Legal Pot Could Be Contagious

Colorado and Washington show us the way out of the senseless war on marijuana.

Shortly before the House of Representatives approved a federal ban on marijuana in 1937, the Republican minority leader, Bertrand Snell of New York, confessed, "I do not know anything about the bill." The Democratic majority leader, Sam Rayburn of Texas, educated him. "It has something to do with something that is called marihuana," Rayburn said. "I believe it is a narcotic of some kind."

Seventy-five years, millions of arrests, and billions of dollars later, we are still living with the consequences of that ignorant, ill-considered decision, which nationalized a policy that punishes peaceful people and squanders taxpayer money in a blind vendetta against a plant. Last week voters in Colorado and Washington opted out of this crazy cannabicidal crusade by approving ballot initiatives that will set up experiments from which the rest of the country can learn—assuming the federal government lets them run.

Both initiatives abolish penalties for adults 21 or older who possess up to an ounce of marijuana and for state-licensed growers and sellers who follow regulations that are supposed to be adopted during the next year or so. Pot prohibitionists such as Asa Hutchinson, former head of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), argue that allowing marijuana sales violates the Controlled Substances Act and therefore the Constitution, which makes valid acts of Congress "the supreme law of the land."

But the Supremacy Clause applies only to laws that Congress has the authority to pass, and the ban on marijuana has never had a solid constitutional basis. If alcohol prohibition required a constitutional amendment, how could Congress, less than two decades later, enact marijuana prohibition by statute?

The initial pretext was the one the Supreme Court used this year to uphold the federal mandate requiring Americans to buy government-approved health insurance: The law, dubbed the Marihuana Tax Act, was dressed up as a revenue measure. By the time the ban was incorporated into the Controlled Substances Act in 1970, Congress had a new excuse: It was exercising its authority to "regulate commerce…among the several states."

Seven years ago, the Supreme Court concluded, preposterously, that Congress is regulating interstate commerce even when it authorizes the arrest of a cancer patient who uses homegrown marijuana for medical purposes in compliance with state law. But states indisputably remain free to say what is and is not a crime under their own laws, and that is what Colorado and Washington are doing.

Whether or not it tries to block marijuana legalization in the courts, the Obama administration can raid state-legal pot shops, as it has done with medical marijuana dispensaries. It can use asset forfeiture as an intimidation tactic against landlords and threaten banks that accept deposits from pot businesses with money laundering charges. The Internal Revenue Service can make life difficult for pot sellers by disallowing their business expenses.

The one thing federal drug warriors cannot do, judging from their track record even when they have the full cooperation of state and local law enforcement agencies, is suppress the business entirely, let alone arrest a significant percentage of people who grow pot for themselves and their friends (as Colorado's initiative allows). According to the FBI, there were 758,000 marijuana arrests nationwide last year, the vast majority for possession. The DEA was responsible for about 1 percent of them.

Given their limited resources, the feds may yet see the wisdom, if not the constitutional imperative, of letting Colorado and Washington go their own way. Last year a Gallup poll put national support for marijuana legalization at 50 percent—the highest level ever recorded. Brian Vicente, co-director of the campaign for Colorado's legalization initiative, hopes last week's historic votes "will send a message to the federal government that they need to back off entirely and let states engage in the responsible regulation of marijuana."

Hard-line drug warriors like Hutchinson are keen to prevent that from happening—not because they fear it will be disastrous but because they fear it won't be.

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  • ||

    Given their limited resources, the feds may yet see the wisdom, if not the constitutional imperative, of letting Colorado and Washington go their own way.

    But probably won't

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Will the wisdom be visible from drone altitude?

  • Caleb Turberville||

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/n.....-real-time

    That joke flew over Samuel L. Jackson's head.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/n.....ick-cheney

    Oops, right show, wrong segment.

  • Generic Stranger||

    I've never registered with a political party before; I always register as not affiliated/independent. Tell me, when you sign on the dotted line, do they wheel you into a back room and remove your frontal lobe?

    That's the only thing that can explain the massive amounts of cognitive dissonance in that clip. Absolutely stunning.

  • ||

    No; lobectomy is surgical removal of the frontal lobe, whereas a lobotomy is merely a surgical incision (cutting) of the frontal lobe.

    Fun Medical Fact: The first frontal lobectomies were performed with a simple ice pick. The procedure is still in use as a TX for severe epilepsy and seizure disorders.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    You're not going to believe this, but I just learned that icepick fact not two hours ago when I was watching a clip on YouTube.

  • Generic Stranger||

    A single cut doesn't explain that level of stupid. I think they took out some sizable chunks.

  • db||

    It's crazy that a barbaric procedure like that is still in practice. Also, did you mean that the first lobotomies, not lobectomies, were done with ice picks?

