Drug War

Will Medical Marijuana Be the Next Exception to Rick Perry's Federalism?

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While researching this week's column, which highlights Texas Gov. Rick Perry's inconsistent federalism, I came across a November 2010 Daily Show interview in which he allowed that if "you want to go somewhere where you can smoke medicinal weed, then you ought to be able to do that." Then I dipped into the Republican presidential contender's 2010 book Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America From Washington, where I found some interesting passages about marijuana and the 10th Amendment (emphasis added):

Crucial to understanding federalism in modern-day America is the concept of mobility, or "the ability to vote with your feet." If you don't support the death penalty and citizens packing a pistol, don't come to Texas. If you don't like medicinal marijuana and gay marriage, don't move to California….

In the 1990s, there was a brief, glorious retreat from the previous 60 years of the [Supreme] Court's allowing unfettered discretion by the federal government to legislate anything it wanted under [the Commerce Clause]. The Court, for example, found that a handful of activities were simply too far removed from commerce to be federally regulated, such as gun [possession] near schools and the battering of women. The Court also found unconstitutional the federal government's "compel[led] enlistment of state employees in carrying out federal policies, one of the more powerful antistatist doctrines now available. But the trend was short-lived. The Court subsequently ruled that Congress, using its Commerce Clause power, could prevent California from legalizing medicinal marijuana. In other words, the federal government has the full prerogative to intervene in your private home if you are engaged in any activity that has some minimal relationship to the exchange of goods….

When the federal government oversteps its authority, states should tell Washington they will not be complicit in enforcing laws with which they do not agree. Again, the best example is an issue I don't even agree with—the partial legalization of marijuana. Californians clearly want some level of legalized marijuana, be it for medicinal use or otherwise. The federal government is telling them they cannot. But states are not bound to enforce federal law, and the federal government cannot commandeer state resources and require them to enforce it. So good luck to the federal government if it wants to enforce every law on its books without the help of state and local law enforcement. When the federal government oversteps its bounds, states should think hard about whether a single state resource should be committed to carry out the intrusive policy in question.

Perry's gloss on Gonzales v. Raich, the 2005 medical marijuana decision, is a bit misleading. The Supreme Court did not say California could not legalize the cultivation and possession of marijuana for medical purposes—i.e., make exceptions to its own criminal penalties. The Court said federal penalties remain in force regardless of what California does, so the DEA and the Justice Department have the authority to pursue medical marijuana suppliers and users even when they are complying with state law. Still, Perry is rightly outraged by the absurdly broad reading of the Commerce Clause underlying Raich, and he supports state resistance to federal laws that overstep Congress' constitutional authority.

Or at least he did. As I note in my column, Perry has sought to solidify his position as "unapologetic social conservative" by repudiating his formerly federalist approaches to marriage and abortion, so marijuana could be next.

Mike Riggs and Steve Chapman comment on the gay-marriage exception to Perry's 10th Amendment devotion here and here. State resistance to federal drug policy is a major theme of Reason's October cover story, in which I explain how Barack Obama disappointed critics of the war on drugs. (It's a pretty long story.)

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  1. London riots threadjack:

    Fortunately, Hulk Hogan has our backs.

    http://deadspin.com/5829111/

    1. American Baseball Bats Selling Fast in UK

      http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/mov…..g_bsms_tab

      1. I’m more of a hurley man.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F…..Hurley.JPG

        1. That knob on the end looks like it could crack bones nicely. But if I was stuck in England, I think I’d use one of these.

          1. Nice, I wonder if they have any WW1 trench clubs handy in the local museums?

            1. Nice club

              You could make one easily enough with a pipe and a gear. Which makes me wonder how many Englishmen are making improvised weapons like that.

              Also, sledgehammers are still legal there, right?

              1. Yeah, sledge hammers are legal. I have a claw hammer and a mallet in my tool drawer.

                I suspect that there are quite a few “morning star” type clubs in circulation here. That gear/club arrangement is quite tasty.

    2. Will someone pleez teach Sullum to use the alt-text? kthxbai

  2. Turkish dudes in Hackney:

    (final third of video)

    http://www.vbs.tv/en-gb/watch/…..verload–2

    I didn’t even know there was a turkish community in London until I accidentally went to turkish club night on saturday (it was where a good/fancy rock club night normally is).

    1. We don’t want a problem, but if you make a problem, we are going to fuck you.

      LOL.

      I want this guy as my neighbor when shit goes down.

