State and Federal Laws Conflict in Oregon Regarding Marijuana Reform:
Despite the fact that marijuana reform is moving ahead steadily in the U.S., the United States Postal Service apparently does not support the reform process. Although marijuana is legal in the state of Oregon, the U.S. Postal Service there has made headlines for threatening punitive action if newspapers continue to run paid ads that are associated with the marijuana industry or trade. According to the postal service in Oregon, marijuana is still against federal law and thus should not be permitted in the local newspaper ads. Obviously, this has stirred much controversy in the state and highlights the conflict that can arise when the state law is diametrically opposed to the current federal law.
Marijuana is a Controlled Substance in the Eyes of the Federal Government:
Although states are reforming state laws as they relate to marijuana use, the federal government has not. In the eyes of the U.S. federal government, marijuana is still a Schedule 1 substance which means that it is banned and illegal. Marijuana is listed as a Schedule 1 drug along side other illegal drugs like cocaine and heroin. Marijuana is still a federally controlled substance. Oregon state reform law though allows adult residents in Oregon to have as much as 8 ounces of marijuana at home for private use and they can have as many as four plants. Retail marijuana shops are expected to open in the state in 2016.
According to the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), it is a felony for any person to place an advertisement that seeks to support the trade of a controlled substance such as is the case with marijuana in Oregon. This is the conflict that the U.S. Postal Service in Oregon has with ads that seek to buy, receive, or distribute a controlled Schedule 1 substance. It is still illegal in the eyes of the federal government and therefore not permissible by federal law. According to the Controlled Substance Act, any entity that advertises for the sale or distribution of a controlled substance is subject to criminal penalty and any paper or magazine that displays these ads are not to be mailed. As a result, the U.S. Postal Service in Oregon issued memos warning businesses that if advertisements for marijuana are listed, the paper will not be mailed and federal penalty may result. This is a big deal, especially for the newspapers since they rely on advertisements for the financial support to run the business. Now, some papers in the area do not know what to do and how to move forward. Policy and political leaders are looking into the matter and recommendations are pending. One thing is for certain however, until the federal government and state governments agree on marijuana reform law, this type of problem is bound to surface in other states as well.