Skip to comments.Legalizing Drugs Is Constitutional
Posted on 01/23/2012 4:52:49 AM PST by Kaslin
I believe that states have the constitutional right to legalize drugs. For, the Constitution is silent on the federal governments ability to regulate or ban substances that adults choose to digest at their own perilor medical relief.
The Constitution is so silent on this matter of individual liberty (choosing to digest or use drugs) that in order to ban the sale of alcohol during the Prohibition era, we passed the 18th Amendment. When we wised up and realized that banning alcohol doesnt work, we repealed the 18th Amendment via the 21st Amendment. I contend that federal drug laws are unconstitutional because they do not stem from a constitutional amendment.
Since the Constitution defines our freedoms negatively, states and individuals retain all rights that are not explicitly delegated to the federal government. The 10th Amendment states: 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. In other words, because the Constitution is silent on drugs, states alone have the constitutional power to regulate drugs.
Voters in states like California have exercised their constitutional right to legalize drugs, specifically medicinal marijuana to help cancer patients and those suffering from chronic pain due to autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis.
Californians arent flower power hippies. These voters realize that if its constitutional for individual Americans to binge on four-to-five alcoholic drinks in one sittingdrinks that incidentally do nothing to relieve chronic painit makes sense to legalize a far less lethal substance like marijuana with verified pain-relief benefits.
A prestigious medical study published by The Lancet in November 2010 reveals that alcohol is more lethal than heroin and crack cocaine and drastically more harmful than marijuana, ecstasy and LSD. On Jan. 6, 2012, The Lancet reaffirmed these findings with a global study revealing that: marijuana was the worlds most widely consumed illicit drug [and] the least likely of all illicit drugs to cause death, as The New York Times relays.
We have not amended the Constitution to outlaw drugs. Nor did the war on drugs germinate in Congress. Instead, successive court rulings and executive orders have unconstitutionally banned drug use at the federal leveleven to the point of overriding the sovereignty of states that explicitly legalize drugs.
And when the court decides to apply the Bill of Rights to state law, it winds up trampling on the most important safeguard of our liberties: the division of power between the federal and state governments. By the middle of the twentieth century the due process clause within the Fourteenth Amendment had come to be seen as the catchall phrase for federal intervention, writes author Jason Lewis in Power Divided is Power Checked.
Today, the Federal government, via the Department of Justice, has violated the separation of powers that the Founding Fathers wrote into the Constitution. Federal agents allege that medical marijuana dispensaries and growers violate federal lawripping out medicinal cannabis plants and destroying legitimate livelihoods overnight.
The New York Times reports: Federal law classifies the possession and sale of marijuana as a serious crime and does not grant exceptions for medical use, so the programs adopted here, in 15 other states and in the District of Columbia exist in an odd legal limbo. federal prosecutors have raided or threatened to seize the property of scores of growers and dispensaries in California that, in some cases, are regarded by local officials as law-abiding models. At the same time, the Internal Revenue Service has levied large, disputed tax charges against the states largest dispensary, threatening its ability to continue.
The war on drugs began when President Richard Nixon bypassed Congress and declared a war on drugs on July 17, 1971. He said that drug abuse was a national emergency and Americas public enemy number one. He signed the war into law on January 28, 1972. By unconstitutional executive order, Nixon created the first drug czar and also created an extra-congressional agency to regulate drugs called the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Successive Presidents have sustained this war.
Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress (not the president) the Power To declare war. Federalist and framer Alexander Hamilton further explains the Constitutions checks on executive reach in The Federalist No. 78. He says the president publicly declares and enforces the laws Congress makes and the decisions or appointments Congress approves: The Executive not only dispenses the honors, but holds the sword of the community.
Some might object that Americas forty-year-long and over $2.5-trillion fight against drug abuse isnt technically a war. But thats a hard position to defend when scores of innocent Americans and Mexicans have died throughout our combat with brutal Mexican drug cartels. Since 2006 alone, when President Felipe Calderón declared his own war against drugs, between 40,000 and 50,000 people (depending on your source) have died in this conflict.
Moreover, the right to own your entire person is a fundamental human right and it is foundational to the Constitution. Unless you use wrongful force against another person or their property, you retain full ownership over your body. As John Locke points out, reason tells you that you fully own your body. No one else owns your bodynot your neighbors, your family or the government.
Rep. Ron Paul explains: All of our freedoms the freedom of religion and assembly, the freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, the right to be free from unnecessary government searches and seizures stem from the precept that you own yourself and are responsible for your own choices. Prohibition laws negate self-ownership and are an absolute affront to the principles of freedom. I disagree vehemently with the recreational use of drugs, but at the same time, if people are only free to make good decisions, they are not truly free. In any case, states should decide for themselves how to handle these issues and the federal government should respect their choices.
