State marijuana legalization votes: Good for the U.S. Constitution!

Mind if I smoke a doobie - medical marijuana in New Hampshire
This guy normally worships the federal government. Not this time!

Who’d a thunk it? The recent marijuana legalization victories in Washington state and Colorado are outstandingly good news for the U.S. Constitution.

Why? Because they underline the facts that James Madison stated in 1788: “”The powers of the federal government are enumerated; it can only operate in certain cases; it has legislative powers on defined and limited objects, beyond which it cannot extend its jurisdiction.”

So does the Constitution empower the federal government to regulate or outlaw the use or possession of certain substances, such as…alcoholic beverages?

Of course not! That’s why…

…it was necessary to pass the 18th Amendment to create Prohibition in America. Back then, at least, they knew the federal government didn’t have the power or authority under the Constitution to regulate, outlaw, or prohibit use or possession of alcohol. A Constitutional amendment was necessary to give that power to the federal government!

The same facts and reasoning apply to marijuana. However, the really great thing is that  many people who support marijuana legalization also worship federal government power, being basically ignorant or dismissive of Constitutional limits on it. So it’s exceptionally nice to see an issue come to the fore where we can all agree that….

  1. The U.S. Constitution is not an unlimited grant of power to the federal government,
  2. The 50 sovereign states are not merely administrative units of an all-powerful federal government, and
  3. As the 10th Amendment says, “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.”

Now, about federal marijuana laws…you were saying?

I’ve been political my entire life, starting out with Barry Goldwater and The Conscience of a Conservative in the1960’s. In 1967 I enlisted in the U.S. Marines for four years, spending nearly two of them in South Vietnam. In 1972 I was a Florida presidential elector for Prof. John Hospers, the first Presidential candidate of the national Libertarian Party which was founded that same year. During the late 1970’s and into the 1980’s I was a contributing editor and monthly columnist for Reason magazine, and I’ve authored numerous articles in the print and online media about various subjects relating to individual rights and personal freedom. Today I’m a lawyer by profession; I divide my time between New Hampshire and Florida all year long, spending much of my time practicing law in Florida. As an early supporter and past member of the board of directors of the Free State Project, I was drawn to the Live Free or Die state of New Hampshire in late 2003 when it was chosen by a vote of the first 5,000 FSP participants. In 2004 I founded the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire, and continue today to work within the state political system to advance the traditional NH values of frugal small government, low taxes, small business, free enterprise, and self-responsibility. To all, I say “Come and see what we are building in the beautiful, healthy, livable Free State of New Hampshire!”