“States Right’s” Proponents Should Lead the Fight against Federal Marijuana Prohibition

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The Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Attorneys have raided Cannabis dispensaries and sent people to prison, even though they complied with State laws. According to a report released by Americans for Safe Access, the DOJ has spent nearly $80 million each year — more than $200,000 per day — cracking down on medical Cannabis. The federal government continues to classify Cannabis, a plant, as presenting the greatest danger, alongside heroin and LSD, with no currently accepted medical use.

We are a union of sovereign states which delegated only certain, limited sovereignty to a central government. The U. S. Congress prohibits Cannabis through its misuse of the Commerce clause of the Constitution. The Commerce Clause, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 of the Constitution, declares: Congress shall have power “to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.”

Congress’ power “to regulate” commerce does not include the authority “to prohibit”. Congress does not possess the authority to ban goods merely because they cross state lines.

The Framers did not intend Congress to determine, via prohibition, what kinds of goods could move in interstate markets. They sought to take away from the states the power and ability to legislate interfering and neighborly regulations and enabled Congress to create uniform rules for trade. Their primary goal of the Commerce Clause was to facilitate trade between States.

The word ‘regulate’ means to ‘make regular’. Thus, trade between the States were to be common rules and the federal government was to only adjudicate differences, not prohibit a plant from being shipped interstate. Congress did not pass any laws to prohibit domestic interstate trade for well over a hundred years. No one at the time of the creating of the Constitution suggested that Congress could or should impose any restraints on the goods circulating in the interstate market.

If you are a believer in “State’s Rights,” Cannabis prohibition by the Federal Government is a clear overreach of federal power. The Sovereign States retain sole authority to allow Cannabis. The States retain the power to exempt cannabis from criminal sanctions, in spite of Congress’ unconstitutional ban on the plant. In order to win this issue and fully nullify, states and localities must continue to fight Federal overreach. The Department of Justice prosecuting Cannabis patients substantially interferes with each Sovereign State’s marijuana laws. We must stop the DOJ from prosecuting patients and dispensaries.

“The Justice Department is ignoring the will of the voters, defying Congress, and breaking the law…” Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance said. We need to rein in the DOJ, it is out of control.

To date, almost half of the States have legalized marijuana for medical purposes and some have legalized limited medical use of non-psychoactive cannabis extracts, which are often used to treat children with severe epilepsy. A few states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana.

A 2014 CBS News poll found 86 percent of Americans believe doctors should be able to prescribe Cannabis to their patients, clearly the American public overwhelmingly supports the use of medical Cannabis. More importantly, our Constitution should be strictly construed, recognizing that the Sovereign States have police power, not the Federal Government.

Post by: Gilbert G. Garcia

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