Montana's Medical Marijuana Muddle

Yesterday the Drug Enforcement Administration raided about 10 medical marijuana operations in Montana, including four dispensaries run by Montana Cannabis and the greenhouse that supplies them. According to Reuters, "The raids marked the first such crackdown in Montana by the federal government since a state ballot measure legalizing cultivation and possession of marijuana for medical purposes was overwhelmingly approved by voters there in 2004." The crackdown came on the same day that a bill aimed at repealing that initiative was blocked by a state Senate committee.

Wait. Didn't Barack Obama repeatedly promise to call off the DEA's medical marijuana raids when he was running for president, and didn't his attorney general instruct federal prosecutors to leave patients and providers alone as long as they are complying with state law? Sort of. Under a policy change announced by the Justice Department in October 2009, U.S. attorneys were told that, "as a general matter," they "should not focus federal resources" on "individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana." In practice, this policy means the feds reserve the right to interpret state law and decide whether patients and providers are following it, as illustrated by continued raids in California, Colorado, and Michigan.

Montana, like California and Michigan, allows "caregivers" as well as patients to grow marijuana. Montana's Medical Marijuana Act (PDF) defines a caregiver as an individual "who has agreed to undertake responsibility for managing the well-being of a person with respect to the medical use of marijuana." A patient with a doctor's recommendation may grow up to six plants and possess up to one ounce of usable marijuana for his own consumption, or he can designate a caregiver, who may grow up to six plants on his behalf. Are patients or caregivers allowed to form "cooperatives," as they do in California, and grow marijuana together? According to the state Department of Public Health & Human Services, which keeps track of registered patients and their caregivers, "the law is silent on this issue." And although the law specifies that "a qualifying patient may have only one caregiver at any one time," it does not seem to address the question of whether a caregiver may grow marijuana for more than one patient.

The upshot is that the DEA can always argue that any individual or group of people with more than six plants (or more than one ounce of usable marijuana) in one place is not "in clear and unambiguous compliance" with Montana law. That would be the case even if state courts explicitly approved grow operations and dispensaries operated by patients or caregivers. Federal raids have continued in California even though the state attorney general (now the governor) said dispensaries are permitted.

Now that the attempt to repeal Montana's Medical Marijuana Act has been stymied, people who believe the current system is too loose are expected to propose regulations that will clarify exactly what is and is not permitted. If such rules are established, the DEA will no longer have an excuse for breaking Obama's promise.

More on the wiggle room left by Obama's supposedly tolerant attitude toward medical marijuana here.

[Thanks to Robert Johnson, Dave Budge, and Richard Cowan for the tip.]

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    Yesterday the Drug Enforcement Administration raided about 10 medical marijuana operations in Montana

    I had not heard about this, but I'm surprised it hasn't happened sooner.

    Fucking douchebags. I'm one hundred per cent convinced this was choreographed by the repeal advocates.

  • Number 2||

    I hate to say "I told you so," but I saw this coming as soon as I read Holder's directive.

    But don't feel bad for Montanans. They get to keep their health insurance if they are happy with it, and their taxes won't go up one single dime!

  • a||

    How about some compassion for those who are really sick and need it. Who now can't get there medication, because they thought they were legal clients of the shops that have been raided. We are not all abusing medical marijuana. But many are suffering right now.

  • ||

    another glorious victory for fascism

  • ||

    What's funny (in the not-in-any-way-amusing sense of the word) is the people trying to kill medical marijuana in the state rely heavily on the "gangs of armed thugs will swarm the state!" argument.

    Well, they're here.

  • Concerned Citizen||

    Exactly, the "gangs of armed thugs" wear badges. I'm praying for the day when a high ranking gov't thug gets a disease that can only be cured by marijuana. Of course they'll get their treatment, in secret.

  • doomboy||

    Exactly, the "gangs of armed thugs" wear badges blacked out name tags.

    FTFY

  • ||

    Why do you hate privacy?

