Written by Christopher Meyer | 11:22 am on August 19, 2011
- Tenth Amendment
This is the second part in our series exploring how the advancement of the marijuana movement does more than just erode prohibitionist attitudes, and has far-reaching benefits in many aspects of our society.
Ending marijuana prohibition in Colorado isn’t just about the medicine. The ability of states to set laws that govern what goes on within their borders as provided by the Tenth Amendment is also at stake.
Federally the sale of marijuana is illegal, but Colorado has moved forward with regulation, with relatively few federal raids or intervention. The Tenth Amendment directly relates to this dynamic and is one of the reasons the federal government will not intervene when marijuana is being sold medically in accordance with Colorado regulations.
Colorado’s legislation requires that all cannabis medicine sold be produced within the state in a licensed facility. As a result, no interstate commerce is taking place. This at face value may be affording medical marijuana businesses some protection.
It relates directly to Firearms Freedom Acts passed in eight states which assert the federal government has no jurisdiction over guns that are manufactured and sold in the same state.
Marijuana legally sold under Colorado’s regulations could be protected by just such a bill, though if the federal government does not intervene, it may not be necessary.
Another example of states asserting their Tenth Amendment rights are the 11 States that have passed legislation seeking to nullify the requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed through US Congress in 2010 to address the US healthcare issue.
One beauty of having different states is that people are able to vote by where they choose to live. If you don’t like the laws in the state in which you live, there are 50 to choose from suiting all tastes.
Yet the federalization of education, speed limits, DUI laws, and legal drinking ages caused by overt federal pressure exerted by withholding highway funding from states that refuse to pass such laws limits the ability of states to decide such things for themselves.
This is the type of centralization of federal power Tenth Amendment activists consider to be unconstitutional. While the growing re-acceptance of marijuana into our culture may not change speed limits, it is representative of states reclaiming their ability to govern themselves contrary to the proscriptions of the Justice Department.
Colorado legislation regulating medical marijuana is in defiance of the US Congress and US Courts. Yet, compassionate legislation that allows for the medical use of marijuana reveals the ability of Colorado’s congress to successfully thwart federal law that interferes with what Colorado voters have approved.
Such interference, while it may be ill received by those who seek to preserve central power, is the duty of any citizen who is concerned about federal encroachment upon their basic liberties.
To be active about reclaiming the spirit of our constitution can be as simple as supporting medical marijuana, yet small actions can bring drastic change. Empowering ourselves locally is an elegant way to withdraw ourselves from rife federal ills.
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