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Now is time to proclaim our 10th Amendment right



Douglass Gaking
IndyTruth
February 5, 2009

In reference to federal raids on medical marijuana shops in California, White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said today, “The president believes that federal resources should not be used to circumvent state laws, and as he continues to appoint senior leadership to fill out the ranks of the federal government, he expects them to review their policies with that in mind.”

If this truly is the new President’s policy, it may be the key for Americans to restore their liberty during the Obama presidency. Our best strategy for restoring liberty may be to start with the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified December 15, 1791 as the finishing touch on the Bill of Rights: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Eight state legislatures are currently considering resolutions which assert a state’s authority under the Tenth Amendment to handle issues not delegated to the U.S. government by the Constitution. These are Arizona, Hawaii, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and Washington. Former gubernatorial candidate Andy Horning has proposed a resolution for Indiana, but it does not yet have a sponsor in the state assembly.

States will most likely have a reason to pass a resolution like this and to challenge the federal government if there is a specific issue it wishes to handle itself. In Oklahoma, the effort is motivated by a desire to pass strict immigration laws. States such as California and Michigan could do it to protect their allowance of medical marijuana.

States will most likely have a reason to pass a resolution like this and to challenge the federal government if there is a specific issue it wishes to handle itself. In Oklahoma, the effort is motivated by a desire to pass strict immigration laws. States such as California and Michigan could do it to protect their medical marijuana laws.

On the issue of marijuana regulation, the Supreme Court ruled in the 2004 case of Gonzales v. Raich that it fit within Congress’ role of regulating interstate commerce. The six Justices who voted on the side of the federal government neglected the fact that growing a few plants in your home for personal use doesn’t involve any interstate commercial activity.

The Justices who voted against the federal government made some very important statements of dissent.

Justice Clarence Thomas: “Our federalist system, properly understood, allows California and a growing number of other States to decide for themselves how to safeguard the health and welfare of their citizens.”

More from Justice Thomas:

If the Federal Government can regulate growing a half-dozen cannabis plants for personal consumption (not because it is interstate commerce, but because it is inextricably bound up with interstate commerce), then Congress’ Article I powers — as expanded by the Necessary and Proper Clause — have no meaningful limits. Whether Congress aims at the possession of drugs, guns, or any number of other items, it may continue to “appropria[te] state police powers under the guise of regulating commerce…

If the majority is to be taken seriously, the Federal Government may now regulate quilting bees, clothes drives, and potluck suppers throughout the 50 States. This makes a mockery of Madison’s assurance to the people of New York that the “powers delegated” to the Federal Government are “few and defined”, while those of the States are “numerous and indefinite.

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor: “Federalism promotes innovation by allowing for the possibility that “a single courageous State may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country”

There is still a case to be made that the federal government has no business raiding medical marijuana users in states that allow it. And it appears that President Obama wants to respect the states’ decision on that issue. There are many other federal regulations against which we could make this same argument, and we should pressure our state governments to exercise their constitutional authority to handle those issues or allow their citizens to handle them independently. If there is ever a time in our lifetimes to proclaim our Tenth Amendment right, that time is now!

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