RNC: Federalism Is Unconstitutional

As Jacob Sullum pointed out yesterday, Barack Obama hasn't exactly made crystal clear his position on medical marijuana.

Fortunately, the Republican National Committee has stepped forward to clear up any confusion. If you support ending the federal SWAT raids on cannabis stores and taking a federalist approach to medical marijuana, the RNC says Obama's your man.

If you think the president must continue paramilitary raids on convalescent centers in states that have approved medical marijuana, and that anything less wouldn't be keeping with his oath to uphold and protect the Constitution, well, then you should vote Republican.

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  • lunchstealer||

    Why can't we take all the partisanship out of it. Just send the paramilitary thugs out to ransack houses which are randomly selected by some sort of computer?

    Somebody get the Unity08 guys on the line.

  • Guy Montag||

    Then why on earth did they nominate (almost) a RINO for the pres. race?

    These big giant clubs need to make up their minds.

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    I take it you mean Republican National Committee.

  • ||

    The Supreme Court Ruled In 2001 And 2005, Affirming The Authority Of Congress To Regulate The Use Of Marijuana.

    Having the authority to regulate is not the same as saying is compelled to regulate, is it?

    Why would it be unconstitutional to choose a "hands off" regulatory scheme?

    Methinks the RNC is not being completely genuine.

  • shecky||

    If you support ending the federal SWAT raids on cannabis stores and taking a federalist approach to medical marijuana, the RNC says Obama's your man.

    For fuckssakes, they really don't want the White House, do they?

  • ||

    What a disgrace.

  • Guy Montag||

    Having the authority to regulate is not the same as saying is compelled to regulate, is it?

    Why would it be unconstitutional to choose a "hands off" regulatory scheme?


    Yep and yep.

    Could run into some sicky situations where the Congress mandates that funds be used specifically for this and if they are not a bunch of fed people could go to jail for illegal impoundment of funds, but that would be extreme.

  • Andy||

    So, where exactly does public opinion on these raids stand? I thought people were against them, but it seems like the RNC is acting like people are for them. Are they really that stupid?

    (answer my first question seriously please, the second one is rhetorical)

  • Guy Montag||

    So, where exactly does public opinion on these raids stand? I thought people were against them, but it seems like the RNC is acting like people are for them. Are they really that stupid?

    I seriously think that regular folks are all for them. Unfortunatly, the polls about them seem to be generated by people with an agenda, althogh their goals may be the same as many of us on this board, I really do not believe their numbers about the unpopularity of the anti-drug raids.

  • ||

    Could run into some sicky situations where the Congress mandates that funds be used specifically for this and if they are not a bunch of fed people could go to jail for illegal impoundment of funds, but that would be extreme.

    So it would only be unconstitutional if Congress had mandated the raids? The constitutional problem is that the President would be ignoring the will of congress (expressed via statute) ?

    So my initial belief would be correct, that merely choosing to take a hands off approach isn't inherently unconstitutional?

    I thought people were against them, but it seems like the RNC is acting like people are for them.

    Their BASE is for them. I dunno about your average non-partisan/non-political person, but I would imagine most of them aren't too against them either (at least until they or someone close to them gets caught up)

  • ||

    Well, seeing how this poll and the actual age of active voters have a shitload of overlap, I suggest everybody write into AARP and tune them into this little fact. If you want the meds your doctor says you need, the GOP is not your party.

  • ||

    The Supreme Court Ruled In 2001 And 2005, Affirming The Authority Of Congress To Regulate The Use Of Marijuana.

    The collective rulings of the SCOTUS have established that there are no limits on what Congress may regulate if it so choses, this in spite of the the Constitution setting very sever limits on said powers.

  • ||

    Why can't I have a candidate that will just leave the reefer alone and my wallet all at the same time. Is that to much to ask for living in the country that is supposed to be the FREE one? Where is the candidate that will stand up and say I am for you being left alone to you own devices in your own homes. Then back it up with being left alone to take care of yourself with your own money since we will stop taking it to give to others. Where is that person? Landslide win IMO.

  • Guy Montag||

    So it would only be unconstitutional if Congress had mandated the raids?

    Not sure I am reading your questions properly. It would be a violation of the anti-impoundment act (have posted before but don't have the link handy) if the Executive refused to spend funds on something mandated by the Congress through the federal budget, with a few exceptions. The people on the hook for the failure to spend are the government employees with fiscal authority. Could lead to impeachment too, but that is fo anything the Congress says it is for anyway.

