The Volunteer State’s lieutenant governor certainly doesn’t spend a lot of time dreaming of legal weed in California. Or Tennessee. Or anywhere else.
The conservative state Senate speaker counts himself squarely among those who doubt the ability of Tennesseans to responsibly use marijuana for medical or any other purpose. The straight dope on marijuana, as far as Ramsey’s concerned, is that “there are long-term effects,” and that its use “is not a victimless crime.”
“I think we as a society should still say that certain things are right and certain things are wrong, and using a drug — and it is a drug — is something that we need to stand up against,” he said in an interview with TNReport Thursday.
But Ramsey, a tea-party favorite who finished third in this year’s GOP gubernatorial primary, is also one of Tennessee’s most visible and vocal proponents of state sovereignty and the 10th Amendment.
And while the Blountville Republican certainly isn’t proposing to reexamine the legal status of cannabis here in Tennessee, he says the question of whether any other state should choose to relax their own marijuana laws is a matter for the people and politicians of that particular state to decide for themselves.
If California’s electorate votes on Nov. 2 to pass Proposition 19, a ballot measure that would legalize “recreational” use and cultivation of marijuana in the Golden State, then Ramsey believes the feds ought to respect that democratic expression of policy preference and butt out, as it were — just like they ought to respect Arizona’s right to enforce immigration laws, and the right of any state to opt out of federal health care mandates if that’s what the people and their elected representatives think is the prudent course of action.
Ramsey compared state-level efforts to control and regulate marijuana with state laws governing alcohol.
Prop. 19 is fast becoming one of the most watched ballot measures in the country this election season.
Called the “Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010,” Prop. 19 would make it legal for people over the age of 21 to possess an ounce of dried marijuana and grow a 25-square-foot patch of pot. Local government authorities could authorize and license larger-scale cultivation sites and sales locations if they deem it appropriate. In a news article discussing the looming “legal war” between the federal government and the state should Prop. 19 become law, the Sacramento Bee described the measure as “a landmark challenge to America’s war on drugs.”
Attorney General Eric Holder says the federal government will enforce its marijuana laws in California even if voters next month make the state the first in the nation to legalize the drug.
The Justice Department strongly opposes California’s Proposition 19 and remains firmly committed to enforcing the federal Controlled Substances Act in all states, Holder wrote in a letter to former chiefs of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter, dated Wednesday.
“We will vigorously enforce the CSA against those individuals and organizations that possess, manufacture or distribute marijuana for recreational use, even if such activities are permitted under state law,” Holder wrote.