Federalism and marijuana

Colorado and Washington state voted in a referendum to legalize marijuana.  Not just medical marijuana, recreational marijuana.  (Oregon defeated a similar measure.)  The problem is, the sale and possession of marijuana are still illegal according to federal law.  The states are trying to figure out what to do and how this would work.

What we have is a crisis of federalism.  Conservatives, who might normally oppose drug legalization, are in the position of championing states’ rights, while liberals, who might normally favor legalized drugs, are in the unusual position of opposing federal regulation.

At any rate, if the states can figure out how to implement that referendum, Colorado and Washington can expect all kinds of drug tourism.  That might not be a pleasant prospect.

 

See  Marijuana approval leaves states scrambling for answers – The Washington Post.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • SKPeterson

    Drug laws, either pro or con, should never, ever have been a federal issue to begin with. These measures are entirely appropriate under the auspices of the 10th Amendment. The federal government could try to impose some sort of control under the Commerce Clause, but as long as Oregon growers aren’t selling in Washington, or Washington growers in Colorado, etc. it should be left up to the states.

  • SKPeterson

    Drug laws, either pro or con, should never, ever have been a federal issue to begin with. These measures are entirely appropriate under the auspices of the 10th Amendment. The federal government could try to impose some sort of control under the Commerce Clause, but as long as Oregon growers aren’t selling in Washington, or Washington growers in Colorado, etc. it should be left up to the states.

  • MarkB

    As much as I dislike what drug use does to people I am thinking that we cannot force people to not use drugs. We have had very strict laws and have put millions of people in jail over the years and the drug use has not changed much. In fact like prohibition drug laws have generated a whole industry of drug suppliers, who are by definition then criminals. It has also generated criminal activity in our neighbor nations with a resultant increase in crimes. So I am saying that at times I might agree with the libertarians and hippies that we need to legalized at least some of the drug use like Marijuana.

  • MarkB

    As much as I dislike what drug use does to people I am thinking that we cannot force people to not use drugs. We have had very strict laws and have put millions of people in jail over the years and the drug use has not changed much. In fact like prohibition drug laws have generated a whole industry of drug suppliers, who are by definition then criminals. It has also generated criminal activity in our neighbor nations with a resultant increase in crimes. So I am saying that at times I might agree with the libertarians and hippies that we need to legalized at least some of the drug use like Marijuana.

  • Random Lutheran

    The Feds won’t back down on this because major donors to both sides need the drug war to continue so they can keep making money. Is drug use stupid? Absolutely. Is the drug war stupid? Absolutely. But it will continue so long as the People Who Matter (law enforcement, for-profit prisons, pharmaceutical companies, tobacco & alcohol manufacturers, etc.) keep having the money roll in from eliminating competition or going after users.

  • Random Lutheran

    The Feds won’t back down on this because major donors to both sides need the drug war to continue so they can keep making money. Is drug use stupid? Absolutely. Is the drug war stupid? Absolutely. But it will continue so long as the People Who Matter (law enforcement, for-profit prisons, pharmaceutical companies, tobacco & alcohol manufacturers, etc.) keep having the money roll in from eliminating competition or going after users.

  • Random Lutheran

    Also — the drug laws have given both national and local law enforcement agencies powers they only dreamed of 40 years ago, powers the populace at the time would have fought tooth and nail. Prying these powers out of their hands will be nigh on impossible.

  • Random Lutheran

    Also — the drug laws have given both national and local law enforcement agencies powers they only dreamed of 40 years ago, powers the populace at the time would have fought tooth and nail. Prying these powers out of their hands will be nigh on impossible.

  • JonathanH

    Someone showed this to me after the election: http://forum.sbrforum.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=50038

  • JonathanH

    Someone showed this to me after the election: http://forum.sbrforum.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=50038

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Wow man…I think the whole thing is a matter of…

    …what were we talking about…?

    This is good stuff…man…

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Wow man…I think the whole thing is a matter of…

    …what were we talking about…?

    This is good stuff…man…

  • Steve Bauer

    So, if the broad application of Federalism was done away with, would there be enough states in the union to accomodate all the categories of individual preference there are?

    “This state is for pot-smoking, pro-life, anti-gambling, anti-slavery, etc, etc…” to live in, while that state is for non-smoking, pro-choice, pro-slavery, tee-totalling, etc, etc…”

  • Steve Bauer

    So, if the broad application of Federalism was done away with, would there be enough states in the union to accomodate all the categories of individual preference there are?

