AUGUSTA, Maine (June 17, 2015) – The Maine Senate rejected a bill that would have expanded upon the state’s current medical marijuana program and further nullified in practice the unconstitutional federal program on the same.

Introduced in January by Rep. Diane Russell (D-Portland), Legislative Document 23 (LD23) “removes from the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act any limitation on the type of medical conditions for which patients may be certified by their physicians to engage in the medical use of marijuana.” It had passed the state House on May 28 with a 113-32 vote. However, the state Senate rejected the bill on June 16 with a 16-19 vote, effectively killing this reform.

In 1999, Maine passed the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act, which started the process of nullifying in practice the unconstitutional federal prohibition within the state by authorizing the plant’s use in limited, medical situations. LD23 would have built upon this nullification in a narrow but important way.

With marijuana considered illegal by all branches of the federal government, LD23 would have represented a significant expansion of the state-level, practical nullification of such prohibition from Washington D.C. The Senate rejected the bill in spite of it being completely legitimate and Constitutional, consistent with well-established Supreme Court precedent.


Congress and the president claim the constitutional authority to ban marijuana. The Supreme Court concurs. They have repeatedly upheld the legal doctrine of anti-commandeering. It rests primarily on four SCOTUS cases – Prigg v. Pennsylvania (1842), New York v. US (1992), Printz v. US (1997) and National Federation of Businesses v. Sebelius (2012). These cases made it abundantly clear that federal government cannot force states to help implement or enforce a federal act or program against their will.

The anti-commandeering doctrine has allowed many states to lawfully circumvent federal marijuana prohibition. Nearly two-dozen states have taken steps to put the well-being of their citizens above the so-called federal supremacy by legalizing marijuana to varying degrees in spite of federal commands to the contrary.

“The rapidly growing and wildly successful state-level movement to legalize marijuana, either completely, or for medical use, proves that states can successfully effectively reject unconstitutional federal acts. The feds can claim the authority to prohibit pot all they want, but it clearly has done nothing to deter states from moving forward with plans to allow it, pushed by the will of the people,” Boldin said.

In spite of the failure of LD23, Maine residents still have the chance to relax their state’s restrictions on marijuana this year as two bills are still active in the legislature. LD35 would increase patient access to medical marijuana while LD1401 would legalize marijuana fully and open a retail market for the plant in the state. Maine legislators still have an ample opportunity to sensibly and compassionately regulate marijuana in 2015.


For Maine: Support important marijuana bills that are still active in the state by following all the action steps at THIS LINK.
For other states: Take action to push back against the federal drug war at this link.

The 10th Amendment

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”



Featured Articles

On the Constitution, history, the founders, and analysis of current events.

featured articles


Tenther Blog and News

Nullification news, quick takes, history, interviews, podcasts and much more.

tenther blog


State of the Nullification Movement

232 pages. History, constitutionality, and application today.

get the report


Path to Liberty

Our flagship podcast. Michael Boldin on the constitution, history, and strategy for liberty today

path to liberty


Maharrey Minute

The title says it all. Mike Maharrey with a 1 minute take on issues under a 10th Amendment lens. maharrey minute

Tenther Essentials

2-4 minute videos on key Constitutional issues - history, and application today


Join TAC, Support Liberty!

Nothing helps us get the job done more than the financial support of our members, from just $2/month!



The 10th Amendment

History, meaning, and purpose - the "Foundation of the Constitution."

10th Amendment



Get an overview of the principles, background, and application in history - and today.