One of the most curious aspects of the United States for an outsider like myself is the way that different states – and even counties, so I believe – can have their own legal framework in supplement to the one that governs the whole country. It makes a lot of sense from a sociological point of view, though; different regions will inevitably have different political characters, and the law should logically accommodate that.
But it’s got to be a two-way exchange, I guess – in other words, changes in the law may well change the demographic make-up of a region, as well as vice versa. So perhaps Massachusetts will see an influx of bohemians, artists and slackers in the wake of passing its new marijuana decriminalisation laws?
Maybe we’ll see a lot of weird new writers emerging from the local scene over there… after all, Boston apparently ranks as one of the eleven most literate cities in the United States. [image by Eric Caballero]
3 thoughts on “Loosening the stays of prohibition – Boston relaxes marijuana laws”
Oh, we’ve already got lots of fabulous Weird Kids… this is the only city I’ve lived in that has a thriving circus-arts scene!
Balancing the different levels of government and law in the U.S. is such a complicated thing that we actually have a significant body of law addressing only that issue. As an example, some of the most significant cases before the U.S. Supreme Court revolve around when federal law preempts state law and when it doesn’t. I was raised on our federal system, but lately I’ve begun to wonder just how much energy we waste on these fights.
And some issues are actually resolved on the voting precinct level — voting precincts being very small jurisdictions within a county that are primarily designed to make sure everyone can vote at a location near where they live. Here in Texas, the decision on whether to sell beer, wine, and liquor — including whether or not bars are permitted — is made on the voting precinct level. In areas where most of the precincts are “dry” (don’t sell booze), a liquor store in a “wet” (you get the idea) precinct can make a bundle and bootlegging is a profitable sideline for many young people.
Is this approach to lawmaking really so different from devolution in the UK?
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