Former federal prosecutor Mark Oslet wrote a CNN op-ed that presents a clear and concise argument as to why the U.S. federal government should honor state laws legalizing marijuana.
Last week Colorado and Washington became the first places in the world to remove the the prohibition on commercial production, distribution and possession of marijuana for non-medical purposes.
Oslet, now a law professor, argues that a central principle built into the structure of the U.S. government through the Constitution "demands that individual and state rights be honored above all but the most important federal imperatives."
In the book "Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know," drug policy scholars note that the "Constitution does not allow the federal government either to order state governments to create any particular criminal law or to require state and local police to enforce federal criminal laws."
The U.S. government has long argued that the war on drugs is imperative to combating the possession and use of drugs in America.
But Oslet counters that federal and state efforts to curb marijuana use through prosecution "simply haven't worked" since the U.S. has spent $20 to $25 billion a year during the past decade and incarcerated tens of thousands of people "to punish drug possession and trafficking without ever successfully restricting the flow of marijuana or cocaine."
Therefore, Oslet concludes, the Obama administration should "employ that discretionary power in line with our oldest and best principles and step back from continuing marijuana prosecutions in Colorado and Washington."