    “This state is for pot-smoking, pro-life, anti-gambling, anti-slavery, etc, etc…” to live in, while that state is for non-smoking, pro-choice, pro-slavery, tee-totalling, etc, etc…”

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Oregon voted it down? That’s rather surprising…

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Oregon voted it down? That’s rather surprising…

  • Cincinnatus

    Steve Bauer,

    An extreme reductio ad absurdum. I fail to see the problem with individual states crafting their own diverse policies across a broad spectrum of policy questions and regional preferences. In fact, that was the point of federalism in the first place: to avoid a centralized government that imposes its own “lifestyle choices,” as it were, on every single state.

    You seem to have misunderstood the issues at stake rather laughably if you think the aim is to have enough states to accommodate all individual preferences. We’re talking about state preferences here, and they should be able to realize them if possible.

  • Cincinnatus

    Steve Bauer,

    An extreme reductio ad absurdum. I fail to see the problem with individual states crafting their own diverse policies across a broad spectrum of policy questions and regional preferences. In fact, that was the point of federalism in the first place: to avoid a centralized government that imposes its own “lifestyle choices,” as it were, on every single state.

    You seem to have misunderstood the issues at stake rather laughably if you think the aim is to have enough states to accommodate all individual preferences. We’re talking about state preferences here, and they should be able to realize them if possible.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com John

    But the same argument that says “keep the fed out of drugs” could be used about slavery. The civil war was in many ways a referendum on federal power to enact nation-wide justice. If drug use is evil, then it should be curtailed at the federal level. (That being said, I hardly think marijuana use could be classified as evil).

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com John

    But the same argument that says “keep the fed out of drugs” could be used about slavery. The civil war was in many ways a referendum on federal power to enact nation-wide justice. If drug use is evil, then it should be curtailed at the federal level. (That being said, I hardly think marijuana use could be classified as evil).

  • Cincinnatus

    John@10:

    And another reductio ad absurdum (or, really, slippery slope fallacy).

    Yeah, and if we said “keep the fed out of drugs” we could also say “keep the feds out of murder and rape.”

    But we don’t and wouldn’t. These are prudential questions. The 9th and 10th Amendments provide very clear (but prudential) guidelines about what constitute the appropriate domains of federal and state power, respectively.

  • Cincinnatus

    John@10:

    And another reductio ad absurdum (or, really, slippery slope fallacy).

    Yeah, and if we said “keep the fed out of drugs” we could also say “keep the feds out of murder and rape.”

    But we don’t and wouldn’t. These are prudential questions. The 9th and 10th Amendments provide very clear (but prudential) guidelines about what constitute the appropriate domains of federal and state power, respectively.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Actually, murder and rape aren’t federal issues in general .

    Slavery is, though.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Actually, murder and rape aren’t federal issues in general .

    Slavery is, though.

  • SKPeterson

    John @ 10 – The Civil War was about “a referendum on federal power to enact nation-wide justice”? Really? When did that actually happen? What sort of justice are we talking about? Seems like “justice” = “force”.

  • SKPeterson

    John @ 10 – The Civil War was about “a referendum on federal power to enact nation-wide justice”? Really? When did that actually happen? What sort of justice are we talking about? Seems like “justice” = “force”.

  • SKPeterson

    Mike @ 12 – Why is slavery a federal issue? I’m not arguing about its status as a moral evil, but what about slavery makes it a federal concern and not one for the states? For another, why was the Fugitive Slave Act deemed to be a national law? Why was it considered a legitimate exercise of federal power?

  • SKPeterson

    Mike @ 12 – Why is slavery a federal issue? I’m not arguing about its status as a moral evil, but what about slavery makes it a federal concern and not one for the states? For another, why was the Fugitive Slave Act deemed to be a national law? Why was it considered a legitimate exercise of federal power?

  • DonS

    I agree with SKP @ 1. However, this portion of Dr. Veith’s post made me laugh: “while liberals, who might normally favor legalized drugs, are in the unusual position of opposing federal regulation.”

    Consistency is not a trait that liberals worry much about.

  • DonS

    I agree with SKP @ 1. However, this portion of Dr. Veith’s post made me laugh: “while liberals, who might normally favor legalized drugs, are in the unusual position of opposing federal regulation.”