Freedom is the power to choose between good and bad options for our own private property and body; freedom is the power to opt for healthy behaviors like prayer, aerobic exercise and strength training over unhealthy behaviors like self-mutilation, chain smoking, binge drinking and inhaling pain thinner. I think the federal government needs to respect individual freedom by deferring to the states in matters like drug use where the Constitution is silent.
bump for later
I agree with Katie regarding the constitutionality.
Yes, the states *SHOULD* be able to legalize drugs and tell the federal government to get out of it’s business.
And every state should do just the opposite, and ***not*** legalize them.
Just because they can legalize them, doesn’t mean they should. But enough is enough with the totalitarian federal government.
I’ll bet there are many millions of jobs directly and indirectly dependent on this war.
Although I agree with the author the USSC does not and has ruled the commerce clause gives the Federal Government jusrisdiction to preempt the entire field on this issue.
Having a right and it being right are two different things.
But not one for drugs how come
A serious discussion would include the arguments made in SCOTUS case Gonzales v. Raich in which Thomas’s dissenting opinon demonstrated that he is THE conservative on the court.
Nonetheless that's never going to happen, hence the "War on Drugs(TM)", instituted under Richard Nixon. This is the single biggest issue I have with Republicans and there is little if anything to choose between demmy and pubby pols on the issue. The "war on drugs" leads to
It is that final item which some would use as a pretext to eviscerate the second amendment, which is the link pin of the entire bill of rights. Consider the following from the former head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection under the Bush administration no less:
The former head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection called Monday for the U.S. to reinstitute the ban on assault weapons and take other measures to rein in the war between Mexico and its drug cartels, saying the violence has the potential to bring down legitimate rule in that country.
Former CBP Commissioner Robert C. Bonner also called for the United States to more aggressively investigate U.S. gun sellers and tighten security along its side of the border, describing the situation as "critical" to the safety of people in both countries, whether they live near the border or not.
Mexico, for its part, needs to reduce official corruption and organize its forces along the lines the U.S. does, such as a specialized border patrol and a customs agency with a broader mandate than monitoring trade, Mr. Bonner said in an exchange of e-mails.
"Border security is especially important to breaking the power and influence of the Mexican-based trafficking organizations," Mr. Bonner said. "Despite vigorous efforts by both governments, huge volumes of illegal drugs still cross from Mexico..."
The problem here clearly is not guns and it is clearly a problem of economics. The drugs one of these idiots would use in a day under rational circumstances would cost a dollar; that would simply present no scope for crime or criminals. Under present circumstances that dollar's worth of drugs is costing the user $300 a day and since that guy is dealing with a 10% fence, he's having to commit $3000 worth of crime to buy that dollar's worth of drugs. In other words, a dollar's worth of chemicals has been converted into $3000 worth of crime, times the number of those idiots out there, times 365 days per year, all through the magic of stupid laws. No nation on Earth could afford that forever.
A rational set of drug laws would:
Do all of that, and the drug problem and 70% of all urban crime will vanish within two years. That would be an optimal solution; but you could simply legalize it all and still be vastly better off than we are now. 150 Years ago, there were no drug laws in America and there were no overwhelming drug problems. How bright do you really need to be to figure that one out?
So is jumping off of a bridge.
Be my guest...
Heck, pharmaceutical grade heroin on the grocery shelves would be a great way to clean up our society, but only after I have made heavy investment in a body bag company. /sarc, maybe/
See Darwin for clarification.
So “states” could allow felons to carry handguns???
Government Centers??? Are you serious???? The lawsuits for overdoses by the family members alone would bankrupt your program. Or you could ration the amount of product that a user could get, but that would lead to "street drugs" to get around the government rations. Either way, Government Centers don't work!
We have spent more money, lost more rights, lost more lives and ruined more families than probably ALL the other wars the United States has fought - COMBINED! And all in the name of this “War on Drugs!”
We tried “legislating morality” with prohibition; that didn’t work out either! But, at least back then the American public was smart enough to realize that we were wasting time, money, resources, lives and CREATING a HUGE criminal element where a very small one had existed before!
The United States government has created a world-wide, illegal drug market and yet still doesn’t understand why the problem isn’t going away or getting smaller! DUH!
If the drugs travel across state lines, they are in commerce. Even very traditional interpretations of the commerce clause from before the New Deal destruction of the Constitution would allow the feds to regulate interstate drug sales. But they have no authority to regulate heroin grown and consumed in, say, California.
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