Obama Marijuana Waivers?
As of this past Thursday, the state of Washington has been openly flouting federal law, and the federal government doesn’t seem very interested. In fact, Washington has been ignoring federal law ever since the votes were counted after the November 6th general election as district attorneys around the state have been dismissing misdemeanor marijuana charges. Anyone busted with bud in the last few months is free to go about his business. This places Washington in direct defiance of federal law. Washington’s governor, Christine Gregoire, asked the United States Justice Department for guidance on how to proceed and heard nothing in return.
Colorado has a similar problem. In that same election, Colorado’s citizens also voted to legalize marijuana. Governor John Hickenlooper went directly to the top looking for help. But as of early this week, Attorney General Eric Holder has yet to accept or return the Colorado governor’s phone calls.
The obvious problem for the Obama regime is that enforcing the law would place them in direct conflict with a core constituency – the pot head slacker demographic. In the past, the Obama regime has simply solved similar conflicts by simply declining to enforce laws that discomfort political allies.
And so, one highly probable outcome is that Obama will bestow upon Washington and Colorado a waiver from federal law. Since his inauguration in 2009, Obama has remade the executive branch into a Chicago-style protection racket. If you are a friend of his political ambitions, then you are eligible to earn a waiver from laws you’d rather not obey.
He has granted labor unions and other allies exemptions to Obamacare. He has issued waivers to federal education laws that hold teachers accountable for the quality of their work. And because welfare recipients comprise another of his most reliable voting blocs, Obama has issued a waiver from the work requirements in the 1996 welfare reform act.
But although his motives in this case will likely be less than honorable, taking a step back from the war on drugs would be a very good idea.
In the first place, it’s not entirely clear where the federal government derives its authority to outlaw marijuana. For much of the nineteenth century and for the first couple of decades of the twentieth century, Michael Bloomberg-like busybodies pushed an anti-alcohol agenda upon the United States. The culmination of the temperance movement was ultimately known as Prohibition.
The prohibitionists had their early success at the state level and had plenty of allies in Congress, but nowhere in the United States Constitution could anyone find the authority to abolish alcohol nationwide. In those days, people actually honored the Constitution.
And so, Prohibition was imposed by amending the Constitution. Section 1 of the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution reads: “After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.”
After 13 years, America decided that Prohibition was a mistake and the Constitution was amended again to undo the error.
Will somebody please point out to me the Constitutional amendment that empowered the federal government to outlaw marijuana? You can’t find it, because it isn’t there. Politicians and federal judges since the reign of Franklin Roosevelt have made it their life’s work to undermine the Constitution and federal anti-marijuana laws are an outstanding and destructive example.
Wars have often been used to justify Constitutional abuse and the so-called “war on drugs” is no different. And this war has a body count that far exceeds that of our more recent real wars. I read the other day that the war on drugs has resulted in over 100,000 deaths as drug cartels battle for a share of the United States’ $60 billion annual drug habit.
Marijuana prohibition has done nothing to combat this bloodbath. Instead, it encourages it. No one profits more from the war on drugs than those the war is supposedly waged against.
Drug cartels would be out of business if drugs were decriminalized. It’s much like the argument against gun control. When drugs are criminalized, only criminals deal in drugs.
As an aside, it’s worth noting that Arizona was condemned and sued by the Obama regime for enforcing federal law. Washington and Colorado are unlikely to suffer any consequences for violating federal law.