  • ||

    lock em down and lock em up

    just kidding

  • Click-n-Learn||

    .

  • ||

    Fuck you, joe.
    Fuck you, Tony.
    Fuck you, Chad.
    Fuck you, ChicagoTom.
    Fuck you, OhioOrrin.
    Fuck you, shrike.
    Fuck you, rather.
    Fuck you, Danny/Edwin/TheTruth or whatever name you post with next.

  • ||

    But...hope! And change! And TEAM BLUE!

  • ||

    I suspect it's all Bush's fault somehow.

  • Tim||

    Fuk U Shima!

  • ||

    phukkk a dukkk

  • Mr. FIFY||

    What SugarFree said.

  • ||

    why thank u. may i have another please

  • MichiganOrrin||

    lol u can haz all day long many posters feel the same way!!

  • cynical||

    Democrats are better on civil liberties!

  • ||

  • x,y||

    You forgot Cavanaugh, Bailey and a few other reason stooges.

  • Steve Chapman||

    You forgot me!!

  • Truthy||

    We can't have competition with the roving Canadian pot thugs. Those dangerous Canucks and silly bacon & hockey & Alan Thicke. Tim Horton's coffee gives you accent cancer.

  • zoltan||

    Mmmm, bacon. That's all I got from this.

  • ||

    In practice, this policy means the feds reserve the right to interpret state law and decide whether patients and providers are following it

    You're missing the point here. If federal agencies are going to forego enforcement of federal law where it conflicts with state law, then they have to interpret state law and decide when it's being broken. Otherwise, how would they know when there's a conflict?

    Now, I think (a) drugs should be legalized, and (b) so long as they're not, a better standard would be to only raid when there is unambiguous violation of state law. But let's not overstate the case against Obama's action.

  • Concerned Citizen||

    How do the Feds get jurisdiction over State Law? They don't.
    Oops, someone's knocking at my door. He says he's from the gov't, and he's here to help me.

  • 10th Amendment||

    STFU.

  • ||

    Now, I think (a) drugs should be legalized, and (b) so long as they're not, a better standard would be to only raid when there is unambiguous violation of state law.

    If there's a violation of state law, then the state goons can do the raiding. No need for the DEA to scuff the shine on their jackboots.

  • 18th Amendment||

    Why was I necessary again?

  • 18th Amendment||

    Oops, Ive been hanging out with #21, replied in wrong place.

  • Split Decision||

    In this corner wearing red trunks, The 10th "Para la Madre Fucking Ganar" Amendment.

    In the opposite corner, wearing blue trunks, The Supremacy "Don't Call Me Mrs." Claaaaaaaaauuuuuuuuse!!!!!

    (I am a real American....fight for the rights of everyman....)

  • Ska||

    I prefer Grab Them Cakes.

  • robc||

    If there is an actual conflict between the two, that is an easy fight to solve.

    The Supremacy Clause is in the main body. The 10th amendment therefore came later, thus anything it amended is amended. Its possible the 10th desupremed Aricle 6 a wee little bit.

    Suck it Surpremacy Clause.

  • robc||

    SCOTUS (emphasis mine)

    "A state statute is void to the extent that it actually conflicts with a valid Federal statute."

    10th Amendment makes the federal pot laws unvalid, thus the supremacy clause doesnt apply.

  • ||

    Am I correct in reading that the Supremacy Clause would only be relevant in this case if the Constitution actually prohibited marijuana use, either in the main body (nope) or an Amendment (nope)? And since it doesn't, the Montana law is the primary relevancy? And that would be the case with ALL state laws that are not impacted by something IN the actual Constitution?

  • robc||

    Nope, any federal statute. But since the statute has to be valid, and the power to outlaw substances isnt granted to the federales in the constitution (main body or amendment) then these statutes arent valid. This is a power reserved to the states (10A).

  • ||

    The Supremacy Clause isn't in conflict with the Tenth Amendment.

