During a recent radio interview with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt blasted the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, calling it “as unconstitutional as any agency I’ve ever seen.” Sessions enthusiastically agreed.

During that same conversation, Hewitt urged Sessions to crack down on states with legal marijuana. Sessions opined about the federal government’s authority to do just that.

Sorry hypocrites. You don’t have the manpower.

In the first place, these people don’t care anything about constitutionality when it gets in the way of their policy preferences.

Hewitt implored Sessions to use RICO statutes to go after marijuana businesses in states where it’s legal.

“A lot of states are just simply breaking the law. And a lot of money is being made and banked. One RICO prosecution of one producer and the banks that service them would shut this all down. Is such a prosecution going to happen?”

Sessions was lukewarm on the RICO idea, but enthusiastically defended the federal government’s authority to stick it to people in states with legal cannabis.

“I do not believe there’s any argument, because a state legalized marijuana that the federal law against marijuana is no longer in existence. I do believe that the federal laws clearly are in effect in all 50 states. And we will do our best to enforce the laws as we’re required to do so.”

In fact, the feds have no constitutional authority to prohibit marijuana, especially within the borders of a state. If you doubt this assertion, ask yourself why it took a constitutional amendment for the prohibition of alcohol.

Hewitt trotted out a favorite progressive constitutional argument – the supremacy clause – apparently forgetting that the supremacy clause only applies to laws made “in pursuance” of the Constitution.

“But one prosecution that invokes a supremacy clause against one large dope manufacturing concern, and follows the money as it normally would in any drug operation and seizes it, would shut, would chill all of this.”

Sessions said he couldn’t comment on investigations, and Hewitt admitted he was “lobbying” for a crackdown on the more than two-dozen states that have legalized marijuana.

“Conservatives” like Hewitt and Sessions are fakes and frauds. They talk about limited government and hold up the Constitution as the standard. But when it stands in the way of their desired policy outcomes, it quickly gets shoved in a back pocket and ignored. When the expansion of federal power will achieve their goals, “limited government” rhetoric turns into appeals to the “supremacy clause.”

Marijuana should have always remained a state issue. The federal government has no authority to regulate a plant within the borders of a state. But Sessions clearly wants to continue the federal government’s foolish, unconstitutional war on a plant.

Unfortunately for Sessions, Hewitt and their posse of federal drug warriors, the feds don’t have the personnel or resources to “enforce the laws.”  FBI statistics show that law enforcement makes approximately 99 of 100 marijuana arrests under state, not federal law. When states legalize cannabis and stop enforcing the law, it ends 99 percent of the enforcement. The 1 percent that remains can certainly cause trouble for people, but there is no way the feds can actually enforce federal law – not in a single state, much less across more than half the country.

The feds have tried. Clinton tried. Bush tried. Obama tried. I’m sure Trump and his pet dinosaur Sessions will try. But they will ultimately fail. They can talk about federal laws “clearly being in effect in all 50 states” all they want. Making that a practical reality is a different ball of wax. Without the manpower, it’s all just talk.

Mike Maharrey

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