Federalism is a form of political organization consisting in establishing an alliance between communities. It is the best way to integrate entities that want to ally for the benefit of the whole being and each one of its entities. Federalism is when two or more entities govern the same geographical area; in the United States the power is divided among the federal government, state government and the local government.
The term “federate” comes from faedus, which means “pact”, “alliance”. Federalism is constituted from the union of a series of diverse territories or from the decentralization of a unitary state. Both concepts, union, and plurality, are indispensable to understand the meaning of modern federalism. If there is no will to unite with those who are different, to treat each other as equals, preserve fundamental rights and promote common goals, there is no federation. Unity and diversity are not opposite concepts; unity is opposed to disunity, and diversity to homogeneity, which does not always favor unity. The paradigm of the modern federal State is the United States of America, constituted with the purpose not to homogenize, but to safeguard the liberties and autonomy of the different territories, under the emblem pluribus unum, unity in diversity.
The great advantage of a federalist system, or at least subnational government divisions, lies in the fact that agreements between governors and the governed can be stable and with a direct link to the extent that the authorities are closer to the citizens. Moreover, it increases and facilitates opportunities for citizen participation when defining what the public problems of the community are and what their treatment should be. It also increases the opportunities to collaborate with the government in the development of policies, to monitor public administration and to evaluate its results. On the other side, its great disadvantage, however, lies in the fact that the coordination of different areas of government as well as the multiplicity of jurisdictions can lead to coordination problems that undermine the effectiveness of government action. In some way, the advantage of federalism is representative, its main disadvantage is organizational in terms of effectiveness to perform large joint tasks. Among the disadvantages of federalism, it is argued that it can establish unnecessary barriers that hinder the free movement of people, goods and services within the country and, in addition, suppose the duplication of organs and services, which can constitute a more expensive way of organizing the State.
One topic that can be used to explain Federalism is the legalization of marijuana, whether if it is for recreational or medical purposes many states are legalizing marijuana to some extent. Since Donald Trump was campaigning, he promised it would up to the states if they wanted to legalize marijuana or not, and that statement has been causing endless arguments in Washington. Many argue that the constitution does not mention the prohibition of marijuana or other substances, therefore it should not be a federal concern but a concern for each individual state. But if it is decided to leave it up to the states some changes must be made, because according to the federal laws it is a crime to possess or traffic marijuana, therefore even though it would be legal for the states, it is illegal at a federal level.
Adler, J. H. (2017, August 14). Opinion | Will marijuana make federalism go up in smoke? Retrieved December 13, 2017, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh- conspiracy/wp/2017/08/14/will-marijuana-make-federalism-go-up-in-smoke/? utm_term=.b363a1dc9de8
Phillips, J. (2017, September 25). Medical marijuana amendment a states-rights issue. Retrieved December 13, 2017, from https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/sep/ 25/medical-marijuana-federalism-states-rights/
State & Local Government. (2017, March 08). Retrieved December 13, 2017, from https:// www.whitehouse.gov/1600/state-and-local-government