Skip to comments.Marijuana Ballot Issues Have Little To Do With Drugs
Posted on 07/30/2012 10:38:42 AM PDT by Shout Bits
This November, as many as eight States will have marijuana ballot issues before their voters. Most are medicinal issues, but States like Oregon and Colorado will decide on full legalization. Just as judging the average alcohol drinker by observing gutter drunks is unfounded, most marijuana users are not actually wild smelly Occupy Wall Street hippies (as annoying as they can be). Pollsters estimate that 25 million Americans regularly consume marijuana, and there simply are not enough Rasta cab drivers and jazz fans to fill those ranks. Politically, the tide is turning in favor of recreational marijuana use, but for the 90% of Americans who are not regular partakers, the marijuana issue has more impact than getting high. In fact, the marijuana issue is a test bed for the entirety of the wrongs Washington imposes on the States and the People.
Marijuana has, of course, been proven to be medically benign. Contrary to government propaganda, marijuana does not engender violent or dangerous behavior unlike tequila. Further, the drug's use does not seem to rise or fall based on its legality. In The Netherlands, where marijuana is more or less legal, its use is less prevalent than in the US, where marijuana is mostly illegal. Dreamers who think states can balance their budgets by taxing marijuana like tobacco or booze will be disappointed as marijuana usage cannot generate a large tax base as do cigarettes and liquor. Those who foresee a fall in crime as the illegal profit is eliminated are also overly optimistic. Until all vices are legal and regulated, cartels will still trade in violence. In short, should marijuana become legal in the US, expect essentially no impact.
Why, then is the marijuana issue relevant? The marijuana issue brings the 10th Amendment, the Commerce Clause, and the Supremacy Clause to a poignant head and is a colorful wedge for those who generally support individual liberty and responsibility. Washington's corruption withers in the light of the marijuana issue.
In Wickard v. Filburn, the Supreme Court held that FDR's multi-year attempt to help farmers by forcing them to farm less acreage than they wanted was constitutional. They held that even if farm produce were grown in a single state with seed, fertilizer, and water from only that state, for consumption intrastate, the Commerce clause allowed Washington to dictate any aspect of that farm's operation because the activities of the farm might affect markets out of state. Nothing had to cross state lines to be regulated as interstate commerce. Fast forward 80 years, and this same logic (under a different name) allows Washington to force individuals to buy a minimum level of healthcare products. For those who think Washington knows best, these rulings are wonderful news, but for the libertarian they invite tyranny.
Regardless of Supreme Court decisions, the plain language and original intent of the Commerce Clause is to ensure that states do not enact trade barriers between themselves. It does not say that commerce may be regulated within a state; it does not say that the commerce of individuals may be regulated. The Commerce Clause puts regulating interstate commerce at the same level as trade with foreign nations and Indian tribes, clearly implying that Washington's role is to facilitate free trade, not to dictate how many acres a farmer may plant. Quite often the plain language reading of a law is truer than the convolutions of talented specialist minds.
FDR outlawed marijuana about the same time as he regulated farmers and under the same Commerce Clause authority (in the form of a tax, if that sounds familiar). Indeed, most of Washington's departures from the Constitution's enumerated powers stem from the abuse of the Commerce Clause. Should a State fully legalize marijuana this November, the very heart of Washington's bloat will be tested. Interestingly, Justice Roberts's horrid logic that Obamacare was illegal under the Commerce Clause but legal as a tax gains traction in such a showdown. Should a State's perfect document, its Constitution, be amended to legalize marijuana, that State would be obligated to take the issue to the Supreme Court unless Washington backs down. The marijuana issue may give libertarians another swipe at the Commerce Clause, a gift given by States broadly in favor of Obamacare.
Can Washington imprison someone for growing a plant in Colorado using Colorado materials, all for Colorado or even personal consumption? Is there any boundary to Washington's power over the States and the People? Is Washington's law supreme over a State's, even when Washington's law is not authorized under the Constitution? Does the 10th Amendment mean anything? Should marijuana be legalized somewhere this November, these questions might be revisited and the tide of Washington's tyranny over its purported masters could be reversed. Even for those who find the herbal libation distasteful, these are good reasons to vote to legalize marijuana.
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Just a guess here, but I don’t think you’re going to find a highly receptive audience on this forum for your pro-drug agenda, no matter how you couch it Constitutional rhetoric.
Like I said, just a guess .....
the real result will be all the potheads who will kill people with car crashes.
Employers will simply drug test everyone and NOBODY will be hired who smokes pot. Driving while impared laws will be extended to allow longer detentions while blood and hair samples are taken.
Anyone who is perscribed pot should be ineligible to drive, own a gun, operate any machinery (heavy or light), etc.
I was wondering about that... if that drug is legal in my state (OR), can I discriminate in hiring against those who use it? Screen for THC even though it is legal?
I agree about DUI. They will have to be able to test for impairment, establish legal limits, etc.
Well, now the laws regarding pot are changing.
No matter how many anecdotal accounts I hear from stoners about how they all know some hyper-achieving pot smoker -- and gosh, don't they all have a friend like that -- I still think that marijuana use turns you into a lame-ass.