    If the feds are right that the Commerce Clause covers drug distribution and cultivation, then the Tenth Amendment says nothing about the subject. Only the powers "not delegated" to the federal government are reserved to the states.

  • ||

    If the feds are right that the Interstate Commerce Clause covers intrastate drug distribution and cultivation,

    Kind of answers itself, doesn't it?

  • ||

    And back we go to libertarian duckie and bunnie land.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    The one where interstate and intrastate are different?

    Captain-fucking-insano, I know. What a tortured bit of wordsmithing we liberatarians are guilty of!

  • Number 2||

    They do not need to interpret state law, Tulpa. Read Holder's memo. He has decided what does and does not constitute "compliance" with state law, based on factors that he lists, and have nothing to do with the state's law, e.g., whether the user has "excessive cash" on hand. That is what is so pernicious about Holder's directive. Not only has Obama lied about "calling off raids," but he has also found a way of expanding federal authority over the states by dictating to the states what it means to "comply" with their own laws.

  • ||

    or we can continue to bust heads forever

    fascism rox

  • ||

    It was not immediately clear why the raids took place.

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Inspector Clouseau||

    They were breaking the leuaa!

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    You don't know what it's like, you don't have a clue. If you did you'd find yourself doing the same thing, too.

  • ||

    another day in gulagville

  • ola||

    When will a governor of a state which allows med mj respond to the federal intrusion by directing state police to interfere with these raids and arrest the "agents from the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Drug Enforcement Administration" and any local authorities who facilitate or assist in the raids? This would put the issue of med mj front and center in the debate about federal authority and state power.

  • ||

    I'm sure the state troopers will just relish the idea of arresting heavily armed federal agents. Assuming they complete the arrest, they would be arrested themselves and hauled into federal court faster than you could say "Orville Faubus". Sovereign immunity doesn't apply when the "victim" is another sovereign.

  • ola||

    Arrested themselves by whom? Have you ever been to Montana? Every federal agent in Montana that day was probably involved in the raid.
    It would just take one of these acts of state sovereignty to kick off the rebellion in other states (maybe not Cali). The state just needs to articulate the fact that the controlled substance act is not allowed in the constitution (I know, I know, commerce clause). Even us rubes in the western states understand the limits of the constitution.

  • ||

    Well, we're talking about governors in general, not just Montana. But even then you can bet there'd be an influx of feds into MT once the state cops start arresting feds.

  • ||

    who benefits from the legal double-talk?

  • Virginia||

    In October 1957 Eisenhower federalized the Arkansas National Guard and ordered them to return to their armories which effectively removed them from Faubus' control. Eisenhower then sent elements of the 101st Airborne Division to Arkansas to protect the black students and enforce the Federal court order.

    Crafty!

  • ola||

    I can see the article in the New York Times now.

    In June 2011 Obama federalized the Montana National Guard and ordered them to return to their armories which effectively removed them from state control. Obama then sent elements of the 101st Airborne Division to Montana to protect federal agents and enforce the Federal law against a plant.

  • ||

    we're gonna vape our herb until we can't no matta wot

  • Gray Ghost||

    Lon Horiuchi disagrees with you. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lon_Horiuchi Had the D.A. in question not been replaced by the time the 9th Circuit overturned the District Court's dismissal of the case, there's a decent chance Horiuchi would've been convicted for the manslaughter of Vicki Weaver, Supremacy Clause or not. Of course, the SCOTUS would've probably overturned the 9th, if the new Montana DA had proceeded with the trial. Shocking, I know.

    Montana arresting DEA/FBI agents would trigger a Constitutional crisis though, most definitely. And you're absolutely right that there'd be a giant influx of Feds, National Guard, etc...once Montana arrested these guys. It'd be a giant step, and one that I don't think state governors really want to contemplate.

  • Gray Ghost||

    Idaho DA, not fucking Montana. Gahh. Edit function, how the fuck does it work.?

