Commentary: Federal Preemption of State Laws Regarding Medical Marijuana

January 29, 2015 Posted by

Since California passed the first medical marijuana legislation in 1996, 22 other states and the District of Columbia have followed suit. Colorado and Washington legalized recreational use of marijuana in 2012, and last year saw Oregon, Alaska, and D.C. join them. However, under federal law, marijuana remains a Schedule I controlled substance and illegal for any use, whether medical or recreational. As a result, numerous courts across the country have been asked to answer the question of whether federal law making marijuana use or possession illegal preempts state law decriminalizing or legalizing it. In other words, when it comes to marijuana, does federal law trump state law?

Federal preemption occurs when a state law or regulation conflicts with a federal law or regulation. Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, known as the Supremacy Clause, provides that the laws of the United States have supremacy over state constitutions and laws, so that if a state law is in conflict with federal law, federal law trumps. However, what might seem to be a clear case of preemption isn’t always.

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Smokers Spend Average of $1.4 Million in Personal Costs: Study

January 28, 2015 Posted by

Smokers burn through an average of $1.4 million in personal costs, a new study concludes. The figure includes spending on cigarettes, medical costs and lower wages brought on by smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke, CBS News reports.

The study, which appears on the website WalletHub, calculated the cumulative cost of a cigarette pack per day over several decades. For their calculations, the researchers assumed an adult starts smoking a pack of cigarettes per day beginning at age 18, and smokes for 51 years—taking into account that 69 is the average age at which a smoker dies.

The researchers then calculated how much smokers would have earned if they had invested their cigarette money in the stock market instead.

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Officials Charge Man With Helping to Operate Silk Road Website

January 27, 2015 Posted by

Federal agents arrested a man Tuesday who told them he was a top assistant to the operator of Silk Road 2.0, a widely used online criminal marketplace. The site allowed anonymous users to buy and sell illegal drugs, weapons and other illegal items.

Brian Richard Farrell, 26, who was known as “DoctorClu,” was one of a small staff of online administrators and forum moderators who helped run the website, according to ABC News. Farrell, who lived in Washington state, was arrested after a yearlong investigation. He was charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. The charge carries a mandatory minimum prison term of 10 years and a maximum punishment of life in prison.

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Sleep-Deprived Teens at Higher Risk of Developing Problems with Alcohol

January 26, 2015 Posted by

Teenagers who don’t get enough sleep are at higher risk of developing problems with alcohol compared with their peers who don’t drink, a new study suggests.

The study used data collected from 6,500 teens who were part of a larger study on adolescent health, NPR reports. The researchers found teens ages 14 to 16 who had trouble falling or staying asleep were 47 percent more likely to engage in binge drinking than their peers who didn’t have sleep problems.

Teens with sleep problems at the beginning of the study were 14 percent more likely to drive drunk and 11 percent more likely to have interpersonal issues related to alcohol one year later. After five years, those who had sleep issues in their teen years were 10 percent more likely to drive drunk.

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Regulate E-Cigarettes, Cancer Specialists and Researchers Urge

January 23, 2015 Posted by

Two organizations representing cancer researchers and specialists are calling on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to bring e-cigarette regulations more in line with those of traditional cigarettes.

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) issued the recommendations jointly.

The groups called for e-cigarette makers to give the FDA a full list of their products’ ingredients, HealthDay reports. They want warning labels on all e-cigarette packaging and ads to tell consumers about the dangers of nicotine addiction. They also are asking for a ban on all marketing and selling of e-cigarettes to minors. They want the FDA to require childproof caps on containers for liquid nicotine used for e-cigarettes.

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