      1. Yeah, I cracked up that. I was thinking “yep, I’m pretty sure you’d be perfectly capable of that.”

        1. btw – db cooper was mis-identified & cleared. the name of the suspect is LB cooper per his niece.

          1. Yo should file that factoid under “Who gives a shit,” double-asshole.

      2. That was the best part!

  3. Locals make tea for the cops in Camden Town. Note the fancy organic milk. 😉

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/p…..024429000/

    1. The milk goes in before the tea. An outrageous slap at the police officer. There is such a thing as a riot of manners, you hooligans!

    2. Blondie is way too cute to be a limey broad. Are you sure that picture’s from England?

      1. Philippa Morgan-Walker – she could well be an antip, or posh.

        1. Antip ? (Russian) From Greek Antipas, a short form of Antipat?r (from anti- ‘like’ + pat?r ‘father’); the name of the first bishop of Pergamum (Book of Revelation 2:13), who is greatly revered in the Orthodox Church.

          Sounds about right.

          1. Ah, antip is also short for antipodean – i.e. kiwis, aussies, saffas.

            1. Your made up language is so cute.

    3. You’re in London, right db? I hope no ill effects to you and yours. I fucking hate rioters. Vancouver, BC is my original hometown and the hockey riots there a few months ago were so senseless and disgusting.

      1. Yeah I’m in London, but am in Bloomsbury, where it’s very quiet.

        1. You posh son of a bitch.

          1. Well, I am monocle and top hat sporting libertarian after all. 😉

            1. A British Libertarian! We are quite worldly here on H&R.

              1. He has libertarianed all over the world.

                1. H&R is pretty entertaining for all-comers.

                2. But tell me, has he libertined all around the world?

            2. It must be even more depressing to be a Libertarian in England than in the US. From what I read, England is years ahead of the yanks in the development of the nanny-state.

        2. London? Well some assholes in London used my debit card info to by concert tickets, beer and pizza last year.

          Bastards.

        3. Have you ever fired a gun before? Honest question.

          1. Yeah, 0.22″ rifles and 12 gauge shot guns. On a farm in NZ.

            1. If you’re ever over here in the US, shoot a some handgun and a .50 cal. It’s awesome fun.

              1. I used to live in california and really regret not doing so!

                1. If it was big-city California, it’s a good thing you didn’t — you would have been tarred and feathered for conspiring to commit acts of personal liberty and GASP touching a GUUNNNNN!!11

                2. I live in the desert northeast of LA. Lots of guns here.

  4. Federalism sounds great…until you decide you want to become a fed, that is.

    1. Federalism – good for what ails ya, fails what is good for ya!

  5. Did anyone here follow the Perry Prayer Rally last weekend? I know there are a couple Houston Reasonids who post here.

    1. Please ignore spelling/punctuation errors my phone hates me…

      Im a houston area reasonoid, and I would not be caught dead at one of governor good hair’s rallies, much less a prayer rally.

      Besides I was enjoying some libertarian debauchery in las Vegas.

  6. socons are NOT small govt, states rights conservatives, except for blacks n browns. then poll tax ’em, or photo ID ’em, or just fire-hose em down!

    1. There’s a lot of small-government Republican Tea Party voters close to where I live who are Bachmann in their personal views, but are of the conviction that government can never be used to enforce their personal dogmas. These sorts of people aren’t common, and I wish all so-cons suddenly changed in that direction.

      1. I know similar thoughts have been expressed elsewhere here on H&R, but I think a fundamental difference between your big gov’t liberal and social conservatives is that, if you offered them a bargain where the government would neither support nor discourage behaviors I think they’d take you up on it. I don’t think most libeals would take you up on that.

      2. I live in a highly Republican area in Texas, and nobody here gives a shit about banning gay marriage, at least according to a quick poll of the drunken louts in my neighborhood. Only one person was against it, and he was lukewarm at best. The Repugs are very lucky there are no alternatives around here, ’cause there aren’t nearly as many pure so-cons as they would have you believe. I also know a DEA agent who lives in my neighborhood who says we should legalize pot.

  7. OT: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTeOYlO0UlQ

    Candidate for new/co-national anthem?

    1. I prefer this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..ature=fvst

      1. That’s a great tune. But it’s a little jumpy for a national anthem. The first one’s my favorite, but what about something like this:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmTWVJ_pXBk

        Lighter on music, heavier on introspective lyrics, that sort of thing. An excerpt:

        ” In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
        With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
        As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
        While God is marching on.”

