Editor’s Note: Scheduled to be introduced in Maryland next week – a bill to make medical marijuana legal within the state.
This is classic federal government paint with a “broad brush” methodology and it’s good to see my home state taking a stand. While I am firmly against drug misuse, the federal government really has itself in a quandary over medical marijuana. But, this quandary is fully earned by those in power who insist on ignoring the Founders clear reasoning regarding Article 1. Section 8., and its clear limitations on Congress.
First off, it is worth considering that when Congress thought it necessary to “control” substance abuse in prior times, it at least acted constitutionally, passing the 18th Amendment only to repeal it roughly fourteen years later with the 21st Amendment. This would not be the case with the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970.
Bowing to pressure from the youth revolt of the 1960’s and its connection with drug abuse, Congress in collusion with the Executive Branch, passed this Act, bypassing the Amendment Process. Rather than following the prescribed process in the U.S. Constitution, relying on the current non-original meaning of the Commerce Clause, Congress felt complete liberty to bypass the Constitution and encumber States from exercising their prerogatives under the 10th Amendment.
Not known as a specific challenge to the very liberal rendering of the Commerce Clause, medical marijuana now poses a real threat to the enforcement power of the Federal Government. With state after state defying Washington DC over this issue; clearly marijuana is a Schedule 1 controlled substance. Washington DC has a choice to make; enforce their laws based on a very liberal interpretation of the Commerce Clause by sending thousands of DEA agents into all fifty states…or…look the other way. Thus far, they’ve chosen to look the other way for if they create the appearance of a Federal takeover of police powers in the States, they will fully expose their extra-constitutional behavior and provoke a direct confrontation with the States who will use the 10th Amendment (hopefully) to defend their prerogatives.
Time will tell how this will play out. But with more and more States introducing 10th Amendment legislation in their legislatures, the Federal Government hopefully feels the Founders and the Charter Documents they penned nipping at their heels. This coupled with an ever-growing Tea Party movement intent on defining itself through the Founders vision suggests a new approach to governance may be on the horizon. An approach that reinvigorates the Original Meaning of the Constitution verses the current Case Law approach which is similar to a ship in the middle of an ocean without a rudder. This form of governance relies on polls, give-a-ways, power, and loose interpretation’s to govern. Contrasted with the Founders who relied on their Creator and Natures Law, the principles so eloquently penned, “We hold these truths to be self-evident,” gave direction to a budding form of government. Will an unlikely ally to liberty, medical marijuana, help us find our way back to those truths? Again, time will tell, but today, I’m proud to be a Marylander.