The conflict between state and federal law

For over a decade patients and distributors of medical marijuana have battled the federal government for their right to use marijuana for its medicinal qualities. Although marijuana use is against federal law, medical marijuana has been permitted in sixteen states by a majority vote.


The conflict between state and federal law has ignited a large conflict regarding medical marijuana and has resulted in the prosecution of many who use and distribute medical marijuana. Supporters of medical marijuana believe that the effects of using marijuana provide cancer patients and people with HIV with pain relief that is superior to alternative drugs.

The long list of adversaries to medical marijuana use includes the federal government, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and some doctors. Adversaries to medical marijuana deny the effectiveness of the drug for medicinal purposes, and believe medical marijuana has a negative impact on the illegal drug trade. The evidence presented will display the benefits marijuana has to its patients and will prove that the use of medical marijuana should be legalized by the federal government.

The federal government is the main opponent that the medical marijuana movement faces. Under federal law marijuana’s naturally occurring active ingredient, known as tetrahydrocannabinol, is banned and listed as a Schedule I drug which places it under the same category as heroin and cocaine.

According to the federal government, the list of drugs known as Schedule I are said to be of high risk for abuse and hold no medicinal value. Claims that accuse marijuana of holding no medicinal value stem from the lack of approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which is a government funded agency.

The lack of FDA approval is enough to convince many doctors and politicians that the drug is not effective in treating terminally ill patients. Dr. Eric Voth, chairman of the Institute on Global Drug Policy, is a well-respected doctor in the medical community that discourages the use of marijuana based on the sole the fact that the FDA does not approve the drug. Voth argues that the FDA should continue to research the effects of marijuana to produce a  synthetic drug that can be used in its place.

The federal government may not believe that marijuana is effective for medical purposes but the research provided by other respected organizations, including the Institute of Medicine, a division of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of HIV Medicine believe otherwise. In particular, the Institute of Medicine specifically expresses evidence based on research that marijuana is unique in its ability to relieve pain, nausea, and anxiety for sick patients that is more effective than the benefits from other drugs.

This evidence produces a long list of support in the medical field from many credible doctors that believe that the federal government is abusing its power by interfering with medical marijuana use in states that have approved it. Dr. Gregory Goldmakher supports the idea that the decision to use of marijuana for medical purposes is solely up to the patient and his or her doctor and that decision should be free

From government interference. The scientific proof of many organizations supporting the effectiveness for marijuana use among sick patients needs to be recognized by the FDA so they can approve the drug for medical use.

A first person encounter by this writer with one of the 128,000 medical marijuana card holders in the United States vouches for the unparalleled relief that marijuana provides its patient’s .Daniel Schwartz is a 20 year old resident of West Bloomfield, Michigan, that was approved for marijuana use for medical purposes by a physician approximately one year ago.

Daniel applied for his medical marijuana card after suffering for years from chronic back pain and anxiety. After smoking medical marijuana for the first time, that he purchased at a marijuana dispensary in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Schwartz experienced an incredible relief from back pain and his anxiety was also reduced.

The increase in the quality of life that Schwartz has been able to benefit from by using marijuana is at threat due to actions to shut down medical marijuana operations by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). The federal government needs to accept medical marijuana use in states that have voted on laws that approve it rather than interfering with patients’ rights to use their medicine.

Opponents to the use of medical marijuana cite the U.S. Constitution which states the rights of the federal government are to, “regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States. This statement should not affect the use of medical marijuana in states that have voted on laws that allow its use.

The proponents to medical marijuana make a valid argument when they cite a different part of the constitution that states, “To protect the health, safety, and welfare of their citizens.” The constitution states that the federal government must

Protect the health of its citizens, but at the same time they are cracking down on medical marijuana use, which has been proven to be beneficial to sick patients. To deprive qualified patients the medicine that they need to alleviate pain is wrong and needs to be stopped in order to protect citizen’s rights.