        I’m an atheist, but if it’s good, I don’t care about religious references.

        1. Should the anthem be proscriptive or descriptive? Because this is the anthem the US deserves…

            1. It’s always blood and semen with you axialglibertarians.

              1. It could also be the Unknown Hinson song I posted earlier.

            2. I was being serious, but that was pretty good. 10 points.

              I wonder what would happen if somebody trolled an important event hosted by Obama at the White House. Just play the audio of that YouTube video instead of the anthem of Saudi Arabia, say.

              1. Wait… Cannibal Corpse doesn’t sing the Saudi National Anthem? O_0

            3. America already has an anthem

  8. What the hell happened to Gary Johnson? He was IMO the best candidate in the Team Red field. He was The Most Interesting Man In the World (what with the mountain climbing and such) with a real small government platform.

    1. He’s too sane for TEAM RED, and not Ron Paul enough for Ron Paul’s team. Poor bastard.

      1. I just if Ron gets through, he sheds the “let’s attract as many people as possible by watering down my positions” (very understandable and necessary political tactic) and goes fucking apeshit insane, militant minarchist.

        1. *hope

        2. Re: Res Publica Americana,

          You mean you want him to shed his alleged Johnsonism?

          Johnsonism: This very understandable and necessay political [and expedient] tactic of looking libertarian-ish.

          1. I was talking about Ron Paul — he’s been diluting his positions during his campaign to appeal to a wider electorate.

            1. Maybe he thought you were talking about Ron Johnson.

            2. Re: Res Publica Americana,

              I was talking about Ron Paul — he’s been diluting his positions during his campaign to appeal to a wider electorate.

              Which positions?

      2. Damn you for speaking truthiness.

      3. Re: Warty,

        He[, Johnson,] is [not hawkish enough] sane for TEAM RED, and not [principled, ethical and moral] enough for Ron Paul’s team. Poor bastard.

        Yes, POOR bastard.

        1. Well, yeah, I more or less agree. I still wish he was doing better. Better him than Rick Perry, right?

          1. Re: Warty,

            Well, yeah, I more or less agree. I still wish he was doing better. Better him than Rick Perry, right?

            Let me say that I prefer Johnson over Perry as far as presidential candidates go.

  9. So to sum, Perry at this time supports states rights when it comes to Medical Marijuna, but he could change his mind, we’re not sure.

    Thanks for the update.

    1. This was my impression too. Reason can’t even wait until he gets in the race to tear the guy down. And in this case for something he hasn’t even done yet.

      1. Not that I’ve made up my mind to support Perry yet. But so far he seems like the most viable candidate. I like Paul, but I doubt he can win. If for no other reason than he comes off like a crotchety old man.

        1. Well he is currently polling 3rd in Iowa at the moment. That was better than McCain the last cycle and McCain got the nomination. I’m still not entirely convinced Ron Paul will get it, though I wish he would, given how much the msm wants to take him down.

      2. Ya. Just be patient. He was plenty of dooshbaggery stored up in a giant doosh capacitor bank in east Texas. But yall are actually making him look better by attacking him over nothing.

  10. As I note in my column, Perry has sought to solidify his position as “unapologetic social conservative” by repudiating his formerly federalist approaches to marriage and abortion, so marijuana could be next.

    But somehow Paul is the crazy one… according to Kochtopian Reason… Hmm.

  11. That makes a lot of sesne dude.

    http://www.real-anonymity.us.tc

  12. I like how reason goes out of their way to misconstrue Perry’s arguments. Maybe you all need to read your 10th amendments again. Perry has said, consisently, that he opposes violating the 10th amendment with federal laws that aren’t those of the constitution itself. He DOES support amending the constitution itself, to prohibit gay marriage and abortion. Perry can’t just amend the constitution as he pleases. In fact it would require a full-on national mandate. Go look up what it takes. Unless that happens, he opposes federal meddling in issues like abortion, gay marriage, and drugs.

  13. I like how reason goes out of their way to misconstrue Perry’s arguments. Maybe you all need to read your 10th amendments again. Perry has said, consisently, that he opposes violating the 10th amendment with federal laws that aren’t those of the constitution itself. He DOES support amending the constitution itself, to prohibit gay marriage and abortion. Perry can’t just amend the constitution as he pleases. In fact it would require a full-on national mandate. Go look up what it takes. Unless that happens, he opposes federal meddling in issues like abortion, gay marriage, and drugs.

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