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    They just need the right pep talk. And some more fucking steroids.

  • H man||

    Sumpter, Fort

  • ||

    veee villlll kkkkrush all dissent

  • ||

    As my dear headshrinker used to say so often when I was being analyzed, "fantasy fantasy" There's no way State authorities are going to interfere with the Feds.

    IMO the entire Holder memo was a political scam. Now when a dispensary get's raided the people nod their head and say, "well they were obviously up to no good. Mr. Obama said they'd only raid the ones that are violating State law."

    But it's all academic since the IRS told the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana that they couldn't deduct business expenses. Say goodbye to every dispensary in the country. Well at least the ones that have been trying to operate in the open and in compliance with the laws.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/bre.....i_17596645
    Steve DeAngelo, director of Oakland’s Harborside Health Center, one of the nation’s largest dispensaries, warned that if the IRS adopts this position towards all medical marijuana businesses, “Every dispensary in the nation, past, present and future is dead.”

    We may as well lay our king down. Checkmate is inevitable at this point. Congratulations Mr. Obama, well played. :-{

  • ||

    Obviously the IRS is in the wrong here, but can't the dispensaries just raise prices to cover the tax increase?

  • ||

    "DEA raids dispensaries over claims of price gouging"

  • Robert||

    More to the point, why should they report income? If it's not a business, why are they reporting to IRS? IRS is saying their gross income is actually their net?

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    Income is whatever the IRS says income is. Just like Progress is whatever the progressives say progress is, and the Constitution means whatever SCOTUS says it means.

  • Robert||

    Just to explain further to Tulpa, from what I gather, IRS is saying that for federal tax purposes, what they gross in sales is net income. That is, the dollars they take in count, but the dollars they spend don't. If their margin is small, that's an enormous misaccounting. How much would they have to raise their prices (which according to that accounting would also raise their income) to cover that? The patients would just turn to non-medical sources that don't report anything to anybody. Remember, the patients aren't liable for illegal sales to them, unless they go on some "conspiracy to distribute" charge. There's no separate law on buying, as opposed to possessing, marijuana.

  • ||

    I get taxed on gross income without deducting the money I spend and still make ends meet. Why can't a dispensary?

    And the risk premium charged by illegal distributors is going to far outweigh the tax premium dispensaries would have to charge. If they're taxed on gross revenue at a rate of 30% they can raise prices by 35% and break even. No way illegal distributors are charging that small of a markup.

  • robc||

    Lets take some hypothetical numbers:

    Gross revenue 100 units
    Cost of goods sold 90 units
    Net profit before tax 10 units

    Tax rate (from you) 30%.
    Total tax 30 units
    Net profit after tax 20 units.

    No other business is taxed this way. NONE. You arent taxed on gross income even, though you claim it. Health insurance, mortgage deduction, retirement, basic deduction, you arent paying income tax on 100% of gross.

  • robc||

    That net after tax is -20, not 20.

  • ||

    It's damn near 100% of gross for me as I don't have a mortgage.

    But in any case, the solution is to raise your prices to bring revenue up to 130 units or so. It's not like anyone's going to undercut them in price.

  • ||

    Tulpa's pulling our leg here, isn't he? No one could possibly be so stupid as to fail to recognize the difference between the gross income of a business and an individual's take-home pay.

  • ||

    You don't get taxed on your take-home pay, genius.

  • robc||

    The main point being, why are pot dispensaries being treated differently for tax purposes than viagra dispensaries?

  • ||

    They shouldn't be, but the MJ guy's claim that this is going to drive med MJ out of business is preposterous.

  • Robert||

    I think you overestimate the black market markup if you think dispensaries could compete with them on an after-tax basis if their gross income is treated as their net for IRS. It's also possible that Calif. would apply the federal calculation to their own for tax purposes. Remember that the black market is untaxed.

  • ||

    You're claiming that the risk markup for illicit distributors is less than the tax rate? Sorry, I'm calling bullshit on that one.

