Monday, October 18, 2010

Fed vs. State

Arguments for the persisting of prohibition are dwindling and turning now into threats. Fallacious and unfounded threats are being broadcasted from various levels of enforcement, most disconcerting being Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca. According to a recent LA Times Blog:

    “'Proposition 19 is not going to pass, even if it passes,' Baca said in a news conference Friday at sheriff's headquarters in Monterey Park.

    Baca, whose department polices three-fourths of the county, was bolstered Friday by an announcement from the Obama administration that federal officials would continue to “vigorously enforce” marijuana laws in California, even if state voters pass the measure.

    Baca said the proposition was superseded by federal law and if passed, would be found unconstitutional."

This would be a tremendous blow to the legalization movement... but unfortunately for the opponents, there is hardly a wince of truth to these threats. It is horrifying to see an elected law enforcement official, in control of the largest county in the United States, have such a blatant disregard for the law he is compelled to abide by. Whether this is because of his ignorance or political influence, his extremist and reckless attitude is unacceptable; he should be removed of his position.

His statement exclaiming that Proposition 19 is "Unconstitutional" is beyond a farce. Marijuana Policy Project's Legislative Analyst Dan Riffle explains "Prop 19 and Constitutional Law for Dummies (and DEA Administrators)"

    [Article VI, Section 1, clause 2 of the Constitution says “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof … shall be the supreme Law of the Land; … Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.” In short, if state law conflicts with a constitutionally valid federal law, the state law is void. Now for starters, not even Supreme Court justices will agree on what the CSA can constitutionally prohibit. At least one justice will tell you a law prohibiting the intrastate cultivation and consumption of marijuana (at least for medical use) isn’t constitutional in the first place. But since a majority on the Court has already said Congress has authority to regulate even intrastate marijuana cultivation, does that mean Prop 19 would be void? Hardly.

    The legal term for this analysis is “preemption” – does federal law preempt state law? There are two ways this can happen, express or implied. Express preemption is when federal law expressly says that it preempts state law (example) – the CSA does not. The second is implied preemption, and there are multiple versions of implied preemption. First is when federal laws and regulations are so comprehensive that they intend to “occupy the field” and leave no room for the states to regulate. The second is when there is a direct conflict between state and federal law, so that one law forbids something the other requires, or visa versa. Fortunately, section 903 of the CSA speaks directly to this question"........."the CSA itself says explicitly that it doesn’t “occupy the field.” That’s why in addition to federal laws on marijuana possession, every state in the country has its own laws, most of which differ from one another and federal law. So the question is whether there’s a “positive conflict” between federal law and Prop 19 — does the proposition require something that the CSA forbids? Late night punchlines notwithstanding, smoking marijuana will not be mandatory in California if Prop 19 passes. And Prop 19 doesn’t forbid anything the CSA requires.]

I'm not a lawyer but this explanation of law makes complete sense. The Federal Government can not compel or force a state to enforce Federal Law. As Cannabis prohibition is not in the Constitution, it is a law which the states can decline to enforce, and therefore, the burden is on the federal government to enforce it. And considering it would be unauthorized for local and state LEOs to assist in the states lawful activity via Prop 19, I imagine our Federal Government will encounter quite the difficult task of weeding out our high-level cultivators.

Proposition 19 is the tool that will ultimately shatter the unsatisfactory cannabis policies destroying our country and the world that feels the echo of our progression (or lack thereof).  Please do not let these unfounded, scare tactics dissuade you... and please reiterate to the people you speak to these words of truth. Prop 19 is for the greater good and only the most common sense decision for us to make. As MPP Director of Government Relations' Steven Fox just released:

        “Attorney General Holder is not looking out for the health and safety of the American people. He is nothing more than the lead advocate for a never-ending taxpayer-funded jobs program for law enforcement officials in this country. If you look at the opposition to marijuana policy reform in this country, it is driven almost entirely by people whose jobs are dependent on arresting and prosecuting individuals for marijuana-related offenses. The only other prominent group is elected officials who ignorantly turn a blind eye to alcohol-fueled violence in our communities in order to pretend they are ‘tough on crime’ by going after marijuana users who simply want to enjoy a substance less harmful than alcohol in peace."

        "If Attorney General Holder and the former heads of the DEA truly and sincerely cared about keeping our society safe from more dangerous drugs like cocaine, they would break the link between marijuana and harder drugs. Keeping marijuana in the illegal market does not reduce the use of harder drugs; it increases it by forcing teens and adults to purchase marijuana in the same ‘stores’ that sell those other drugs. This cannot be stated strongly enough: Supporters of marijuana prohibition in law enforcement, who know that alcohol use causes far more problems than marijuana use, are not motivated by concerns for public safety. They are motivated by a dangerous combination of arrogance, prejudice and self-interest. Law enforcement has lost all credibility on the subject of marijuana prohibition and it is time the American people start thinking for themselves on this issue."
 YES ON 19!!!!

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