    Also, "Sucker Punch."

  • ||

    Yes, I meant lobotomies, thanks ya, db. It's not at all barbaric, and used as a last resort for those severe disorders I mentioned. Also, ECT is also still in limited use as well for the TX of severe depressive and psychiatric disdorders.

    In terms of surgery, it's very quick and relatively painless when properly done and does not require general anaesthesia.

    Perhaps I need one for Joe'z Law-ing myself. -)))

  • Zeb||

    The ice pick and mallet procedure was a bit barbaric, but probably more in how it was applied.
    I recently saw a fascinating (and disturbing) documentary about the guy who originated (or popularized) the procedure. I think he is they guy who did the Kennedy daughter.

  • SugarFree||

    Sucker Punch

    The shittiest movie I seen in at least a decade, maybe more.

  • ||

    first Jezebel, now Sucker Punch. It's great that you're in touch with your inner women, but 'tis pity she's a dumb whore.

    Also, rottentomatoes.com

  • SugarFree||

    Also, Emily Browning looks terrible as a bottle blonde.

  • ||

    The shittiest movie I seen in at least a decade, maybe more.

    THIS!

    Anyone who has seen that movie voluntarily and liked deserves one of these.

    Enjoy the mayhem.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    It's a shitty movie, but the shittiest in a decade?

    You haven't seen that many movies then.

  • SugarFree||

    Considering the budget, the hype, and the level of distribution--it was the shittiest movie I've seen in a decade. There are, of course, worse movies--but not ones you had to see TV ads for and the majority of reviewers actually had to sit through.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    And are you forgetting a certain little indie art-film called Avatar?

  • SugarFree||

    Haven't seen Avatar. I haven't seen a Cameron film since True Lies. Yes, I'm one of the eighteen people in the 48 contiguous states that hasn't seen Titanic.

  • Generic Stranger||

    Haven't seen Avatar. I haven't seen a Cameron film since True Lies. Yes, I'm one of the eighteen people in the 48 contiguous states that hasn't seen Titanic.

    Well, you didn't miss much, except maybe whatsherface's tits, and they were fairly mediocre as far as tits go.

  • SugarFree||

    *cue the Kate Winslet fanbois*

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Actually, I haven't seen Avatar or Titanic either.

    But I guess I just watch a lot more movies, and there are a LOT of them worse than Sucker Punch.

  • Zeb||

    I haven't seen Avatar or Titanic. I saw about 20 minutes of Titanic once. Kate Winslet's tits were good. Everything else was just stupid.

  • Ted S.||

    I haven't seen it either. I watch so many old movies I don't have time for the more recent stuff.

  • gaoxiaen||

    A remake of Forbidden Planet would be awesome with today's video technology.

  • gaoxiaen||

    You can say that again.

  • gaoxiaen||

    A remake of Forbidden Planet would be awesome with today's video technology.

  • gaoxiaen||

    I only posted once but it came up twice, so see above.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    And are you forgetting a certain little indie art-film called Avatar?

    Fuck that movie. I refuse to EVER see it due to the hype.

  • Zeb||

    I sort of regretted not seeing it in 3D in a theatre. I'm sure it was a very stimulating experience. But I have no interest now.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Just from that year alone:

    Daybreakers
    Legion
    Tooth Fairy*
    Dear John*
    Shutter Island
    Green Zone *
    The Bounty Hunter *
    Repo Men
    The Last Song *
    Death at a Funeral (Martin Lawrence remake)*
    The Back-up Plan *
    The Losers
    Sex in the City 2 *
    Prince of Persia *
    Splice
    Marmaduke *
    Johnah Hex
    Knight and Day *
    Grownups *
    The Last Airbender *
    The Sorcerer's Apprentice *
    Eat Pray Love *

    * - I haven't seen it, but I'm assuming it's worse than Sucker Punch

  • SugarFree||

    If you love Zack Snyder so much, why don't you just go marry him?

  • Whiterun Guard||

    HE'S ALREADY MARRIED BUT THANKS FOR REMINDING ME YOU JERK.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    I'm proud to admit that I've never seen a single one of those movies on that list.

  • Generic Stranger||

    I saw Jonah Hex. It wasn't...THAT...bad. Though I haven't seen Sucker Punch, either, so I can't really compare the two.

  • Zeb||

    I think I've only ever heard of about 2 movies on that list. Not having TV is kind of nice.

  • gaoxiaen||

    No TV- 25 years and counting. Why would you want a brainwasing machine in your home?

  • db||

    Considering that I voted for Ross Perot in my first election after registering Democrat, I'd say it's quite possible.

  • ||

    So they've moved from excusing Obama's policies to flat out denying they exist?