  • Robert||

    Not that the "risk markup" is greater than the "tax rate" as usually computed. However, the "risk markup" will be greater than what is effectively a sales tax charged at income tax rates, plus apportioned overhead costs.

    I don't know about other states, but AIUI the medical marijuana business in Calif. is, for all practical purposes, the marijuana business. That is, practically anyone who could be busted for growing or selling will now claim to be a caregiver. That being the case, the risk has dropped to a low level, and so has the risk premium. There has not been a great incentive for most of those in the business to establish themselves before the fact as medical, and with a tax policy like this, now there won't be any.

  • ||

    The main point being, why are pot dispensaries being treated differently for tax purposes than viagra dispensaries?

    Shitty lobbyists? Sorry, was that rhetorical?

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    They probably could have, if they'd been informed of their accounting error. We all know that DEA isn't acting in good faith, and that isn't what this is about at all though, don't we?

  • ||

    the attempted cultural genocde continues

    and the peanut butter cornspiracy continues to spread

  • Robert||

    You'd wind up with something like the Toledo War or some of the other interstate disputes, with different police units arresting each other.

  • ||

    Alliteration is so pedestrian, Jacob.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    Dear Montanna,

    Please arrest these guys for kidnapping, breaking and entering, theft, and impersonating an officer of the law. I'm betting some jawalking probably occurred in there too.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    Also Montana, the guy's with one n. You should do the same thing.

  • ||

    I can't wait to see what some of my friends acquaintances have to say about the awesomeness of George Bush, Junior this evening.

  • Virginia||

    Montana had the pre-trial jury revolt a few months ago over a plant so perhaps the socons see federal intervention as their best option to keep people from consuming a plant.

  • ||

    Hmm, just watched Warty's zangief/bully-smash video. That was a brutal owning.

    Put the fat kid in a rugby team (prop), he'd be handy at mauling/clean-outs.

  • Robert||

    Hey, I used to prop!

  • Tim||

    Just man up and die in agony like you're supposed too.

  • Mother Theresa||

    Suffering is beautiful.

  • Atheist*||

    When we're both in Hell I'm going to cut out your eyes and skull fuck you.

    *wrap your head around that one you oppressive cunt!

  • Mother Theresa's Poverty Vow||

    Sure, I flew in a private jet, but there were no in-flight meals. Just snacks.

  • ||

    golden rule works

  • ||

    If such rules are established, the DEA will no longer have an excuse for breaking Obama's promise.

    I have faith in the DEA's infinite capacity to flout the notions of truth and decency.

  • ||

    sensible

  • JimBob||

    If such rules are established, the DEA will no longer have an excuse for breaking Obama's promise.

    Correction: ...the DEA will no longer have that particular excuse for breaking Obama's abandoned proposal.

    You don't think that a regulatory structure is going to stop the thugs from the DEA from fucking up a bunch of cancer/AIDS/MS/etc. patients, do you?

  • ||

    and fearmonger the stoners back into the closet !?

  • ||

    Federal marijuana prohibition is ILLEGAL! When alcohol was prohibited at the Federal level, that required an amendment to the Constitution to be legal. There has been NO AMENDMENT AUTHORIZING FEDERAL MARIJUANA PROHIBITION. UNCONSTITUTIONAL IS ILLEGAL!

    The Feds will continue to do whatever they like UNTIL WE THE PEOPLE PUT A STOP TO THAT!

    Visit youtube and watch "Judge Andrew Napolitano Natural rights Patriot Act"!

    From THE EMPEROR WEARS NO CLOTHES chapter 6:
    “Eli Lilly, Pfizer and others stand to lose at least a third of their entire, highly profitable, patent monopoly on such drugs as Darvon, Tuinal, Seconal, and Prozac (as well as other patented medications ranging from muscle ointments to burn ointments, to thousands of other products) because of a plant anyone can grow: cannabis hemp.

