Why Is Marijuana Flawed Federalism

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Flawed Federalism: America’s System of Government and Why it Doesn’t Work The concept of federalism, although often deeply flawed, has been at the center of the American government for centuries. Federalism was first used in post-revolutionary America in order to prevent another tyrannical body from taking over and commandeering the citizens’ rights. The country was fresh out of a war for their freedom from England’s tyrannical monarchy, and the founding fathers had a heightened fear of tyranny. One could compare this national worry and political focus to the years following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Citizens and legislators alike immediately wanted to do anything and everything in their power to make sure that such a disaster…show more content…
Fragmented federalism, which has recently been prevalent in American politics, refers to the scattered, complicated, and polarized distribution of policies. Fragmentation can lead to conflicting laws at the state and federal levels, and in turn, cause confusion among citizens and legislators alike as to the legality of certain actions or practices. One very prominent issue that has been subject to fragmentation in the United States is the legalization of marijuana. Some states have, in recent years, legalized the recreational and/or medical use of marijuana. However, under federal law, it is still illegal to buy, sell, use, or possess marijuana. So, what if someone in Colorado - where the use of marijuana for recreational purposes is legal, barring certain restrictions – were to be approached by federal agents while in possession of marijuana? Could they arrest him? Would they arrest him? Who has the final say as to the ultimate legality of the drug - the state of Colorado or the federal government? These questions remain unanswered by the constraints of a federalist system…show more content…
Even in areas where the American public can come to a consensus, often the federal government does not have the power to pass a “blanket” law that applies to all citizens of the country. Regarding the issue of same-sex marriage, for example, Chief Supreme Court Justice Roberts made note of this complication: “Although the policy arguments for extending marriage to same-sex couples may be compelling, the legal arguments for requiring such an extension are not” (Obergefell v. Hodges). With this, Chief Justice Roberts brings up a discussion-worthy complication associated with our federalist system, specifically in relation to marriage – although the majority of Americans would support marriage equality for all same-sex couples, there is no routine way for that to become a reality unless each individual state were to recognize same-sex

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