    Consistency is not a trait that liberals worry much about.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    The simple answer is that the 13th amendment makes slavery a federal issue.

    Prior to that, I guess it wasn’t.

    And, I wouldn’t agree that the Fugitive Slave Act was a legitimate exercise of federal power.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    The simple answer is that the 13th amendment makes slavery a federal issue.

    Prior to that, I guess it wasn’t.

    And, I wouldn’t agree that the Fugitive Slave Act was a legitimate exercise of federal power.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    For what it’s worth, the reason Oregon voted our marijuana measure down was probably because it was more liberal than what passed in Washington (and, I assume, Colorado).

    Oregon’s measure tried to go the whole nine yards. I thought the changes were fair, but they were designed to be reasonable, not to appeal to voters, most of whom are still scared of legalized drugs in general. Washington’s law, on the other hand, is very strict — so much so that it probably had more organized opposition from marijuana proponents than anti-drug types.

    As just a summary of the measures’ differences, Oregon’s had no limits on personal possession, Washington and Colorado limit it to one ounce. Oregon had no limits on home growing. Washington bans it, and Colorado limits it to six plants. Oregon merely kept its DUI laws, as has Colorado. Washington imposed a strict new limit on THC levels.

    Whatever, the fact that Washington’s measure passed will clearly impact the legalization movement in Oregon, given that at least half of Oregon’s citizens live within a short drive of the Washington border. How long will Oregon’s legislature allow all those tax dollars to drive across the border like that?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    For what it’s worth, the reason Oregon voted our marijuana measure down was probably because it was more liberal than what passed in Washington (and, I assume, Colorado).

    Oregon’s measure tried to go the whole nine yards. I thought the changes were fair, but they were designed to be reasonable, not to appeal to voters, most of whom are still scared of legalized drugs in general. Washington’s law, on the other hand, is very strict — so much so that it probably had more organized opposition from marijuana proponents than anti-drug types.

    As just a summary of the measures’ differences, Oregon’s had no limits on personal possession, Washington and Colorado limit it to one ounce. Oregon had no limits on home growing. Washington bans it, and Colorado limits it to six plants. Oregon merely kept its DUI laws, as has Colorado. Washington imposed a strict new limit on THC levels.

    Whatever, the fact that Washington’s measure passed will clearly impact the legalization movement in Oregon, given that at least half of Oregon’s citizens live within a short drive of the Washington border. How long will Oregon’s legislature allow all those tax dollars to drive across the border like that?

  • SKPeterson

    So, in Washington, personal marijuana growing is banned, which means only commercial growers need apply. Which then makes them perfect targets for federal law enforcement. What was the point, again?

  • SKPeterson

    So, in Washington, personal marijuana growing is banned, which means only commercial growers need apply. Which then makes them perfect targets for federal law enforcement. What was the point, again?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Anyhow, I also see this as an interesting political development that just might foreshadow a shift in alignments. Maybe.

    Certainly, it’s an opportunity for true conservatives to sell their long-held notion of federalism and a small federal government to crowds that might not have been willing to listen before. The same holds for the issue of same-sex marriage, as well, where federal law is somewhat at odds with the states’ increasing experimentation.

    The problem is that almost no national Republicans actually hold to federalism or a small federal government. So I don’t really hold much hope that they’ll actually seize on this movement. But if they do, it’ll probably be the death knell for social conservatives within that movement, because they will, of course, oppose legalized marijuana and same-sex marriage forever, never having had an issue with big government, as long as big government thinks like they do.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Anyhow, I also see this as an interesting political development that just might foreshadow a shift in alignments. Maybe.

    Certainly, it’s an opportunity for true conservatives to sell their long-held notion of federalism and a small federal government to crowds that might not have been willing to listen before. The same holds for the issue of same-sex marriage, as well, where federal law is somewhat at odds with the states’ increasing experimentation.

    The problem is that almost no national Republicans actually hold to federalism or a small federal government. So I don’t really hold much hope that they’ll actually seize on this movement. But if they do, it’ll probably be the death knell for social conservatives within that movement, because they will, of course, oppose legalized marijuana and same-sex marriage forever, never having had an issue with big government, as long as big government thinks like they do.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 19: Unfortunately, that’s true. There are a lot of socially conservative Republicans who do not understand that you cannot be a federalist if you are unwilling to be consistent about it. Just as there are a lot of socially liberal Democrats who only want to apply federalism principles to these types of issues.