    Isn’t it curious that American drug companies and pharmacist groups supply almost half the funding for the 4,000 Families Against Marijuana type organizations in America? The other half is supplied by Action (a federal VISTA agency) and by tobacco companies like Philip Morris, and by liquor and beer makers like Anheuser Busch, Coors, etc., or as a public service by the ad agencies that represent them. End quote.

    Simply stated, the Federal Government is conspiring with pharmaceutical companies, alcohol companies and tobacco companies and is using unconstitutional Federal marijuana prohibition laws to insure that you needlessly buy products that have been proven beyond any shadow of doubt to be harmful and often deadly, instead of allowing you to legally grow and/or buy a nontoxic plant that is safe and effective. Meanwhile uncle SHAM, aka: uncle SCAM, forces unconstitutional healthcare legislation on you and threatens to severely punish you if you don’t buy mandatory health insurance.

    ‘If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.’ ~Thomas Jefferson

    No matter where you stand on the issue of legalizing marijuana everyone should read:
    MARIJUANA AND HEMP THE UNTOLD STORY, Thomas J. Bouril,

    WHY IS MARIJUANA ILLEGAL, Pete Guither

    and the free online book:

    THE EMPEROR WEARS NO CLOTHES, The Authoritative Historical Record of Cannabis and The Conspiracy Against Marijuana.

    Click the links to those titles on this webpage:
    Internet Explorer web browser: http://jsknow.angelfire.com/home
    All Other Browsers: http://jsknow.angelfire.com/index.html

    If you think marijuana prohibition has anything to do with the imaginary, false, fabricated, alleged harms from using marijuana as a recreational drug, YOU HAVE BEEN DUPED!

    Put Ron Paul in the White House in 2012 or sooner! Search his name on youtube and listen to what he has to say straight from his own mouth! He represents We The people and the Constitution better than ANY Federal representative we have!

  • Kristen||

    Dude, you're kind of preaching to the choir here.

  • ||

    Copy pasta has an urgency all its own. It's a sense of release, like the relief of peeing with a full bladder.

  • robc||

    Is copy pasta on offering to the FSM?

  • ||

    According to some. I'm afraid a schism might be forming over the subject.

  • BO||

    Let me be clear: they didn't understand the Commerce Clause in 1921.

  • Regular Hit and Runner||

    Who the hell is Ron Paul?

  • Paul||

    I find your ideas intriguing. I'd like to subscribe to your newsletter.

  • ||

    Barb Trego, a medical marijuana patent and the mother of one of the Montana Cannabis employees who was detained, came in tears from the Capitol to the greenhouse business. Trego said word that the raids were under way spread via text messages as she was sitting in the committee room listening to lawmakers debate the repeal measure.

    Trego said she believed some of the senators who voted for repeal of the state's medical marijuana law had advance notice of the raids.

    "Those smug senators that voted against it were sitting there laughing because they knew all of this was going on," Trego said. "Even though the vote didn't go their way they were all smiling at us."

    Great Falls Tribune

  • Pigvomit||

    Goddamn mother fuckers!

  • ||

    biz as usual

  • X||

    HazMat suits with air tanks? what kind of retarded fantasy land do govt employees live in?

  • The Fringe Economist||

    If Rand Paul is the "walkiest" politician, then Obama is the "flip-floppiest"

