During a large drug policy reform summit held in Denver from Oct. 23 to 26, a panel convened to consider jury nullification as a tool to bring the so-called ‘War On Drugs’ to a halt.
The event, co-hosted by groups including the ACLU and NORML, was planned to ‘explore the history of jury nullification, its use in drug cases, how to use jury nullification as an advocacy tool, and strategies for building a jury nullification movement to stem the tide of the drug war,’ according to a recent Huffington Post article.
Although we do not specifically focus on jury nullification at the Tenth Amendment Center, we do advocate it as a way for individuals to fight back against evil, unconstitutional laws. As a method, jury nullification certainly goes along with our message of decentralized resistance and non-compliance.
Marijuana legalization has served as a fantastic case study for the effectiveness of state resistance to federal law in recent years. Washington and Colorado both legalized in 2012, and the federal drug warriors blinked and stood down. After spending hundreds of billions of dollars over many decades in a futile crusade against a medicinal plant, they were finally forced to save the white flag of surrender. Why? Because the states put their foot down and said, “NO!”
The states of Colorado and Washington nullified (rendered void and unenforceable) some of the most irrational, illogical, anti-science, racist laws ever thrust onto us by the federal government.
The discussion on jury nullification was only one piece of a comprehensive reform plan. The reformers in Denver are also coming up with ways to bring health freedom to the other 48 states at their conference. Other topics addressed included forming alliances with a growing number of conservatives and libertarians who are concerned about the unconstitutionality of the War On Drugs, how to bring religious groups aboard, dealing with the media hysteria over synthetic drugs and appealing to popular culture.
More information about the conference can be found at their website, reformconference.org