From CBS affiliate WTVR.com in Richmond:
Delegate Harvey Morgan, a Republican from the 98th district, is introducing legislation that would give more patients access to medical marijuana, as long as they had a doctor’s prescription.
This could be another positive step toward ending decades of incredibly costly and embarrassingly futile prohibition efforts, at least in Virginia. Thirteen other states have had some form of medical marijuana laws on their books since 1996, and are yet to descend into the anarchy or civil unrest predicted by anti-pot crusaders.
There is one small problem though. Delegate Harvey Morgan doesn’t understand his own bill. Observe:
Morgan says federal law would have to change, to make Virginia’s law technically legal. “We can’t do it legally until the federal government releases [marijuana] from the category 1 or schedule 1 classification.”
On second thought, maybe it’s the Constitution he’s fuzzy on.
Most likely, Del. Morgan is laboring under the widespread misconception, popularized by the Supreme Court and public schooling, that federal laws always trump state laws by sheer virtue of their existence.
When, in fact, barring a change to the Constitution, Congress has no authority to prohibit certain substances from being grown, distributed, or possessed within a state. (Note: The 18th and 21st Amendments.)
Of course, an individual state may prohibit (or allow) marijuana or any other drug, depending on the will of its voters, just as individual states like Massachusetts can concoct harebrained socialized medicine schemes and bankrupt themselves.
But the federal government has no such authority, one way or the other.
This is an important point, especially in these days of renewed calls for federalism and nullification. Anyone who opposes ObamaCare on constitutional grounds must recognize that the same logic applies to prohibition.
For constitutionally limited government to work, it must be constitutionally limited at all times.