  • ||

    (not)Movin' to Montana soon
    Gonna be a Dental Floss tycoon
    (yes I am)
    Movin' to Montana soon
    Gonna be a mennil-toss flykune
    I'm pluckin' the ol' Dennil Floss
    That's growin' on the prairie
    Pluckin' the floss!
    I plucked all day an' all nite an' all Afternoon...
    I'm ridin' a small tiny hoss
    (His name is MIGHTY LITTLE)
    He's a good hoss
    Even though He's a bit dinky to strap a big saddle or
    Blanket on anyway
    He's a bit dinky to strap a big saddle or
    Blanket on anyway
    Any way I'm pluckin' the ol' Dennil Floss
    Even if you think it is a little silly, folks
    I don't care if you think it's silly, folks
    I don't care if you think it's silly, folks
    I'm gonna find me a horse
    Just about this big
    An' ride him all along the border line
    With a Pair of heavy-duty
    Zircon-encrusted tweezers in my hand
    Every other wrangler would say
    I was mighty grand
    By myself I wouldn't
    Have no boss
    But I'd be raisin' my lonely Dental Floss
    Raisin' my lonely Dental Floss
    Raisin' my lonely Dental Floss
    Well I might Ride along the border
    With my tweezers gleamin'
    In the moon-lighty night
    And then I'd Get a cuppa cawfee
    N' give my foot a push...
    Just me 'n the pymgy pony
    Over the Dennil Floss Bush
    N' then I might just Jumb back on
    An' ride Like a cowboy
    Into the dawn to Montana
    Movin' to Montana soon

    (Yippy-Ty-O-Ty-Ay)

    Movin' to Montana soon

  • ||

    If a voting block of 150,000 were to move to Montana and utilize the ballot initiative procedure they could own the State. Zircon encrusted tweezers indeed.

  • ||

    where the buffalo roam and the sky is not cloudy all daaaayyyyyyyyyyyyy

  • ||

    Well Montana is the State that very seriously considered trying to sidestep the Federal gun control laws. That proposal would have required the guns be manufactured fully in Montana, I suppose that means not even importing the metal or even the machines used in their manufacture. The guns would be stamped "made in Montana" and the theory was that would bring them under the auspice of the 10th Amendment. I'm not sure why the idea was dropped. Perhaps the Montana lawmakers read the decision in Raich v Gonzalez (2005) and realized that the Feds have successfully emasculated the 10th Amendment.
    ------------------------------------
    Justice Clarence Thomas in dissent, Raich v. Gonzalez (2005):

    "Respondent's local cultivation and consumption of marijuana is not "Commerce among the several States."

    "Certainly no evidence from the founding suggests that "commerce" included the mere possession of a good or some personal activity that did not involve trade or exchange for value. In the early days of the Republic, it would have been unthinkable that Congress could prohibit the local cultivation, possession, and consumption of marijuana."

    "If the Federal Government can regulate growing a half-dozen cannabis plants for personal consumption (not because it is interstate commerce, but because it is inextricably bound up with interstate commerce), then Congress' Article I powers -- as expanded by the Necessary and Proper Clause -- have no meaningful limits. Whether Congress aims at the possession of drugs, guns, or any number of other items, it may continue to "appropriate state police powers under the guise of regulating commerce."

    "If the majority is to be taken seriously, the Federal Government may now regulate quilting bees, clothes drives, and potluck suppers throughout the 50 States. This makes a mockery of Madison's assurance to the people of New York that the "powers delegated" to the Federal Government are "few and defined", while those of the States are "numerous and indefinite."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gonzales_v._Raich

  • ||

    Cannot be repeated enough. This alone makes Thomas the most libertarian justice since FDR's court-packing scheme.

  • Paul||

    "individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana."

    And if marijuana were simply legalized, full stop, then these ambiguities wouldn't exist. Medicalization is an open invitation for these types of governmental shenanigans.

  • Robert||

    And yet, medical drugs is an enormous business. So clearly it can be done legally despite the possibility of shenanigans.

  • Paul||

    Not necessarily.

    However, I think you've missed the larger point. Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level as a Schedule I drug unlike Percocet.

    I have to concede that it's reasonable that as long as marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, shenanigans could still continue even if a state legalized marijuana in the same manner as beer or spirits.

    However, that's a much more established regulatory framework. Even in medical MJ states, the laws governing the use of medical marijuana seem to stand apart from the general regulatory framework regarding existing schedule II drugs.

