Sullivan College of Technology Business Law and the Legal Environment Discussion

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QUESTION;

In Colorado, on December 10, 2012 it became legal for any individual age 21 or older to possess up to an ounce a marijuana for “any purpose”. On January 1, 2014 it became legal for people to purchase marijuana from licensed retail outlets. In addition, while marijuana is still a federally prohibited substance, President Obama directed federal law enforcement agencies to refrain from enforcing the federal law in Colorado and other states that have legalized recreational marijuana. As a consequence, several new legal issues may arise.

Using your understanding of the concepts from Chapter 4, explain in as much detail as possible whether each of the following complaints would succeed or fail on Constitutional grounds. Do not rely on outside research for your original response.

1. The Attorneys General of Nebraska and Oklahoma argue that the Colorado law makes it easier for their state’s residents and other state’s residents who are traveling through their states to obtain marijuana which will increase their law enforcement costs. Therefore they petition the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Colorado law.

2. The Attorney General of Florida argues that Colorado’s law makes it a more attractive vacation destination, thereby harming Florida’s commerical interests in violation of the Commerce Clause and demands the law be overturned.

3. The Colorado business association representing the marijuana industry spends several million dollars on public advertising and activities to get pro-legalization measures placed on several other state’s ballots and to elect pro-legalization representatives to both state and federal office. A concerned citizens association in one of these states charges that the consequences of these ads and activities will endanger the public health and welfare of the state’s residents and it asks the state court to prohibit these ads and activities.



MY ANSWER;

In Colorado, the law in the constitution allows persons above 21years old to consume or be in passion of a limited quantity of marijuana. The government facilitates the licensing of marijuana cultivation, manufacturing, and processing facilities, testing farcicalities, and distribution and retailing. However, there are regulations and rules for using marijuana. In section 16. Article 5(e) of the constitution a licensed marijuana operator should establish a marijuana operation within the locality’s boundaries, and only licensed individuals are allowed to carry out these operations. Therefore, Oklahoma and Nebraska Attorney General may not succeed in prohibiting the use of marijuana in Colorado because the state of Colorado will argue that it has put strict regulation of the marijuana operation to be done only within the locality.

The argument from Florida’s Attorney General will be treated as null and void because it does not have bases. After understanding the Colorado law as it is clearly stated in the constitution, section 16 article 1(a), the purpose of legalizing cannabis is to give people freedom just like they have freedom in taking alcohol. Therefore, the law is not about the state attracting tourists, but it is based on personal choices. The tourists, just like in any other states they come to Colorado without being coursed but out of their own will.

In section 16, Article 5 (a) on regulation number (vIII), the constitution prohibits the advertisement and displaying of marijuana. This is a prohibition to persuading people to purchase marijuana. Therefore, the claim about marijuana being advertised is already addressed in the constitution as illegal, and in case there is an operator or individual doing an advertisement, it is illegal. The state passed the marijuana law not to coax people to use it but to give them the freedom to make a personal choice and that is why on the package there is a list of risks that come along with marijuana use. The state has the right to take the step of punishing such an individuaL

RESPOND TO TWO PEOPLE; ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS IN GOOD DETAILS AND PLEASE REFERENCE MY ORIGINAL POST

Great post…RESPONSE 1.

Concerning the first case, do you think a strong case could be made to argue that Colorado is not enforcing strict regulation? If hypothetically a strong case was found that Colorado was not enforcing strict regulations, do you think this might be enough to get a win for Nebraska and Oklahoma?

You mention that the legalization of marijuana had more to do with providing people the freedom of choice than economic gain from interstate transactions (tourists). Do you not think the same logic and argument could be applied to other drugs like cocaine? If freedom of choice is such a strong legal precedence, why is cocaine illegal? And could the same arguments against the legalization of cocaine not be made about drugs like marijuana? I personally think that no drugs should be illegal because we should have the freedom under the constitution to make our own decisions about how we use our bodies. My body, my choice, if people want to use drugs, who are we to try and stop them?