    The constitutional problem is that the President would be ignoring the will of congress (expressed via statute) ?

    Yes.

    So my initial belief would be correct, that merely choosing to take a hands off approach isn't inherently unconstitutional?

    I don't believe it is inherently unconstitutional. The President, as Chief Enforcement Officer, must prioritize efforts with the help of the information and advice at hand. If the Congress does not force funds to be spent on this particular effort, then the funds are free to be used in other areas fitting within the Appropriation.

    This is not meant as a class in fiscal law, there is a lot more to it than this, but these are a couple of the basics.

    Irrelevant side note, BTW, rule 1 is that you have to find something that tells you to spend money on something. The notion "show me what says I can't spend it on xyz" is backwards.

  • ||

    Wow, the GOP has absolutely no moral authority to stand on here. Four letters: AUMF.

  • Rimfax||

    Give the fair-weather federalists another 8 years out of power and they'll "rediscover" their nonexistent "federalist roots" long enough to win back power and abandon the election-winning principles that they never really held, again.

    [/cynicism]

  • Episiarch||

    For fuckssakes, they really don't want the White House, do they?

    It seems not.

  • ||

    I actually think most people don't particularly care about this issue one way or another, though I'd imagine a majority of serious Republicans are in favor of the raids.

  • ||

    Hmm... a president not enforcing laws he doesn't like. What was that about Bush's signing statements again? Perhaps the RNC should remind me.

  • Mike Gogulski||

    Which one's the police state candidate again? I'm so confused...

  • Rhywun||

    So, where exactly does public opinion on these raids stand?

    My gut feeling is that the public has swallowed the "drugs're bad" propaganda hook, line, and sinker - up to and including SWAT raids that take out an innocent bystander every once in a while. Large numbers of them hold this belief while simultaneously believing they'll never get caught for the large quantities of dope they themselves smoke.

  • ||

    I think the current Administration was good for one thing: it showed all of the people who think that libertarianism's true home is in the GOP that they were dead, dead wrong.

    I, for one, am at least thankful that the divorce from the lying, cheating GOP is final this time.

  • economist||

    Ayn_Randian,
    Just out of curiosity, who are you voting for? Or are you not voting? If not, may I interest you in joining a militia?

  • ktc2||

    Perhaps I'm misinformed but isn't the point of the separation of powers, etc re criminal prosecutions to ensure that each branch must agree, and (theoritcally the people via jury)?

    1) The legislative to make the law.
    2) The executive to enforce the law.
    3) The judicial to interpret and/or strike down as unconstitutional the law.
    4) Lastly the persons on the jury to convict.

    Isn't it supposed to take all four of these things, and any one of them can stop the process by not doing their part (or prioritizing it to the bottom for the same practical effect)?

    Is that not how it's SUPPOSED to work?

  • ||

    If you look at the upshot of the marijuana ruling(s), it boils down to the same thing as the ruling concerning whether or not the US has immigration authority (Chinese Exclusion Cases of 1889): "because it's 'obvious,' because we say so." Read the opinions for yourself and make up your own mind about the arbitrariness of the court rulings.

    That's no authority at all, just apology for the use of naked force, and I'm not accepting such lame excuses anymore. This is America, where we the people are supposed to have the presumption of liberty. The government is supposed to serve us. In November, I will be voting consistent with such ideas. Will you join me?

  • leTerrassier||

    Thanks, Republican Party. Now when people ask why I'll never, ever, ever vote for your candidates I'll have yet another another thing to point to and say 'that's why'. Seriously, though, by this point I should publish a list of reasons in a newspaper or something- oh wait they are already there, and it is called the news!

  • Neil||

    It is the duty of the President to protect the American people from the evil that is drugs. Anything less than that is treason.

  • Icl||

    "It is the duty of the President to protect the American people from the evil that is drugs. Anything less than that is treason."

    The duty of the president is to protect the rights and freedoms of individuals. If you still don't see the utter stupidity of your statement, try replacing "drugs" with guns, religion, tatoos, bacon, or anything else that someone might fight objectionable.

  • icl||

    correction: fight=find

  • Ali||

    Neil, I personally do not take drugs, would not recommend them to anybody, etc etc, but just one question to you: How does someone else taking drugs going to impact you?

