There is a positive aspect of nullification that many overlook: the financial benefit of states taking control of their own policy.
We see a fantastic example of this in Colorado. Last year, state that thumbed it nose at the feds and legalized marijuana. Today, Colorado is beginning to reap the benefits of its decision to ignore federal law and open the door to marijuana.
The federal government prohibits marijuana, a gross violation of the Constitution. The federal government does not have the constitutional authority to regulate a plant within a state. If you doubt this, ask why it took a constitutional amendment for alcohol prohibition.
But despite the unconstitutional prohibition, Coloradoans voted to nullify the federal law and legalize marijuana.
Prohibitionists claimed the sky would fall. They predicted reefer madness would set in. They warned massive degeneracy would sweep Colorado. They were wrong. There’s been no societal collapse or uptick in crime.
But there has been an upside prohibitionists ignored, to the tune of $45 million in lawful marijuana commerce. That was in January alone. This resulted $2 million in additional revenue for the state of Colorado.
That means money for Colorado schools, roads and other programs.
But the feds would rather see Colorado robbed of those millions and instead waste state funds housing inmates for non-violent ‘crimes.’ The feds would prefer to maintain iron-fisted control and continue their multi-billion dollar War on Drugs, rather than see states prosper.
This is why nullification will ultimately succeed. State control over state policy benefits the people of the state. The genie is out of the bottle and the feds will never stuff her back in. They will try. But they will fail. Momentum has overwhelmed them. And the proof is in the proverbial pudding.
The Denver raids of Nov. 2013 were the dying gasp of a doomed policy. The feds huffed and puffed their way into Denver and raided a dozen medical marijuana dispensaries that were operating legally under state law. The DEA touted the raids as a major success. But consider, it disrupted less than 3 percent of the medical marijuana business in one city.
The feds spent a vast amount of money and expended tremendous resources to disrupt that paltry 3 percent of businesses at the time. Americans for Safe Access calculates that a direct raid on a medical marijuana dispensary costs around $300,000 and investigative costs run about $12 million per raid. That means the DEA just spent roughly $3.6 million on the raids themselves – plus investigative costs! Even if we play generous and assume that all 12 raids fell within the same investigative umbrella, that still means the DEA blew $15.6 million.
Despite this “show of force,” full legalization plunged ahead. Despite what was clearly a federal scare-tactic, just weeks later, stores selling marijuana for recreational use opened their doors. The feds didn’t slow the roll. Forty-five million dollars of marijuana revenue later, it’s clear they never will.
It wasn’t an easy road. It’s been a long hard fight from those first California medical marijuana clinics in the 1990s to today. There were raids and setbacks and unfavorable court rulings. But the movement pressed on and today, Coloradoans are $45 million richer.
The American people like being free and prosperous, and that will become more evident as the nullification movement spreads. The feds and their sympathizers have exhausted all of their credibility, and the continued success of the marijuana legalization experiment in Colorado will toss them right where they belong – into the dustbin of history alongside other failed ideologies of the past.