17 votes

Drug Law Constitutionality

So let me first say the only drug I have ever tried recreationally is alcohol and only a handful of times mostly because I hate the taste. I don't condone drug use but do find its legality or lack of it kind of a mockery to the constitution. I was curious how it is constitutional to ban drugs so I decided to do research. This lead me to the Interstate Commerce clause which is a short sentence saying the feds can regulate international and interstate Commerce.

At this point I still had no idea how this even remotely applies to banning drugs. So I read more and found that basically the basis comes from a supreme court interpretation that even for example a person growing their own wheat or vegetables at home for personal consumption is covered under commerce because it would, no matter how negligible, effect the national market for wheat or that vegetable because they no longer would need to buy it. Now this obviously sounds ludicrous and basically means the feds could regulate everything in existence under this interpretation. But lets for the sake of argument accept this interpretation. I still have no idea how this effects drugs.

Marijuana is illegal. There is no market for marijuana. There is only an illegal black market. The market isn't allowed to exist. Therefore the growing of marijuana for personal use only effects an illegal market. Therefore how on gods green earth can drugs be made illegal. Under this interpretation I can see how they could ban the buying and selling of drugs but not the growing for personal use. The only way they could regulate growing for personal use is if the market for drugs was allowed to exist in the first place and was legalized. If no market exists growing for personal use only effects no market. I would like some serious responses besides just "the government sucks." I mean has anyone ever challenged the constitutionality under my sort of analysis? Can people start challenging prosecutions with this argument?

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wolfe's picture

Actually, the concern was defiant states...

They set the treaties up as equal to (not greater or less than) the Constitution to put an end to States ignoring treaties that had been entered into by the federal government.

For arguments sake, if I accept that the Constitution is greater than treaties (which isn't said), then treaties would exist as more powerful than everything except the Constitution, which would mean if something wasn't specifically forbidden by the Constitution, then it is allowed to be set in law by a treaty. So, same net effect because the clause was specifically set to nullify any states rights positions. Therefore, the states rights clauses aren't relevant.

(And states rights are the only thing protecting things like drugs).

In practice, treaties have always been treated as equal though, to my knowledge.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -

Treaties do not supersede the

Treaties do not supersede the constitution. And I believe they only cover trafficking.

"This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall bemade in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shallbe made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be thesupreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall bebound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State tothe Contrary notwithstanding.”-----

wolfe's picture

You just quoted a portion...

Of what makes treaties equivalent to amendments to the constitution. They have all the power as if written directly.

When they discovered that it was so much easier to push treaties through is when we stopped getting amendments and started getting a million international treaties.

And no, read the drug treaties. They require that all member nations criminalize drugs. That's why Amsterdam still has it technically illegal on the books. Just unenforced.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -

Can you explain the last line?

"any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding."

Isn't that saying that a treaty does not trump the constitution or state laws that are 'to the contrary'?

wolfe's picture

"and all Treaties made, or

"and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land;"

Basically meaning that states/judges have the right to enforce any law that is not in direct violation of the "supreme law of the land". So what is the supreme law of the land?

It is the Constitution and "all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States"

Meaning any international treaty entered into and approved by the US Congress and signed by the President.

Treaties are as binding as anything in the Constitution, and in fact can nullify it completely pretty much. Which is one reason I do not understand the love for the Constitution by those who argue against globalism. It is the supreme globalist enabling document.

If you want to read up on it:

Oh and in case you are wondering, this is viewed as an "unusual" setup as nation laws go and so to call it anything but deliberate would be incorrect.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -

I don't know what question you answered,

but it wasn't mine. I asked if you could explain the line I quoted, not a different line you felt like explaining. I don't mean any offense or anything, I just don't see how that answered my question.

wolfe's picture

I did.

This is the exact paragraph that explains the line you asked about:

"Basically meaning that states/judges have the right to enforce any law that is not in direct violation of the "supreme law of the land". So what is the supreme law of the land?"

I will break it down for you though.

"and the Judges in every State shall bebound thereby, " =
Each state must obey

"any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding."

The Constitution/Supreme Law Of The Land, but are free to implement any law that is not in direct violation.

I simply went the extra mile for you and explained what Supreme Law Of The Land meant as well.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -

They are talking about the

They are talking about the constitution of a state. Not the US Constitution.

"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty." - Thomas Jefferson
"Annoyance is step one of thinking"
"We're all in the same boat, it doesn't matter if you like me"

Not sure why this was downvoted,

this makes things clearer.

Call it another name

Cannabis was always part of pharmacology. Banning a plant or vegetable is un-constitutional, rename it, a slang term reported by William Randolph Hearst repeatedly citing black men raping white woman or citing Mexicans, vagrancy and than wip the senate into a frenzy, a law can be passed. Texas I believe first tried to ban "cannabis" but failed, start with a crazy tax first, like with machine guns, make it so prohibitive, than its easier to start a "war", get public sentiment up & folks consent to the ultimate ban. Threaten Drs who oppose it, tell the agricultural hemp industry they won't be affected affected & we make pot illegal. Timothy Leary challenged successfully the Constitutionality but good ole Richard Nixon didn't listen to Pennsylvania governor shaffer & he federalized the war on frogs, scheduling all cannabis, industrial hemp & medicinal -recreational as a schedule 1 drug. Time to change that, thanks to congressman Paul & Senator Wyden & Senator Paul we may in 2013 tear down this unconstitutional ban on this vegetable and other plants used for healing & knowledge...

Working to free the hemp seed - Thanks to Congressman Paul's efforts HR 1831. Peace

wolfe's picture

The laws are...

Constitutional because they are supported by treaty. Otherwise, they would be unconstitutional.

Hence the reason for the various registration/tax stamp laws to circumvent the constitution prior to the implementation of the international drug treaties.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -

Yes , the Supremes say the drug laws are constitutional

The Pure Food and Drugs Act of 1906
The Harrison Act (1914) and It's Aftermath
Wickard v. Filburn 1942 http://danieljmitchell.wordpress.com/2012/03/30/thomas-sowel...

In 1915, in a test of the Harrision Act, the Court upheld it but expressed doubts about its constitutionality: "While the Opium Registration Act of December 17, 1914, may have a moral end, as well as revenue, in view, this court, in view of the grave doubt as to its constitutionality except as a revenue measure, construes it as such."

Yet, only six years later the Court considered objection to federal drug prohibition a taboo. In Whipple v. Martinson the justices declared,

"There can be no question of the authority of the State in the exercise of its police power to regulate the administration, sale, prescription, and use of dangerous and habit-forming drugs....

The right to exercise this power is so manifest in the interest of public health and welfare, that it is unnecessary to enter upon a discussion of it beyond saying that it is too firmly established to be successfully called in question.

In 1914, trading in and using drugs was a right. In 1915, limited federal drug controls were a constitutionally questionable tax revenue measure. By 1921, the federal government had gained not only complete control over so-called dangerous drugs, but also a quasi-papal immunity to legal challenge of its authority.

Ron B.