  • Caleb Turberville||

    If they admitted they exist and that they're just as wrong as when Bush was doing them, their entire world would come crashing down around them. And Samuel L. Jackson can't afford an existential crisis right now, considering his packed filming schedule.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    If he'd just get attached to my screenplay for Amos and Andrew 2: A&A Down Under he would never need to make another movie ever again.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    I guess I can't help but agree with Andrew Sullivan on this clip.

    In a very real sense, the drug reforms and same-sex marriage legalizations are part of a greater victory for individual liberty that occurred last week.

    SE Cupp wasn't really adding anything to that conversation. I can see her point (somewhat), but I think Andrew Sullivan was less wrong than she was right.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Exactly. Freedom is fungible.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    I'm not saying that I agree 100% with what Sullivan said. In my opinion, the legalizations of marijuana were FAR more important than the marriage initiatives.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    In that the legalization of marijuana is "negative liberty" (i.e. the freedom from imposition), and the marriage initiatives are not, I agree with you.

  • sarcasmic||

    In that the legalization of marijuana is "negative liberty" (i.e. the freedom from imposition), and the marriage initiatives are not, I agree with you.

    As I have said before, I find it curious that self-described libertarians have fought so hard for positive rights. Doesn't seem very libertarian to me.
    *cue accusations of racism and homophobia by Randian and others*

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Don't confuse positive rights with positive liberty. Positive liberty is the "pursuit of happiness" that is referenced in the Declaration of Independence. As positive liberty is necessary for a system of free enterprise, it is something that libertarians should support.

    Positive rights on the other hand, is "social justice" poppycock and should be criticized at every opportunity.

  • sarcasmic||

    Positive rights on the other hand, is "social justice" poppycock and should be criticized at every opportunity.

    So you oppose the redefining of marriage backed with government force?

  • Randian||

    As soon as you do.

    Answer the question about mixed marriages.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    redefining of marriage


    Oh, sarcasmic. You're so precious.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    (If I knew the emoticon for "said in the voice of Harvey Fierstein" I woulda used it.)

  • sarcasmic||

    Here come the sore winners.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Hahahhhahahahah! In your face, sucka!!!! Hahahahhahahaha!

  • Citizen Nothing||

    (I don't get to do that too often, politically.)

  • Randian||

    You don't find it curious. That's feigned.

    I'm legitimately curious why you think it's ok for the state to discriminate. That's using force against a politically unflavored group for an arbitrary reason.

  • sarcasmic||

    Guilty until proven innocent in the court of Randian.

    *yawn*

  • Zeb||

    Gay marriage is an equality under the law issue, not a rights issue. No one has a right to legal marriage. If it was eliminated entirely, there would be no rights violated.

  • sarcasmic||

    Gay marriage is an equality under the law issue, not a rights issue

    I used to feel that way. Now I think differently.

  • Randian||

    Then why won't you answer the question about black/white marriages?

  • sarcasmic||

    Do you still beat your wife?

  • Fluhdoten1||

    marriage is not a right.

    gay marriage discriminates against polygamists.

    its really crazy how many holes are in this positive right.

    marriage should simply be abolished. its moral value is disintegrated in open society. its only value is individuals hearts or subcultures who are ostracized.

    For everyone else is a show/parade for girls that ends quickly with women on top screwing men in the courtroom.

    marriage recognition should be privatized.

  • dinkster||

    No one went to prison for gayness. Not in recent history.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Without her, there is no conversation. Just a lot of dudes saying how awesome Obama is and how he miraculously saved this country after BOOOSH ruined it.

  • gaoxiaen||

    You can't actually expect Americans to forget eight years under the fourth-worst American President's rule. Bush 2's reign was an abomination.

  • gaoxiaen||

    You can't actually expect Americans to forget eight years under the fourth-worst American President's rule. Bush 2's reign was an abomination.

  • Belgian||

    I actually agree with Sullivan in that first segment you listed. The Gay Rights fight is, if anything, less important than legalizing drugs, because people aren't being thrown in prison for homosexual behavior any more.

  • ||

    But states indisputably remain free to say what is and is not a crime under their own laws, and that is what Colorado and Washington are doing.

    That's right. All Colorado and Washington are saying is, "we are not going to prosecute these as crimes in our state." This doesn't have a fucking thing to do with federal supremecy. Federal pigs are, as noted, still authorized to prosecute these cases. There are other federal criminal statutes that don't exist at a state level. But you don't hear these fucking retards like Asa talking about federal supremacy and why these laws aren't on the books.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    "I do not know anything about the bill."

    It's in the Constitution that "Congress shall make no law that it itself shall understand; and shall, only with a yea vote from a majority of individual members, find out what's in it."