    My guess is this is because we've entered into this schozophrenic phase with MJ where we concede that it's not potent like Percocet or Oxycontin so we can have 'caregivers' growing, cultivating and delivering the drug, yet it's scrutinized differently because... it's marijuana.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    I have to concede that it's reasonable that as long as marijuana remains illegal at the federal level

    I don't have to concede that at all. There is no authorization for that in the Constitution, so it can't be, rightfully speaking, illegal at the federal level.

    So fuck those guys.

  • ||

    it's bad because the big hammer says so

  • Paul||

    If such rules are established, the DEA will no longer have an excuse for breaking Obama's promise.

    Sure they will. More rules means more loopholes which beget more excuses.

    It's much harder for the DEA to perform marijuana raids when marijuana comes under the same existing regulatory jurisdiction as alcohol.

  • ||

    Where's Tony to tell us the government needs to raise taxes to fund these necessary functions?

  • ||

    If a voting block of 150,000 were to move to Montana and utilize the ballot initiative procedure they could own the State.

    Except the fucking moron "concerned soccer mom" Californicators got here first. It's not the old-school ranchers agitating in Helena for repeal, it's the fucking suburbanites from places like Billings and Bozeman.

  • ||

    Zephram Cochrane looked like he was down with the weed.

  • robc||

    This one or this one?

  • ||

    The good one.

  • ||

    And the pigs, of course.

  • ||

    Suck it Surpremacy Clause.

    I am all in favor of federal intervention to lift state or local infringement of rights, particularly those spelled out in the Constitution. Like denial of Second Amendment rights masquerading as "reasonable" restrictions on gun ownership. Likewise, denial of Fourteenth Amendment rights.

    Using federal police power to impose restrictions on freedoms specifically recognized by state legislatures is a different barrel of fish.

  • ||

    So you're in favor of federal intervention when it's doing something you like.

  • Paul||

    I think P Brooks is suggesting that if federal intervention is going to occur, it would be preferable to restrain itself to expanding or maintaining rights, to keep them open and free as opposed to being a force for restricting them.

    It's the same philosophy I have toward 'interpretation' on the Supreme Court. If they're gonig to make wild interpretations, better to interpret an expanded view of liberty than a more restrictive one.

  • ||

    No. He's in favor of the Feds telling states to back the fuck down when they infringe upon our baseline rights spelled out in the Constitution.

  • ||

    politburo centralization of everything occurred a long time ago.

    you have the right to shut up and play the game or else.

  • ||

    So you're in favor of federal intervention when it's doing something you like.

    It's a freedom thing. You wouldn't understand.

  • ||

    But in any case, the solution is to raise your prices to bring revenue up to 130 units or so. It's not like anyone's going to undercut them in price.

    Fucking microeconomics- how does it work?

  • ||

    It's not like anyone's going to undercut them in price.

    Perhaps a little research into the presence of black markets for heavily taxed commodities would come in handy.

  • ||

    You may not have noticed but there ALREADY IS a black market in marijuana! And their prices reflect a high risk markup.

  • ||

    It gets even worse. Rethugs in the state legislature have shown their contempt for a majority of Montana voters and are adding on provisions that make it all but impossible for those who need cannabis to get it. The move is not based on science but a 'I don't like it so it should be illegal' stance! I thought the rethug focus was going to be jobs!

  • ||

    psy ops psy ops psy ops

    bin laden gitchie gitchie

  • Muggz||

    Indeed, the issue is now States Rights. Do the individual states no longer have the right to enact laws in accordance with due Democratic Process? Are States Sovereignty in jeopardy? If so, then we are all in trouble. This is no better than what happened during the late 30s/early 40s with the establishment of the Third Reich.

  • Test Killer||

    He's in favor of the Feds telling states to back the down when they infringe upon our baseline rights spelled out in the Constitution. Thanks for sharing such a nice information

  • Exam Questions ||

    I think Break Obama good policy about it.

  • victorjhon||

    Break Obama is a good leader of United State of America.

    Exact Cram | Pass Cram

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement