Drug Law

Weed The People: Marijuana and the Constitution

| by NORML

By Allen St. Pierre

Today, as first act for the Republican led 112th Congress, the new majority is going to read the United States Constitution out loud.

Oh, the irony.

If there is real reverence for the document (notably the original copies of the document in the late 1700s were scribed onto paper made from hemp…a staple commercial crop during America’s Revolutionary period cultivated by many of the US Constitution’s original signers…an agricultural product banned by US federal governments for the last 74 years) by those who read the document and sit in rapture listening to the words, then it should be clear to all in the Congress this morning that Cannabis Prohibition is unconstitutional.

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A police officer saw a young black couple drive by and pulled them over. What he did next left them stunned:

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A police officer saw a young black couple drive by and pulled them over. What he did next left them stunned:

Why?

Where in the Constitution does the federal government derive the power and authority to ban and criminalize such a utilitarian and life-enhancing plant species as cannabis?

The oft-lamented by conservatives Commerce Clause? This is where the liberals in Franklin Roosevelt’s administration justified the federal government’s prohibition of cannabis in 1937. Both liberal and conservative governments have argued strenuously, and successfully, in federal courts that Cannabis Prohibition is lawful and sanctioned under the US Constitution’s Commerce Clause.

Further, and most importantly, today’s Congress, notably the new Constitution-loving majority, should listen carefully today when the reading turns to the 1919 18th Amendment (which created Alcohol Prohibition) and the 1933 21st Amendment (which, of course, repealed Alcohol Prohibition, which, like Cannabis Prohibition, was a complete failure that created more problems than it solved and unnecessarily conveyed policing powers from the states and cities to the federal government).

Unless the new majority supports the continued use of the Commerce Clause to justify federal intervention into state sovereignty, for them to adhere and respect the U.S. Constitution (which each member of Congress swears to uphold), they need to pass a constitutional amendment post haste that prohibits the cannabis plant and criminalizes its use, rather than rely on what many Americans consider a legislative fiat by the Congress that created and has fostered Cannabis Prohibition for over eight decades.

Indeed new majority (and minority) in Congress, read and respect the U.S. Constitution!