US News reports that two initiative campaigns are underway in Oklahoma to legalize marijuana for both medical and recreational uses. If either passes, it will add to the swelling movement to nullify unconstitutional federal laws prohibiting marijuana.
The federal government currently bans marijuana for any use. But constitutionally, the feds lack any authority enforce a prohibition on marijuana. No delegated power to regulate marijuana within a state exists. That role rightly remains with the state and the people.
Doubt this? Then ask yourself why alcohol prohibition required and amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Should either initiative pass, they would serve as an effective nullification of unconstitutional federal prohibition of marijuana. In Federalist 46, James Madison, the ‘Father of the Constitution’ gave us a blueprint to follow when the federal government oversteps its bounds. One of the things he recommended was “refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union.” That’s exactly what Oklahoma will do if it passes either initiative.
Federal agencies like the FBI and DEA need state and local governments to help enforce their drug laws. As more states decline to do so, the federal government simply does not have the resources to enforce their laws.
The first ballot initiative on medical marijuana follows along the lines of the other states where it has already passed. However, State Senator Constance Johnson and Oklahoma City defense attorney David Slane are spearheading an effort with a second ballot initiative that will push the envelope much further than anything already passed in other states. From the report formerly/http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/05/08/oklahoma-pot-legalization-cannabis-cash-crop:
In what would be the most groundbreaking part of the package, the initiative would allow commercial farms to export marijuana to states where it’s legal for recreational or medicinal use.
“Oklahoma could be an agriculture state for marijuana,” says Oklahoma City defense attorney David Slane, who wrote the initiative with Johnson.
When asked about the transportation of Oklahoma’s marijuana through states where it is still illegal, Slane answered by stating that the issue most likely will be resolved with input from the U.S. Department of Justice. Ironically, it could be argued that this is original intent of the commerce clause to the U.S. Constitution as opposed to restricting commerce from needless regulation.
The initiative will also allow individuals to legally carry 1 ounce of marijuana for personal use (1.5 ounces for doctor approved medical use). Also, it is expected that taxes will be kept at the current sales tax already in place in Oklahoma.
The initiative is different in other ways from those which have already passed. From the report formerly/http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/05/08/oklahoma-pot-legalization-cannabis-cash-crop:
Localities would be able to regulate the location of recreational marijuana stores, but unlike Colorado’s legalization law they would not be allowed to block stores altogether. Unlike Washington state’s legalization law, residents will be able to give – but not sell – pot to friends.
Polls of Oklahoma residents show strong support for medical and decriminalization of marijuana. The poll didn’t ask about outright legalization, but 82 percent did believe that such decisions should be left to the states.
Those 82 percent are right when considering the proper role of government under the Constitution.
Senator Johnson believes there is support for her initiative. “There is quiet, silent support, not only because our laws are ridiculous but because people either have used it or know someone who has, and all of the doomsday expectations just are not true,”
If a conservative state like Oklahoma would pass either initiative, it should send a message to other states across the country. The argument for less government is the conservative position. The argument for rejecting unconstitutional federal prohibition is the constitutional position.
Many state legislators are already eyeing what is going with Colorado’s budget from both increased tax revenues and the decreased expenditures from jail/prison costs. Should Oklahoma take things to the next level, the whole world will likely be watching.
If you live in Oklahoma and want to support these initiatives follow these links for more information:
Oklahomans For Health (Editor’s note: link no longer works but here is a graphic on file)
Tenth Amendment Center
The Tenth Amendment Center is a national think tank that works to preserve and protect the principles of strictly limited government through information, education, and activism. The center serves as a forum for the study and exploration of state and individual sovereignty issues, focusing primarily on the decentralization of federal government power as required by the Constitution. For more information visit the Tenth Amendment Center Blog.