    I pray for consistency on both sides. The U.S. would be a much better place to live.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 19: Unfortunately, that’s true. There are a lot of socially conservative Republicans who do not understand that you cannot be a federalist if you are unwilling to be consistent about it. Just as there are a lot of socially liberal Democrats who only want to apply federalism principles to these types of issues.

    I pray for consistency on both sides. The U.S. would be a much better place to live.

  • Joe

    I echo tODD’s comments. This is the perfect time for the GOP to live up to its claims of being the small gov’t party. As long as the Church is allowed to be the Church, I really don’t care what individual state’s do with their marriage laws.

    Federalism is the most genius idea the founders came up with. In fact, despite the fact that people always want to blame state’s rights or federalism for slavery; it was a big factor in slavery’s eventual demise. If slavery were to be set by a national policy in the pre-Civil War era, the national policy would have been pro-slavery. The population and the wealth were both much higher in the pro-slavery areas of the country. But, thanks to federalism, those pro-slavery areas could not prevent the northern states from abolishing slavery within their boarders. This prevented slaveholders from moving north and combining slavery with industrialization. Had that happened slavery may have lasted even longer. And, it the northern opposition to it would have been blunted by a monied northern interest in favor of slavery.

    Federalism is also largely responsible for universal suffrage for women. Before it was legal for women to vote in federal elections, states (mostly in the west) started allowing women to vote. In fact, women had full suffrage in 15 states before the 19th amendment was passed.

    The states should continue to be allowed to be free to attempt new ideas and ways of governance. It generally leads to good things.

  • Joe

    I echo tODD’s comments. This is the perfect time for the GOP to live up to its claims of being the small gov’t party. As long as the Church is allowed to be the Church, I really don’t care what individual state’s do with their marriage laws.

    Federalism is the most genius idea the founders came up with. In fact, despite the fact that people always want to blame state’s rights or federalism for slavery; it was a big factor in slavery’s eventual demise. If slavery were to be set by a national policy in the pre-Civil War era, the national policy would have been pro-slavery. The population and the wealth were both much higher in the pro-slavery areas of the country. But, thanks to federalism, those pro-slavery areas could not prevent the northern states from abolishing slavery within their boarders. This prevented slaveholders from moving north and combining slavery with industrialization. Had that happened slavery may have lasted even longer. And, it the northern opposition to it would have been blunted by a monied northern interest in favor of slavery.

    Federalism is also largely responsible for universal suffrage for women. Before it was legal for women to vote in federal elections, states (mostly in the west) started allowing women to vote. In fact, women had full suffrage in 15 states before the 19th amendment was passed.

    The states should continue to be allowed to be free to attempt new ideas and ways of governance. It generally leads to good things.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    We have had very strict laws and have put millions of people in jail over the years and the drug use has not changed much. In fact like prohibition drug laws have generated a whole industry of drug suppliers, who are by definition then criminals.

    Yeah, that is how criminals are. Anyway, some observers have noted how useful USA drug laws are at convicting on drug crimes people who are criminal inclined and then keeping them in jail during their most crime prone years and preventing them from having the opportunity to commit many more and worse crimes. Given this view, it will be interesting to see how crime goes in those states. Using such a model then, a spike in the murder rate would not be because drug use causes crime but rather the fact that the person didn’t commit and offense that was easy to get a conviction and sentence, he is therefore not in prison and had the opportunity to commit a murder. I don’t know how accurate that is but it is an interesting model. So we’ll see.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    We have had very strict laws and have put millions of people in jail over the years and the drug use has not changed much. In fact like prohibition drug laws have generated a whole industry of drug suppliers, who are by definition then criminals.

    Yeah, that is how criminals are. Anyway, some observers have noted how useful USA drug laws are at convicting on drug crimes people who are criminal inclined and then keeping them in jail during their most crime prone years and preventing them from having the opportunity to commit many more and worse crimes. Given this view, it will be interesting to see how crime goes in those states. Using such a model then, a spike in the murder rate would not be because drug use causes crime but rather the fact that the person didn’t commit and offense that was easy to get a conviction and sentence, he is therefore not in prison and had the opportunity to commit a murder. I don’t know how accurate that is but it is an interesting model. So we’ll see.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    The states should continue to be allowed to be free to attempt new ideas and ways of governance. It generally leads to good things.

