A recent development in Arkansas must be giving the feds conniptions. I mean, this sort of thing isn’t supposed to be occurring in the South, for God’s sake! So, just what is this thing that isn’t supposed to happen? Why, it’s a movement to legalize medical marijuana in the Razorback State. Of all the nerve!
Ryan Denham, the leader of the group Arkansans for Compassionate Care, and the one heading up the effort to put medical marijuana on the November ballot, is correct when he says his state’s residents are no different than those who reside in the other 17 states and D.C., which all have some form of legalized medical marijuana policy. People have common needs, afflictions, hopes, and wants, and it matters not where they reside in the United States–or in the world for that matter.
One of Denham’s detractors, Jerry Cox, the head of the conservative Arkansas Family Council, asks a truly ignorant question in reference to this measure.
“Why would we want to pass a law that blatantly violates federal law?”
Well, Mr. Cox, so you’re saying that you are OK with all of the federal laws, rules, and regulations as they currently exist? Think about it. You’re “conservative,” right? Do you like Roe v. Wade? Do you like Obamacare? This list could go on and on.
What’s happening in Arkansas and elsewhere–and not only with medical marijuana–is a sort of Whack-a-Mole situation for the feds. This past April, they whacked a major mole in Oakland when they raided, and basically shut down, Oaksterdam University, a medical marijuana training facility. But that raid was largely symbolic and meant to send an intimidating message: don’t get too organized or uppity. But the raid will do nothing constructive, as attested to by one of the protestors, Ryan Hooper, who said, “If they close the dispensaries, all this stuff is going to go back underground.” (Note: the city of Oakland had granted permission to Oaksterdam to operate as they were.)
This raid accomplished nothing as the moles will keep popping up not only in areas where they were once bopped, like this case, but also in countless other areas yet to appear. The feds eventually will stretch themselves so thin, they will become ineffective, irrelevant, and ignored.
The simple fact in all of this is – there is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that says that the federal government can tell a state, or its residents, what it can allow or what they can consume within the state’s confines, respectively.
No, calling it a “war on drugs,” will not do it. Nor does citing the commerce clause, which only concerns making commerce regular among the several states–with no state interfering in the commerce of another. It doesn’t matter that some court ruling or another somehow broadened the commerce or “supremacy” clauses to allow the federal government to run roughshod over the states and the people. These clauses are all chained by three ignored, but powerfully qualifying words in the Constitution: “in pursuance thereof.”
The federal government can only take actions that are in pursuance of its limited duties, as spelled out in Article 1, Section 8.
This limiting nature of the federal government is buttressed by the early states’ ratifying conventions, which made it clear that the federal government was created to serve the states in the areas where they could not effectively function as separate entities. In all other areas the fed was to back off, or else it would start to become the states’ overlord, which is exactly what the states did not want.
So, whether you’re an advocate for medical marijuana or not, if you’re a true Republican–a disciple of the Republic as it was founded–you have to be rooting for Arkansas’ bold southern entrance into the increasingly popular realm of nullification efforts. If successful, this initiative will embolden other southern states to follow suit and become thorns in the side of a bloated federal government.
Hopefully someday these thorns will completely deflate the fed to its pre-gluttonous state.
Now that would give me comfort.