Medical Marijuana and the Political Safeguards of Federalism
Mikos, Robert A.
Medical marijuana has emerged as one of the key federalism battlegrounds of the last two decades. Since 1996, sixteen states have passed new laws legalizing the drug for certain medical purposes.' All the while, the federal government has remained committed to zero-tolerance, prohibiting the possession, cultivation, and distribution of marijuana for any purpose.2 The federal government's uncompromising stance against medical marijuana seemingly exposes the states' vulnerability to the whims of the national political process, and it has inspired calls for the courts to step in and protect state experimentation from this and other instances of arguable congressional over-reaching.