma by keeping life-saving medicine out of the market.

I urge you to write your Congressmen and Senators and implore them to draft legislation that would immediately legalize marijuana federally. Let’s end this evil now.