Hell, just look at Michael Phelps. He won eight gold medals in the last Olympics, discovered marijuana, and now he's rubbish. I won't blame marijuana for his loss, but I bet there were plenty of times that he could have been training in the pool but he decided to get high instead.
If a government can proscribe a weed, it can certainly proscribe say, ammunition or the components of ammunition.
We must be concerned with the health and safety of our population, mustn't we?
Hell Yes! And also anyone who drinks beer. Or wine.
Those scumbags are a threat to us all, and by extension, to all humanity.
Since it is legal to not hire tobacco smokers it should be doubly important to be able to exclude pot smokers. In fact it would be a marketing bonus. It may also be a liability insurnce REQUIREMENT to exclude pot smokers.
There is no DWI/DUI pot test for the roadside. Generally, the pot smoker simply drives impaired and kills pedestrians and other drivers. The most efficient solution is to pull the license of medicinal pot users.
Yeah, plus he leaves out a lot of the negatives regarding Marijuana. It tends to make people worthless and lazy, thereby requiring support from other people, and it also serves as a "gateway" drug when the THC high just isn't enough anymore.
Apart from that, it appears the Netherlands, everyone's favorite example of a legal drug environment, has decided to make Marijuana use illegal for foreigners. They will still tolerate it for their own citizens, but gone are the days when visitors can go to Amsterdam and buy pot.
I'm really sick of hearing libertarians constantly suggesting that keeping drugs illegal is tantamount to tyranny. They need to stop acting like little children and grow up.
“Just a guess here, but I dont think youre going to find a highly receptive audience on this forum for your pro-drug agenda, no matter how you couch it Constitutional rhetoric.
Like I said, just a guess .....”
I am sure you are right, but my objective is not preach to the choir. If people in OK don’t want legalized MJ, that is quite fine with me. If people in OR or CO do, that is equally fine. That is the reason why we have sovereign states subordinate to Washington in only certain matters that the states so authorized (or so it should be).
I and the article are not pro-drug, BTW. Libertarians are pro liberty and personal responsibility. We do not look to the government to protect us from ourselves. That is the issue, and I regret I did make it more clear.
I thing legalizing marijuana will impact crime significantly, although it certainly won’t eliminate it.
It will be a serious loss of business or competition increase to the drug cartels.
THC is not alochol. We also have actual testing and laws for that consumption. You don’t drink at gun ranges. You have instant DWI breath tests. Pot, contrary to myth, always destroys.
No they can't. Ownership of such items is specifically protected by the U.S. Constitution under Amendment II. Apart from that, drug usage is an activity that constitutes a reckless endangerment to the public.
We must be concerned with the health and safety of our population, mustn't we?
Absolutely. Just as we control the spread of diseases, we must also keep the spread of this disease (drug usage) under control.
stand by to be called a dope smoking hooker loving fag in 3...2...1...
Hate to break it to you buddy, but the potheads are already on the roads right now. They’re the ones driving 5 mph under the speed limit looking paranoid.
This is your best argument, (that it is within the domain of the states to decide) but it does however fall short. Perhaps not with Marijuana, but when you extend the principle behind it to other drugs, an argument emerges for defacto Federal involvement in interdiction.
Regarding such drugs as Opium, Heroin, Cocaine, etc. they generally come from foreign countries. It is beyond the ability of a state to operate in this environment, and therefore it requires a Federal approach to deal with it. Now you may ask, "On what basis can you justify Federal involvement in interdicting drug shipments into the states?"
The Federal government has a mandate to provide for the defense of the country. If drugs are regarded as an existential threat to the security of the nation, (which I argue that they are) then the Federal government has a duty to involve itself in the protection of our nation from this dangerous low-intensity attack. Just as we interdict nerve gas, biological warfare agents, or nuclear fissionable material, so too must we protect the nation against dangerous lesser agents.
Marijuana really doesn't reach the threshold of dangerousness that other drugs constitute, but it is however included in the threat list due to it's classification as a drug. The largest danger it represents is the tendency of others to use it as justification for the legalization of drugs as an acceptable principle.
“There is no DWI/DUI pot test for the roadside.”
There’s a general impairment test isn’t there? Touch your nose, walk the dotted line, etc?
If that test isn’t catching the potheads, then either the test needs to be updated, or those potheads that are passing it are not that impaired.
The “Constitutional rhetoric” is dead on, and “it’s about pot” won’t make it go away.
I'm thinking that about, say, fifty such regions would be a good number.
Is this too radical a concept for FR these days??
“Apart from that, drug usage is an activity that constitutes a reckless endangerment to the public.”
Well it CAN constitute, but that doesn’t mean it always or even usually does constitute such a danger. For example, a guy sitting in his boxer shorts eating cereal and smoking a bong while he watches cartoons on a Saturday morning doesn’t constitute any such danger.
If just the possibly of constituting a danger is enough, then we aught to ban alcohol as well. All those six packs sitting in fridges across the US could be ticking time bombs.
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