    Female suffrage not being among them.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    The states should continue to be allowed to be free to attempt new ideas and ways of governance. It generally leads to good things.

    Female suffrage not being among them.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    This prevented slaveholders from moving north and combining slavery with industrialization. Had that happened slavery may have lasted even longer. And, it the northern opposition to it would have been blunted by a monied northern interest in favor of slavery.”

    Plus, those in the north who wanted slaves had to move south.

    Anson Jones called Barrington home from 1845 until his death in 1858. Jones arrived in Texas in 1833, settling first in Brazoria where he practiced medicine and became involved in politics. He actively served the Republic of Texas as a congressman, Minister to the United States, Senator, and Secretary of State. In 1844, at the height of his political career, Dr. Jones became president of the Republic. “Barrington” is named after his birthplace, Great Barrington Massachusetts. The Farm’s occupants included Jones, his wife Mary, their four children, his sister, Mary’s half-siblings, and six slaves.

    http://www.birthplaceoftexas.com/Barrington.htm

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    This prevented slaveholders from moving north and combining slavery with industrialization. Had that happened slavery may have lasted even longer. And, it the northern opposition to it would have been blunted by a monied northern interest in favor of slavery.”

    Plus, those in the north who wanted slaves had to move south.

    Anson Jones called Barrington home from 1845 until his death in 1858. Jones arrived in Texas in 1833, settling first in Brazoria where he practiced medicine and became involved in politics. He actively served the Republic of Texas as a congressman, Minister to the United States, Senator, and Secretary of State. In 1844, at the height of his political career, Dr. Jones became president of the Republic. “Barrington” is named after his birthplace, Great Barrington Massachusetts. The Farm’s occupants included Jones, his wife Mary, their four children, his sister, Mary’s half-siblings, and six slaves.

    http://www.birthplaceoftexas.com/Barrington.htm

  • Joe

    sg — said: “Anyway, some observers have noted how useful USA drug laws are at convicting on drug crimes people who are criminal inclined and then keeping them in jail during their most crime prone years and preventing them from having the opportunity to commit many more and worse crimes.”

    This is really poor logic. If the person is in prison during his most crime prone years do to drug laws, how can we know that they are criminally inclined. If your trying to convince people that a person who wants to smoke pot is naturally inclined to commit other (as in not victim-less) crimes your going to have to come up with something better than “some observers.”

  • Joe

    sg — said: “Anyway, some observers have noted how useful USA drug laws are at convicting on drug crimes people who are criminal inclined and then keeping them in jail during their most crime prone years and preventing them from having the opportunity to commit many more and worse crimes.”

    This is really poor logic. If the person is in prison during his most crime prone years do to drug laws, how can we know that they are criminally inclined. If your trying to convince people that a person who wants to smoke pot is naturally inclined to commit other (as in not victim-less) crimes your going to have to come up with something better than “some observers.”

  • Joe

    Sorry for the typos. In haste, I posted before I edited.

  • Joe

    Sorry for the typos. In haste, I posted before I edited.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    This is really poor logic. If the person is in prison during his most crime prone years do to drug laws, how can we know that they are criminally inclined.

    Because they were convicted of a crime. People who are criminally inclined commit crimes. That is what criminally inclined means. Anyway it wasn’t my idea. I am just repeating it. It looks like it is about to be tested in the real world. Legalizing drugs means there won’t be an easy way to convict criminals before they do something worse. You can’t lock up people for nothing, and some crimes are harder to prove than others. That is the beauty of having drugs illegal. It is easy to prove possession. Law abiding people aren’t going to have 5 ounces of mary jane. That leaves those who are willing to break laws.

    Also, it does not matter who notices this pattern. Either it is true or it isn’t. We will see what kind of evidence we get from this social experiment and then we will have more to work with in understanding how using drug convictions to incarcerate people leads to higher or lower crime.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    This is really poor logic. If the person is in prison during his most crime prone years do to drug laws, how can we know that they are criminally inclined.