  • ||

    or prioritizing it to the bottom for the same practical effect

    So the government shouldn't prioritize anything? It should apply equal levels of enforcement to every law?

  • Episiarch||

    It is the duty of the President to protect the American people from the evil that is drugs. Anything less than that is treason.

    Neil, what was funnier: Steve Martin on drugs, or Steve Martin off drugs?

    I think you see my point.

  • Les||

    Neil loves big government. And he believes "it takes a village."

  • Ska||

    Neil, you do realize that the president has taken these drugs himself. Perhaps drugs aren't the ruin of everyone who takes them.

  • Kolohe||

    Neil, you do realize that the president has taken these drugs himself. Perhaps drugs aren't the ruin of everyone who takes them.

    Ska, I don't think that's the best example.

  • Neil||

    Neil loves big government. And he believes "it takes a village."
    Better a village than a Hussein

  • Episiarch||

    Come on, Neil. Without drugs, would we have The Jerk?

  • Neil||

    Steve Martin has proven himself capable of being the exception to any rule.

  • Ali||

    Neil, are you saying Hussein was on drugs? That is more believable than him having WMDs.

  • Ska||

    I know, I just wanted to put it in terms Neil might appreciate.

    I feel dirty.

  • ||

    Neil, what was funnier: Steve Martin on drugs, or Steve Martin off drugs?

    The answer to this question is always Chevy Chase, Epi.

  • ||

    I feel dirty.

    When you wrestle with pigs...

  • ||

    And without a village (Tikrit, actually), we wouldn't have a Hussein.

    hugs,
    Shirley Knott

  • ||

    If you support ending the federal SWAT raids on cannabis stores and taking a federalist approach to medical marijuana, the RNC says Obama's your man.

    If only that were true. In the alternate Earth where Obama could actually win i would expect zero change in the war on drugs instigated by his administration.

    The RNC is wrong about Obama in this case....but very very right about him raising taxes and expanding the size and scope of the federal government.

  • Icl||

    "The RNC is wrong about Obama in this case....but very very right about him raising taxes and expanding the size and scope of the federal government."

    At least when Obama is elected, I can start looking forward to the time when my taxes are not used to kill innocent people.

  • Episiarch||

    Steve Martin has proven himself capable of being the exception to any rule.

    Another winner.

    The answer to this question is always Chevy Chase, Epi.

    Only if the question is "who was never funny?"

    However, Flech is the exception to that rule.

  • Episiarch||

    Argh. Fletch

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    I always thought that Felch was Chevy Chase's funniest movie. Especially that one scene, you know...

  • ||

    I always thought that Felch was Chevy Chase's funniest movie. Especially that one scene, you know...

    I'm just going to leave that one alone, except to say that RC Dean's law applies.

  • brian||

    1) Joshua Corning, the President cannot raise taxes, and in reality has little discretion over economic policy. That is in control of the Congress. The President's real power is in the realm of foreign policy. As Tyler Cowen of Marginal Revolution repeatedly argues, vote for President based on foreign policy, and vote for Congress based on economic policy.

    2) This post suggests to me that Neil is just a troll who doesn't actually believe what he writes:

    "Neil | May 16, 2008, 4:33pm | #

    It is the duty of the President to protect the American people from the evil that is drugs. Anything less than that is treason."

    It just sounds so cult-like!

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    A_R: RC Dean's law?

  • ||

    A_R: RC Dean's law?

    I think it's his. Something like "The typos in a post will always be funnier than the original intent of the post".

    As a recommendation, don't google "Felch" to find out why your post is funny unless you work at home.

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    Oh that. I thought it was joe's.

    Anyway, the typo was intentional. I saw Episiarch's message and thought that would be a much funnier misspelling.

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    So I guess I shouldn't call it a typo. Is there a one-word term for an intentional misspelling?

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    And yeah I know what Felch refers to and I'd advise against googling it.

  • ||

    The GOP is sending a message. The message reads,

    J sub D, vote for Obama. We fucking hate you.

  • ||

    you know, I wondered if you did that on purpose...this would be much, much funnier if you were some old, not-in-the-know person, ya know...

    you're killing me smalls!

  • ||

    I, for one, am at least thankful that the divorce from the lying, cheating GOP is final this time.

    It has gotten to that point for me as well. I cannot understand wht the Republicans are so determined to give the Dems veto proof majorities in both houses of congress.

