We can neuter the feds simply by refusing to join them on the playground.
There is a lot of talk these days about how liberty yields to “security” and how government has grown in size and power with the “War on Terror.” But in reality, this national security state has existed as a permanent installation since the Cold War. And its not just foreign wars driving the militarized state. The decades long War on Drugs has contributed as much, if not more.
But here is some good news: recently released data on the “Drug War” indicates so-called security may, in fact, be yielding to liberty!
“Decreased availability of local law enforcement personnel to assist in eradication efforts” is one of the primary concerns for the unconstitutional Drug Enforcement Administration. Federal statistics showed a drop of 60 percent in the amount of marijuana destroyed. In 2009, over 10 million plants were seized, but in 2012 that number fell below four million.
Buried in this statistic, we see the power and potential of state nullification. With 19 states authorizing medical marijuana, and Washington and Colorado legalizing weed for recreational use, we see the carpet slipping out from under the feds. Each time a state takes control of its own marijuana policy, it has less incentive to cooperate with the feds in eradicating weed. That leaves the DEA to operate on its own. And it simply can’t do it. The feds lack the funding and manpower to control marijuana in all 50 states against the will of the people.
And the will of the people has turned against the war on marijuana. A Pew Research poll shows 59 percent of Democrats and 57 percent of Republicans think the feds should back off enforcing federal drug laws in states with legalized marijuana. The lack of public will translates to a lack of political will. With states facing tight budgets, officials simply won’t waste resources helping the feds enforce unconstitutional and unpopular acts. In California and other states, the funds simply aren’t there to lend support to the feds. Even if people don’t embrace, or even understand, the principles of nullification, the effect is the same: the federal “laws” become unenforceable.
This idea doesn’t just apply to marijuana. No matter the issue, a lack of compliance from the “bottom” (the states) makes a huge difference in what the “top” (Washington, D.C.) can get away with. If state and local governments refuse to enforce federal gun laws, the feds will find it impossible to enforce them. If state governments continue to refuse implementation of the REAL ID Act, the act will never get implemented. If states refuse to cooperate with implementation of Obamacare, the national health care system simply won’t work.
Bottom line: the feds need the states. And the states do not have to play.
Even in states lacking the political will for nullification at the state level, local governments can throw significant roadblocks in the way of the feds. Imagine a state blanketed by cities and counties refusing cooperation with DEA sweeps. It would be like driving through a parking lot full of speed bumps. Annoying at best, and unnavigable when numerous enough.
It is time for freedom lovers and champions of limited government to embrace nullification through non-compliance, run with it, and win. Among the model legislation offered here at TAC, be sure to check out these specifically targeted for local government.
The DEA won’t wake up one morning, read Article 1, Section 8, or the Bill of Rights, and suddenly decide to abolish itself. But state and local non-compliance will neuter these drug warriors, along with agents from other federal ABC agencies. Nullification yanks out their teeth, leaving the Department of Justice to “continue a letter writing campaign to encourage property owners to voluntarily close dispensaries/grows.”
If we continue to spread non-compliant nullification, the bite of tyranny will eventually evolve into bark-only scare tactics.