Radical State Passes Law That Permits Its Citizens To Do What Federal Law Forbids

June 2nd, 2012

So which radical state is getting into some nullification?

I’ll give you a hint? The state likes a certain herb.

Of course I am talking about the Nutmeg state, Connecticut, which legalized another (less legal herb) marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Of course such a law is preempted by federal law, which bans the possession of pot. This seems to be flat-out nullification.

Eh, don’t worry, be happy.

Just yesterday this case from Michigan–a user of medicinal marijuana was prosecuted by the feds, and a judge refused to allow him to invoke the state law as a defense:

A Big Rapids man licensed as a medical marijuana patient and caregiver pleaded guilty to federal charges after a judge denied his request to invoke Michigan’s medical marijuana law as a defense at trial. . . .

Defense attorneys conceded that federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have upheld the federal government’s authority to prosecute marijuana cases despite state laws protecting medical marijuana patients and caregivers.

“However, defendants respectfully submit, that the trend in this country is for more and more states to enact medical marijuana laws and that notwithstanding the prior federal court rulings, eventually, individual states will have the power to regulate the use of marijuana, just as they currently regulate the use and distribution of alcohol,” attorney Leon Weiss wrote in a court filing.

“In the meantime, your defendants herein face the prospect of federal criminal convictions and long prison terms, for conduct that the proofs would show, was within the lawful, permissible activities of their state law governing medical marijuana … .

“This has created a collision course between the state and federal laws, the result of which is the destruction of the constitutional rights of the accused defendants herein and the rights and ability of the defendants to present a thorough, fair and competent defense at trial, so as to totally eradicate their fundamental right to due process of law.”

The attorney said state medical marijuana laws have been “judicially ‘repealed’ by federal court rulings. … This state law has no legitimate effect, if this prosecution is allowed to continue with the complete ignoring of the (Michigan medical marijuana law), as if it never existed at all.”

Update: Add Arizona to the mix of states allowing legalized marijuana:

Arizona has one of the country’s strictest set of requirements governing the sale of medical marijuana — and, Mr. Hurley said, they were all looking to tap into its market because of that.

“There’s a sense of legitimacy that comes from having so many rules,” he said.

Medical marijuana programs exist in a gray area. They are legal in 17 states and the District of Columbia, but illegal under federal law, where selling and consuming marijuana, even if for therapeutic purposes, is still a crime. It is a risky undertaking: In California, where rules governing the business are particularly lax, medical marijuana ventures have been targets of raids.

In Arizona, it is a costly and cumbersome enterprise.