  • ||

    As a recommendation, don't google "Felch" to find out why your post is funny unless you work at home.

    Damnit Ayn Randian! I didn't need to know what Felch means

  • Icl||

    This is why I love Reason blog. I always learn something I didn't know before.
    :)

  • Les||

    At least when Obama is elected, I can start looking forward to the time when my taxes are not used to kill innocent people.

    As long as taxes are used to fund the war on drugs, innocent people will die.

  • Icl||

    "As long as taxes are used to fund the war on drugs, innocent people will die."

    I absolutely agree with you. I am not under any illusion that the war on drugs will stop in the near future regardless of who is the president. However, republicans are known to be much more hard-line on the issue.

  • Les||

    Icl, I completely agree.

  • ||

    Damnit Ayn Randian! I didn't need to know what Felch means

    Don't blame me! We have to ban information...'cause when information is outlawed, only outlaws will have information...

    Or something like that.

  • ||

    I strongly doubt that most Republicans who support Bush could even READ the Constitution of your country.

  • Ali||

    The Winter Soldier-

    Good to see more Canadians around these quarters.

  • Joel||

    "The RNC is wrong about Obama in this case....but very very right about him raising taxes and expanding the size and scope of the federal government."

    And this makes him different from the republican how, exactly?

  • ||

    Since when did "state's rights" become "Federalism?"

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    A_R: LOL I didn't know "You're killing me Smalls!" though until I got my current job.

  • Mad Max||

    Yea, the RNC supports the decisions of our rightful lords and masters on the US Supreme Court. I suppose it will now issue another statement in support of *Dred Scott v. Sandford* - no, wait, the Republican Party held that decision to an unlawful usurpation (which it was). And I suppose the RNC also wants to support *Roe v. Wade,* too, never mind that stuff in the platform about the right to life of the unborn.

    In its next step to bolster its popularity, maybe the RNC can all blow a goat on national television.

  • Pete Guither||

    As far as I know, Congress has not specifically appropriated funds for going after medical marijuana dispensaries in states where it's legal. The choice to do so has been purely an Administrative decision within the framework of the federal laws criminalizing marijuana, utilizing the DEA's overall budget.

    The Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment was an attempt to prevent the spending of tax money on such raids, but it failed. The fact that it failed does not mean there is a specific spending requirement. The DEA, as directed by the administration, could choose to use those resources to go after marijuana dealers that are not selling as part of a licensed agreement with the state. That's basic prioritization of resources when not directed otherwise by specific statute.

  • ||

    OK, it's not my imagination, Neil is gradually unmasking himself as satire. His irreverence is becoming more and more overt.

    It is the duty of the President to protect the American people from the evil that is drugs. Anything less than that is treason.

    See: he just uses buzzwords and doesn't even bother making arguments anymore.

  • Clyde Mays, Jr.||

    Neil wrote:

    "It is the duty of the President to protect the American people from the evil that is drugs. Anything less than that is treason."

    Looks like Neil runs "Freedomswatch" for the same reason Balko used to run "Spurlock Watch": Because he's against it.

  • Pat||

    Responding to Sullum's column I posted this on my ALeftIndependent blog this morning.

    Obama Wiggles on Medical Marijuana

    "Jacob Sullum at Reason magazine's Hit and Run blog wrote this week that he thinks Sen. Barack Obama's position on medical marijuana is "getting clearer". Frankly Obama's position is irrelevant. Aside from setting some new priorities for the DEA Obama can't do much that the congress does not first enact, authorize and appropriate.

    Besides, as important as the compassion for ill and medically suffering Americans is, the medical marijuana enforcement issue does not resolve the major public safety and security issues confronting Americans today. Public safety problems exacerbated by the continued prohibition by the congress against regulating, licensing and taxing the violent criminal anarchy out of marijuana distribution. A prohibition that Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain all still support.

    Simple solution to both the medical marijuana issue as well as the public safety issues in America today: 2008 Marijuana Decriminalization Bill in U.S. Congress

    H.B. 5843 "To eliminate most Federal penalties for possession of marijuana for personal use..".....

  • TallDave||

    LOL That's the RNC, merrily digging its own grave.

    These people have learned nothing from the Ron Paul movement.

  • VM||

    Clyde - check out Kneel's and Juanita's comments - sound frighteningly similar. Sort of when a fellow claiming to be from the south sounded strangely like a gay married to a NY Jew former french marine journalist engineer...

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