Adam Graham
June 12, 2005
Gone to pot
By Adam Graham

Last week, the Supreme Court issued a ruling allowing the Federal government to prosecute people who possess marijuana for medical purposes as allowed by their state's laws.

The administration and anti-drug forces are celebrating. This is a setback to the pro-drug crowd. Shouldn't this thrill us?

If your primary concern is stopping people from using marijuana and stopping the drug culture in its tracts, the ruling is cause for celebration. If a limited federal government is a concern then you have to look at the Supreme Court's ruling in a different light.

The Drug War v. The 10th Amendment

When looking at a federal law, the question we, as well as the courts must ask is, "Is it Constitutional?" The 10th Amendment tells us succinctly: "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."

I search my Constitution in vain for any section that allows the Federal government to forbid medical marijuana. As such, its an issue for the states under the Constitution.

I'm skeptical of marijuana's medical benefits, but my skepticism doesn't matter, only the decision of the states that have approved medical marijuana. Its none of my business as a citizen of Idaho, if a citizen of Oregon uses prescribed marijuana to treat AIDS or multiple sclerosis.

What does affect me is the growth of Federal government and the assumption of powers by the Federal government that were never conferred to it by the Constitution. If we turn a blind eye to the Federal government taking power that's not theirs, we open the door for more power grabs. The philosophy that allows the government to enter the house of sick people and arrest them for using a substance that is legal under state law and which there is no constitutional power to regulate under the Constitution, allow the Feds to steal farms and ranches, interfere with even the most minor regulation of abortion by the states, and will be the same power used to force a uniform policy on gay marriage on the people, against their will.

A federal government that is so powerful that it is a foil by which you can force your neighbors across the nation to do your will, also can bring you under its yoke. Its like feeding a monster in hopes that it won't destroy you eventually.

I have no expectation that standing for the tenth Amendment on this issue will lead to liberal respect for the tenth Amendment rights of those with whom they disagree. However, the only way that the Founders' vision can survive is if we consistently and clearly stand behind the Constitution. That sometimes means that other states will do things we don't like. In some areas of Nevada, there's legal prostitution. In Vermont, there are gay civil unions. In Montana, casinos mar an otherwise beautiful landscape. I don't like any of these situations, yet without a Constitutional Amendment, there's nothing I can lawfully do about it and for that I'm grateful.

When we become a nation ruled from Washington, DC by bureaucrats, judges, and Congressional kings, we've lost the Republic the founders intended and have instead become an Empire, where the most important decisions are made by those who are not accountable to the People.

There's a bill in Congress (HR 2087) proposed by Conservative Rep. Dana Rohrbacher (R-Ca.), Liberal Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), and libertarian Ron Paul (R-Tx.) among others, which would allow physicians to legally prescribe cannabis in states that have legalized medical marijuana. I'll be contacting my Representative and my Senators to urge their support for this important legislation, not because I favor medical marijuana or believe all the claims its proponents make, but because I love our Constitution, and believe that we cannot disregard the Constitution to suit our own ends.

© Adam Graham


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Adam Graham

Adam Graham was Montana State Coordinator for the Alan Keyes campaign in 2000, and in 2004 was a candidate for the Republican nomination for the Idaho State House... (more)

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