The Proper Way to Reconsider Federal Marijuana Policy

Issue Brief, No. 4806, January 8, 2018

4 Pages Posted: 14 May 2018

Date Written: January 8, 2018


We should not expect federal law enforcement officers to decide what laws to support based on polls. We should demand that Members of Congress make those decisions, however much they may want that cup to pass from their lips. The public can urge Congress to repeal or revise whatever federal laws they do not like. That may lead to unwise decisions, but at least asking Congress to reexamine the Controlled Substances Act is the sensible way to address the matter. Congress can ask the Trump Administration—and ask its predecessors too—what is the best criminal justice and social policy. Congress can also query the Food and Drug Administration about what is the best medical answer to this debate. After all, we do not allow state legislators or voters to decide what pharmaceuticals can be marketed. For 80 years, we have vested the authority to make that decision in the FDA because we do not believe that medical safety and effectiveness should be the subjects of plebiscites.

Keywords: Marijuana, Marijuana Policy, Controlled Substances Act, Food and Drug Administration, FDA

Suggested Citation

Larkin, Jr., Paul James, The Proper Way to Reconsider Federal Marijuana Policy (January 8, 2018). Issue Brief, No. 4806, January 8, 2018. Available at SSRN:

Paul James Larkin, Jr. (Contact Author)

The Heritage Foundation ( email )

214 Massachusetts Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002-4999
United States
202-608-6190 (Phone)

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