Marijuana and Federalism

by Jonathan H. Adler

Conservatives tend to favor letting different states adopt different policies.  State policy experimentation is federalism at work. At the same time, many conservatives have also been strong supporters of the drug war, including the federal prohibition of marijuana use (though not NRODT).  Now that several states allow the medical use of marijuana and two states — Colorado and Washington — have legalized marijuana possession altogether, how should conservatives respond? Should the federal government allow individual states to opt out of federal drug prohibition?  These are among the questions that will be put to the panelists on a Federalist Society program I’m moderating tomorrow at the National Press Club: Marijuana and the States: How Should Federalism Principles Inform the Federal Government’s Response to State Marijuana Initiatives?  The panelists are Colorado Assistant SG Michael Francisco, former Deputy Attorney General George Terwiliger, Chapman University law professor John Eastman, and Buckeye Institute President Robert Alt.  More details and registration info are available here.