A federal judge in Boston has ruled that recreational marijuana is legal under federal law.
U.S. District Judge Mark P. Walker wrote that while Massachusetts’ medical marijuana program is constitutional, he has “serious concerns” about the lack of state enforcement of the state’s medical marijuana law.
Marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug under federal drug laws, meaning the federal government considers it a dangerous drug with a high potential for abuse.
In a 6-page opinion published Wednesday, Walker said he believes the U.
S, as a sovereign nation, has a “constitutional duty to protect the public health and welfare from harm from any and all intoxicants.”
“To that end, I hold that the state of Massachusetts has demonstrated a constitutional right to enact a program of marijuana taxation and regulation, and I hereby grant the state an injunction enjoining the enforcement of its marijuana taxation program,” Walker wrote.
The decision comes a week after U.C. Berkeley law professor Eugene Volokh published a report arguing that marijuana prohibition is unconstitutional.
He argues that the drug is a gateway drug and that legalization is the only way to reduce marijuana use and addiction.
The federal government, in his report, has argued that legalizing marijuana would make it more difficult for people to obtain it legally.
In the ruling, Walker wrote, “I do not find that marijuana taxation, regulation, or taxation in general is consistent with the Tenth Amendment’s prohibition on the establishment of monopolies or other forms of arbitrary power.”
In a separate ruling in November, U.N. drug control chief Antonio Guterres said marijuana legalization could lead to a rise in drug use.
He said in a tweet that legalization could make it easier to buy and consume marijuana in Europe and the U, a prospect that some in the international community have been warning about.