    Because they were convicted of a crime. People who are criminally inclined commit crimes. That is what criminally inclined means. Anyway it wasn’t my idea. I am just repeating it. It looks like it is about to be tested in the real world. Legalizing drugs means there won’t be an easy way to convict criminals before they do something worse. You can’t lock up people for nothing, and some crimes are harder to prove than others. That is the beauty of having drugs illegal. It is easy to prove possession. Law abiding people aren’t going to have 5 ounces of mary jane. That leaves those who are willing to break laws.

    Also, it does not matter who notices this pattern. Either it is true or it isn’t. We will see what kind of evidence we get from this social experiment and then we will have more to work with in understanding how using drug convictions to incarcerate people leads to higher or lower crime.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    If your trying to convince people that a person who wants to smoke pot is naturally inclined to commit other (as in not victim-less) crimes your going to have to come up with something better than “some observers.”

    I am not trying to convince anyone. I offer it as an interesting and soon to be tested hypothesis. I don’t know, and can’t know if it is accurate. It is just a hypothesis and I am a curious person. Maybe other people like to contemplate alternative explanations from the current popular thought. It is actually okay to challenge assumptions sometimes, because sometimes our assumptions are wrong. I have learned a lot by being open minded and not committed to embracing popular thought.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    If your trying to convince people that a person who wants to smoke pot is naturally inclined to commit other (as in not victim-less) crimes your going to have to come up with something better than “some observers.”

    I am not trying to convince anyone. I offer it as an interesting and soon to be tested hypothesis. I don’t know, and can’t know if it is accurate. It is just a hypothesis and I am a curious person. Maybe other people like to contemplate alternative explanations from the current popular thought. It is actually okay to challenge assumptions sometimes, because sometimes our assumptions are wrong. I have learned a lot by being open minded and not committed to embracing popular thought.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    SG (@27), I have a solution to the dilemma you propose. Let’s simply change the penalties for speeding. Instead of a fine, now let’s lock people up for several years if they go too fast.

    It’s a great solution, because law-abiding citizens won’t get caught. Only those who are criminally inclined commit crimes, as you know, so only criminals will speed. If they weren’t criminals, why were they speeding?

    And it’s pretty easy to prove that someone was speeding. All the officer has to do is testify that his radar clocked you doing 10 over, and it’s 10 years in jail for you.

    And society is that much safer now!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    SG (@27), I have a solution to the dilemma you propose. Let’s simply change the penalties for speeding. Instead of a fine, now let’s lock people up for several years if they go too fast.

    It’s a great solution, because law-abiding citizens won’t get caught. Only those who are criminally inclined commit crimes, as you know, so only criminals will speed. If they weren’t criminals, why were they speeding?

    And it’s pretty easy to prove that someone was speeding. All the officer has to do is testify that his radar clocked you doing 10 over, and it’s 10 years in jail for you.

    And society is that much safer now!

  • kerner

    SKP @ 14:

    Even without the 13th Amendment, one could argue that slavery could be a federal issue because it involves a fundamental right. Most people, at least most people on this blog, would agree that the “right to life” is a fundamental right. Well, the “right to liberty” is a recognized fundamental constitutional right also. When you start with the propasition that individuals are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, as the founding fathers did, then whether government at any level has the authority to interfere with those rights is a federal issue.

    In a sense, the 19th Century slave states were “pro-choice”. Nobody was forced to own slaves if they thought it was immoral. But nobody had the right to force slave owners to adopt the abolitionist morality. Slave owners had the “right to choose”. But it becomes a federal issue if you believe that all human beings (including pre-born babies and black people) have a fundamental right to life liberty, etc.

  • kerner

    SKP @ 14:

    Even without the 13th Amendment, one could argue that slavery could be a federal issue because it involves a fundamental right. Most people, at least most people on this blog, would agree that the “right to life” is a fundamental right. Well, the “right to liberty” is a recognized fundamental constitutional right also. When you start with the propasition that individuals are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, as the founding fathers did, then whether government at any level has the authority to interfere with those rights is a federal issue.

    In a sense, the 19th Century slave states were “pro-choice”. Nobody was forced to own slaves if they thought it was immoral. But nobody had the right to force slave owners to adopt the abolitionist morality. Slave owners had the “right to choose”. But it becomes a federal issue if you believe that all human beings (including pre-born babies and black people) have a fundamental right to life liberty, etc.

