Relentless Pursuit of Wisdom and Liberty

The weblog companion of, dedicated to pondering, "If Patrick Henry could see us now..."

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

LttE - No legal sense

Submitted to the OC Register on 7/6/2005:

Letter-writer James T. Hamilton is a professor of medicine and as such makes some very intelligent arguments about the effects of marijuana. He falls short though, in claiming that the legal justifications of the Raich decision were right on the money.

It’s interesting to see how far we’ve drifted from where we were in 1919, when it was obvious to anyone and everyone that the federal government had no Constitutional power to ban possession of anything. The only way it could was the 18th Amendment, which took 13 long months to ratify, and required the acquiescence of the legislatures of 3/4ths of the states to go into effect. Contrast that with 1970, when the Controlled Substances Act was passed – it was passed by Congress and signed by the President, but the state legislatures had nothing to say about it.

What changed in the intervening decades that gave the federal government the power to do unilaterally in 1970 what it admitted it couldn’t do without the approval of the states in 1919? That’s the question that must be answered by those who defend the Raich decision.


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