Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Congress almighty?

The Supreme Court is currently deliberating on whether Congress has the Constitutional power to absolutely prohibit marijuana. If the court decides in favor of the Federal government in this case (Ashcroft v. Raich), then the Constitutional principle of enumerated powers will be as good as dead; Congress will have the power to regulate any human activity unless otherwise stated in the Constitution. The "interstate commerce" clause will be interpreted so broadly that Congress can overrule state law even if all activities take place in that one state (not interstate) and all goods and services are provided without charge (not commerce). This would be the end of one of the major limits on the concentration of power in the Federal government

A more detailed discussion of this case can be found in this article from FindLaw.

What we can do:

Directly: Not much, as this is in the hands of the courts.

Long term: Help re-establish an appropriate balance of power between the state and federal governments by:
  1. Studying the US Constitution and it's history, and deciding for yourself what is an appropriate separation of powers
  2. Encouraging state and federal officials to implement that balance of power. In this case, allow states to regulate the use of marijuana within their borders by supporting Congressional acts such as the "Truth in Trials Act" and the "State's Right to Medical Marijuana Act".
Related topics:

US Constitution, Medical marijuana, Representative government

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