6/14/2010—A slight diversion today from themes of religion. Today, NPR repeated something that I had heard before, but had not appreciated. In a report on the effects of medical marijuana, the report said that the Obama Administration had made it clear that it had no intention of enforcing federal laws prohibiting the possession of marijuana in states that permitted its use.
Now, there is currently on the books perfectly valid federal law prohibiting the use of marijuana, for medical purposes or otherwise. These statutes make no exception for states that wish to opt out of this federal law. In other words, these state statutes permitting medical use of marijuana are completely invalid.
There is a name for the attempted use of state law to limit the effect of valid federal law. It is called interposition. It was the term used in 1828 by John C. Calhoun to allow South Carolina to challenge the prevailing federal tariff. President Jackson threatened the use of force to enforce the tariff and the matter was compromised.
I support the legalization of marijuana so I am not troubled by medical marijuana. But the same theory that allows states to opt out of valid federal law allows states to opt out of valid federal medical reform. States have no right to invalidate federal law. This was finally decided, I guess, at Gettysburg.