For decades federal law has prohibited the production, sale and possession of marijuana and the United States has international treaties that requires it to keep marijuana illegal. Yet despite marijuana’s long-settled status under federal law, Hawaii State legislatures have embarked in a quasi- legalization program even setting up a complex regulatory regime to promote its distribution and use.
The U.S. Constitution makes federal law “the supreme law of the land,” giving the federal government the power to continue to enforce federal drug laws even when a state’s laws say something to the contrary.
But in 2009, the Obama Administration announced that it would not enforce the federal marijuana laws in states that purported to legalize the drug.
A multi-billion dollar commercial marijuana industry sprung up almost overnight. After five years of federal non-enforcement, the inevitable result has been easy youth access to marijuana, the deterioration of neighborhoods where the marijuana industry openly operates, and the rise of the drug culture everywhere.
Quasi-legalization under the Medical Marijuana Act involves a host of problems which the State Legislature cannot deal with such as:
- Banks cannot accept monies derived from the sale of a Schedule 1 Controlled substance
- Landlords of commercial facilities will face undesirable traffic and degeneration of property values and tenant income from the presence of marijuana distribution points.
- Agricultural land owners adjacent to marijuana growing facilities will be forced to live next to a facility requiring armed guards and 24 hour surveillance.
- Despite the legislatures efforts to eliminate liability or discrimination in employment involving a medical marijuana card holder it is unlikely National Corporation will change their zero tolerance policy towards drug use putting local business at a further disadvantage.
- The question of liability extends to the State and Private property owners in the event of a future resurgent federal marijuana suppression program as well as any death or injury that could be attributed by marijuana drug use linked to and protected by the State of Hawaii.
Time to Stop Attempts to Ignore Federal Drug Laws: Despite the Hawaii State legislature approving the production and sale of “medical” marijuana this substance remains a serious crime under federal law.