RESPONSE TWO

Do you think that Nebraska and Oklahoma could have a case and have the Supreme Court rule Colorado’s marijuana law unconstitutional if the states brought up the commerce clause? Could there be evidence that the legalization of marijuana in Colorado is causing a burden to both Nebraska and Oklahoma? Or is there no tie between the legalization of marijuana in one state and the potential disruption of commerce in the surrounding states?

For question 3, if the advertisements were not promoting marijuana at all, just the candidates (with no written information about their campaign, including their support for the legalization of marijuana), would the section of the constitution you cited still be valid for an unconstitutional ruling?

Great post!

Responses: A reminder, our goal in responses is to “seek to expand, clarify, or question the original post and are not repetitive of others’ responses.” Agreeing and alternative scenarios have some value but they don’t usually cause the initial poster to think more deeply about their strategy. Our aim is to encourage each other to think more broadly about our suggestions and opinions. To do so encourages greater learning, which a great strength of a cohort. The simplest strategy for accomplishing this is to ask specific questions about the initial post. These questions can be substantive or procedural but they should press the originator to think more broadly.

RESPONSE 3…ZARAH

For situation one, I believe that this complaint might pass on Constitutional grounds. When medical marijuama was legalized in California, the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) was ruled unconstitutional becasue the marijuana use was only in one state (Mayer, 2014). This could also apply in this situation because Colorado was the only state allowing adults to possess marijuana, but Congress was later given the authority to prohibit marijuana because it was a part of certain class of activities. I feel that scenario two, is somewhat similar to this since it is also based on a state wanting Colorado’s law overturned because they think it may cause harm to their state in some way. With this, the complaint may pass, but it really all depends on the arguement that is formed for each side. In my opinion, I think that more states should follow in Colorado’s foot steps because people are already using marijuana and regulating it could make it more safe to use instead of buying it from people that they may not know. Situation three would fail in my opinion because I’m not sure that a citizens association has much power over how the state uses it’s money. I feel that these are usually the people who are not open minded and tend to only think of one side which will not always get you the outcome that you want.

RESPONSE FOUR….MAL

1. The Attorneys General of Nebraska and Oklahoma argue that the Colorado law makes it easier for their state’s residents and other state’s residents who are traveling through their states to obtain marijuana which will increase their law enforcement costs. Therefore they petition the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Colorado law.

“The commerce clause is the basis on which the federal government regulates interstate economic activity”(Mayer 20212). When Californina had passed the Compassionate Users Act, legalizing marijuna for medical use, this conflicted with medical use. In the Gonzales v. Raich (2005) case. It was majority ruled that Congress can regulate activities with a substantial effect on interstate commerce. The majority ruled Congress could ban local marijuana, but the problem in this complaint is not about something local being regulated. This complaint would not stand on constitutional grounds because there is not an economic exchange between states, therefore it is not constitutional to regulate who can visit from what state.

2. The Attorney General of Florida argues that Colorado’s law makes it a more attractive vacation destination, thereby harming Florida’s commercial interests in violation of the Commerce Clause and demands the law be overturned.

As stated above what the commerce clause entails, is the regulation of commerce between states and foreign nations. “Interstate commerce” can be subjective in this complaint. I am assuming the good being lost out on is tourists. But to be claiming a state as stealing your business because they have a law seen as attractive to some people is not a violation of the Constitution.

3. The Colorado business association representing the marijuana industry spends several million dollars on public advertising and activities to get pro-legalization measures placed on several other state’s ballots and to elect pro-legalization representatives to both state and federal office. A concerned citizens association in one of these states charges that the consequences of these ads and activities will endanger the public health and welfare of the state’s residents and it asks the state court to prohibit these ads and activities.

This is similar to the cigarette warning legislature that was passed in the 1960’s, there is when the federal government required warning labels on cigarette packages. If Colorado is working on getting other states on board this could be dangerous because what they are promoting, legal marijuana, is currently against Federal Law. I could see this complaint having some weight, and influencing the ability to advertise.

Refrence


Don Mayer, Daniel Warner, George Siedel, and Jethro K. Lieberman. (2012). Business Law and the Legal Environment: Executive MBA Edition. Boston, MA: FlatWorld