Marijuana. Pot. Weed. Medicine.
Whatever you call the plant, Washington DC considers it dangerous and illegal. Laws on the books in Congress – illegal. The executive branch – aggressive about enforcing those laws. The supreme court – in 2005 ruled against the idea of states legalizing for any purpose.
But yet, 17 states have been standing up and defying DC on this issue by legalizing marijuana for limited medicinal purposes. And while the feds may huff and puff (pun intended), each year and each subsequent state to get on board has made it more and more difficult for them to enforce their unconstitutional “laws” on the people of these states.
Today, Massachusetts voters made their state the 18th to nullify federal marijuana laws, by a landslide. With more than 30% reporting, Question 3 can be reported as being passed by a vote of 63-37%. The YES vote was in support of a proposed law “to eliminate state criminal and civil penalties related to the medical use of marijuana, allowing patients meeting certain conditions to obtain marijuana produced and distributed by new state-regulated centers or, in specific hardship cases, to grow marijuana for their own use.”
THE NULLIFICATION STORY
In the 1990s, the People of California voted to legalize consumption of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Angel Raich, who had a huge cancerous tumor in her brain was told by her doctor that using marijuana to relieve some of the pain was acceptable.
Marijuana, though, is “illegal” on a federal level in all circumstances, so the feds decided to make an example. Federal agents destroyed Angel’s homegrown marijuana plants without much resistance.
Angel sued and went all the way to the Supreme Court. And in Gonzales v Raich, Angel lost. The 2005 ruling made clear that the federal government did not recognize state laws authorizing the use of marijuana – in any situation.
In his dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas gave a stark warning:
“if the Federal Government can regulate growing a half-dozen cannabis plants for personal consumption then Congress’ Article I powers have no meaningful limits.”
So what happened? Did the weed activists take the same route as those who supported Roscoe decades earlier?
They basically said, thanks for your opinion, Supreme Court, now come and try to enforce it!
At the time the Raich ruling came down, there were ten states that had marijuana laws. But, how many repealed after that decision?
Today, with Massachusetts, another eight are on board, defying the federal government and increasingly getting away with it.
What’s the lesson here?
When enough people say no to the federal government, including the supreme court, and enough states pass laws backing them up, it becomes nearly impossible for them to force their unconstitutional laws, regulations and mandates down our throats!
Bottom line? The federal government has no constitutional authority to mandate the purchase of a product. Or, ban the purchase of a product either. Massachusetts Question 3 is another major step towards returning the power over agricultural regulations where it belongs – with the people of the several states.
Latest posts by Michael Boldin (see all)
- Integrity and the Constitution: President Madison’s 1817 Veto - February 6, 2016
- South Dakota House Votes 57-11 to Legalize Commercial Hemp Farming and Production - February 4, 2016
- Is State Legalization the Same as Federal Prohibition? In a Word, No. - February 4, 2016