  • ||

    It's somehow fitting that Congress is as ignorant as the people who voted them in

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Ignorance of the law is a perfectly good excuse.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    But only if you're employed by the state.

    Regular Joe? Fuck you! Ignorance of the law is no defense.

    Cop? Fuck you! How can we possibly expect our heroes in blue to know EVERY LAW on the books?

  • ||

    It's in the Constitution that "Congress shall make no law that it itself shall understand; and shall, only with a yea vote from a majority of individual members, find out what's in it."

    Is this located in the Good & Plenty Clause?

  • R C Dean||

    Actually, its in the Good and Hard Clause.

  • zandooo||

    Well now that just makes a ll kinds of sense dude.

    www.Anon-Webz.tk

  • Generic Stranger||

    I see Anon-bot is also "celebrating". Puff puff pass, dude.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    1937? So the War on Drugs is a New Deal program?

  • Generic Stranger||

    Yup. Not all that surprising, is it?

  • Caleb Turberville||

    No, just aggravating.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Employing thousands of Americans and keeping our children safe is aggravating!?

  • Caleb Turberville||

    You are kidding, right?

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Well none of the sockpuppets are around. Someone had to post their moronic arguments for them.

  • ||

    Ok, good. I thought for a moment that you were playing with an icepick and stabbed yourself in the eye socket. Why you would need an icepick in Liberia is beyond me...

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Actually they come in pretty handy...

  • Mike Parent||

    If you think this policy is keeping Children safe, think again! Giving total control over the Drug Black Market to Criminals is not protecting The Children. It's a ruse that has never worked. In fact police are targeting children. As for the jobs it created, they are nothing more than welfare. they produce nothing and take resources away from productive ventures.

  • MWG||

    New here?

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I think Mike P. must be speaking to the universal "you," the world at large.

  • gaoxiaen||

    And anal retentive.

  • gaoxiaen||

    And anal retentive.

  • SugarFree||

    1937? So the War on Drugs is a New Deal program?

    Yes and no. The banning of opium smoking began in San Francisco in 1875. And the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act was passed in 1914.

    Check out the reasoning for the opium ban... sound familiar?

    "many women and young girls, as well as young men of respectable family, were being induced to visit the Chinese opium-smoking dens, where they were ruined morally and otherwise"

    Don't fall into the trap of thinking America was Libertopia before FDR, because it wasn't.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    If you're ever in northern Thailand, a trip to the Opium Museum in Chiang Rai is highly recommended.

    By the way, is it wrong to have a microfetish (great word!) for Opium Hoez?

  • SugarFree||

    That opium whore doesn't even have bound feet! You're a sick, sick man.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • ||

    Yep, sounds very familiar, and sadly ironic that opiates are used routinely (though with MASSIVE oversight) for PX management, yet MMJ has yet to be used routinely for the same.

    Unfortunately, even the Ukraine does not yet allow it either. The law here is pretty strict, and does not allow currently for MMJ, though Marinol is permitted by RX.

    It's disgusting and disgraceful and makes me wish those who oppose it die a slow and extremely painful death.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Marijuana is routinely used for PX management, but not legally.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Marijuana is routinely used for PX management, but not legally.

  • ||

  • Almanian_||

    I'm sooooooo wasted...

  • ||

    You're a towel

  • Generic Stranger||

    That's it!

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    On Topic, because it's Maceo Parker, some hard-core live FUNK for this morning.

  • sarcasmic||

    If alcohol prohibition required a constitutional amendment, how could Congress, less than two decades later, enact marijuana prohibition by statute?

    Because "fuck you, that's why". Hello?

    This has nothing to do with drugs, and everything to do with power.
    The feds will not cave, the state statutes will be overturned, and federal supremacy will be upheld.
    Can't have states getting all uppity and thinking they can defy the federal government. Last time that happened there was a war.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "It has something to do with something that is called marihuana," Rayburn said. "I believe it is a narcotic of some kind."

    The finest minds; the cream of American society.

  • Free Society||

    Infinite in their justification to rule over us.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    1937, hey? What foul fiend, what odious icon of conservatism and oppression was infesting the White House at that time? What monster would sign a bill such as this?

  • Free Society||

    A certain Mussolini sympathizer who endeavored to show America the softer side of fascism.

  • gaoxiaen||

    A Mussolinisupporter who also doubted the constitionality of the bill that he signed.

  • buybuydandavis||

    " If alcohol prohibition required a constitutional amendment, how could Congress, less than two decades later, enact marijuana prohibition by statute?"

    Because in a couple of decades they got over that peculiar superstition that a constitution meant what it said, and discovered that it meant whatever people in power said it did.

  • joey89924||

    I think they took out some sizable chunks.
    www.hqew.net

  • gaoxiaen||

    SOP is to ignore the parts that you don't agree with.

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