  • kerner

    If marijuana is ever really legalized, a lot of political roles will reverse post haste.First of all, home grown Marijuana will become about as common as home brewed beer. Which is to say that it will be confined to a small group of widely scattered hobbyists. 99.99999% of marijuana will be produced and sold by large corporations… “Big Marijuana”, if you will. I read somewhere that one of the tobacco companies has already gotten into a trademark lawsuit with Bob Marley’s widow over the use of “Marley” as a registered tradename for mass produced marijuana cigarettes.

    When the big corporations start to make a lot of money on a product, they will hire lobbyists to protect their profits and their executives will get huge bonuses and they will market their product widely and maybe even put additives into it to make people more dependant in it. Never the less, conservatives will end up supporting them for the same reasons they support the tobacco companies. The government should not be interfering with the sale and use of a “legal product.” Also, big companies make big campaign contributions.

    Meanwhile, liberals will discover what they always discover when big corporations make a lot of money. That their product is evil and dangerous and that they should be sued and heavily regulated and villified by politicians and celebrities. In a heartbeat research scientists will be writing grant proposals and doing studies to discover…wait for it…INHALING SMOKE IS BAD FOR YOU!!!!! Inhaling it regularly will make you sick and will even shorten your life! To the briefs, trial lawyers! Shakedown, I mean justice must be done! How dare these merchants of death deceive these poor customers with their evil marketing into believing that filling their lungs with smoke on a regular basis wouldn’t cause all kinds of health problems! Sue them! Get their money! And trial lawyers, be sure to donate a portion of your fees to the right politicians…

    I really hope I live to see this happen. It will be a laugh a minute.

  • kerner

    If marijuana is ever really legalized, a lot of political roles will reverse post haste.First of all, home grown Marijuana will become about as common as home brewed beer. Which is to say that it will be confined to a small group of widely scattered hobbyists. 99.99999% of marijuana will be produced and sold by large corporations… “Big Marijuana”, if you will. I read somewhere that one of the tobacco companies has already gotten into a trademark lawsuit with Bob Marley’s widow over the use of “Marley” as a registered tradename for mass produced marijuana cigarettes.

    When the big corporations start to make a lot of money on a product, they will hire lobbyists to protect their profits and their executives will get huge bonuses and they will market their product widely and maybe even put additives into it to make people more dependant in it. Never the less, conservatives will end up supporting them for the same reasons they support the tobacco companies. The government should not be interfering with the sale and use of a “legal product.” Also, big companies make big campaign contributions.

    Meanwhile, liberals will discover what they always discover when big corporations make a lot of money. That their product is evil and dangerous and that they should be sued and heavily regulated and villified by politicians and celebrities. In a heartbeat research scientists will be writing grant proposals and doing studies to discover…wait for it…INHALING SMOKE IS BAD FOR YOU!!!!! Inhaling it regularly will make you sick and will even shorten your life! To the briefs, trial lawyers! Shakedown, I mean justice must be done! How dare these merchants of death deceive these poor customers with their evil marketing into believing that filling their lungs with smoke on a regular basis wouldn’t cause all kinds of health problems! Sue them! Get their money! And trial lawyers, be sure to donate a portion of your fees to the right politicians…

    I really hope I live to see this happen. It will be a laugh a minute.

  • kerner

    Oh I almost forgot. The government will react to all this by raising taxes on everybody involved.

  • kerner

    Oh I almost forgot. The government will react to all this by raising taxes on everybody involved.

  • SKPeterson

    kerner @ 32 – I certainly hope so. People already have too much money they aren’t spending wisely. We need to take that money away from these greedy people and put it to use restoring the American Dream for everyone.

  • SKPeterson

    kerner @ 32 – I certainly hope so. People already have too much money they aren’t spending wisely. We need to take that money away from these greedy people and put it to use restoring the American Dream for everyone.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @29

    Let’s simply change the penalties for speeding. Instead of a fine, now let’s lock people up for several years if they go too fast.

    I don’t think the people or their representatives are going to vote for that.

    However, the people and their representatives have at different times voted to make mary jane legal or illegal. I don’t see any harm in evaluating any unintended consequences of our collective decisions. Do you?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @29

    Let’s simply change the penalties for speeding. Instead of a fine, now let’s lock people up for several years if they go too fast.

    I don’t think the people or their representatives are going to vote for that.

    However, the people and their representatives have at different times voted to make mary jane legal or illegal. I don’t see any harm in evaluating any unintended consequences of our collective decisions. Do you?


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