Free Markets, Free People

Speaking Of Federalism And Freedom

This is “change” (with the appropriate hat tip to the Obama administration) I can support:

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is sending strong signals that President Obama – who as a candidate said states should be allowed to make their own rules on medical marijuana – will end raids on pot dispensaries in California.

Radley Balko says:

It’ll be interesting to see if this tiny bit of federalism will hold should some states or cities decriminalize or even legalize marijuana entirely.

That’s the true test. While what Holder is saying is encouraging, the proof will be how the feds react to the types of moves Balko notes above. If the states are going to truly be left to make their own rules, that will be the test.

After the federal Drug Enforcement Agency raided a marijuana dispensary at South Lake Tahoe on Jan. 22, two days after Obama’s inauguration, and four others in the Los Angeles area on Feb. 2, White House spokesman Nick Schapiro responded to advocacy groups’ protests by noting that Obama had not yet appointed his drug policy team.

The president believes that federal resources should not be used to circumvent state laws” and expects his appointees to follow that policy, Schapiro said.

We’ll see if this precedent (and policy) is confined to things like MJ laws or will be extended to such things as school vouchers and the like.


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14 Responses to Speaking Of Federalism And Freedom

  • McQWe’ll see if this precedent (and policy) is confined to things like MJ laws or will be extended to such things as school vouchers and the like.

    Or taking stimulus money, for that matter.

    I’m not holding my breath.

  • Yeah, credit where credit is due – stopping such raids is itself a good thing.  But I’m also not holding my breath for these guys to start acting on principle.

  • If the federal government is going to cede to several states the power to  nullify some drugs laws, then it has no business enforcing any drug laws.   Abolish the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Food and Drug Administration.

  • I encourage you to read the first trackback to this story from ScaredMonkeys, where a pretend conservative tries to argue that the government promising not to kick in doors over medical marijuana use falls somewhere on the scale of the government interfering in what you do in the privacy of your own home, rather than the complete opposite.

    It’s extraordinary.

  • While I approve this action on its face, I’ll wait to applaud until it’s actually in practice.  In a little over a month, Obama has put Clinton’s moniker “Slick Willie” to shame.  The guy routinely talks out of both sides of his mouth…I won’t believe a thing until I actually see it.

    Example: After proposing a whopping $3.6 trillion budget, he claims that he’s gearing up for a fight against special interest groups and lobbyists.  The industry of lobbyists is directly related to how much money is spent by the government.  Special interest groups exert their influence through government spending.  By proposing massive increases in federal spending, he is hardly fighting them, he’s giving them a big payday!

  • KILO  I have long been amazed at the mental gymnastics that drug warriors go through to justify their pogrom of fear and abuse.

    Remember that although the worst threats to freedom always come from the political left, the right also has their own peculiar habits of not trusting adults with their own liberty.

  • I won’t believe a thing until I actually see it. Example: After proposing a whopping $3.6 trillion budget, he claims that he’s gearing up for a fight against special interest groups and lobbyists.  The industry of lobbyists is directly related to how much money is spent by the government.

    What he means by that is he will fight against those special interests that were most often aligned with Republicans.  It is no more than that. Every thing this guy does or will do is predicated on four principles. (1) will it payoff a Democrat constituency, (2) will it hurt Republicans (3) Will it further the cause of socialism (4) Will it lessen the wealth and power of the hated groups (military, non unionized industry, the middle class, Christians, conservatives, white males).  In that order.

    We have never before seen a more totally politicized administration, not even Carter’s.

  • CNBC did a special on the “medical” MJ industry in California.  One store owner stated that he paid 300,000 in state taxes on his sales and another 500,000 to 600,000 in federal taxes.  you only need a few hundred of these operations to generate some serious revenue streams so i wouldn’t be the least bit suprised if states are lining up to legalize in the near future with a complicit federal gov’t and obama’s hands would be literally clean in the name of federalism.

  • “Federalism” is one of those civic fads, laid in by Ronald Reagan, among others, over the bad reputation of “states rights,” to which various corners of the conservative right, the libertarian wing in particular, have pinned some of their hopes. I’m going to remind you that states have far fewer Constitutional constraints on their power (powers not restricted to those enumerated) than the federal government, already make most of the law in this country, started out with their own bad habits and picked up more from the feds, and wield their power with far greater ease than the feds do.

    And this debate over narcotics is a one-way street to a dead end. The effort to plant the flag of liberty in drugs is ludicrous and “legalizing” any aspect of them in this country will result in what? Why, it will result in the state becoming the drug dealer, further lowering the reputation of both the state and drugs, and will still not end the blackmarket, because drugs will never be legalized for minors, who are the prime market now.

    The centerpiece of the anti-liberty infrastructure in this country is not drug proscription, which is at the far periphery of that infrastructure. The centerpiece is the local-state-federal matrix of compulsory education and public schools. That matrix is what makes drugs so appealing to the young in the first place. Who wouldn’t want to get high after the initial 13 years of incarceration in that hell? Add in four years of life at the American university — for most but not all, of course — and you have the perfected conveyor belt where just beyond the end of the first two decades of life as an American the vacuum sealed morons drop off into their cartons, ready for shipping into an adult life of mediocrity.

    • Martin,

      It’s the feds who have seriously overstepped their constitutional barriers, not the states. And if you disagree with your state, you can always move to another. I’d rather have state level stupidity than federal level.

      • Don,

        Sorry to find your comments so long (a whole two days in blog time is almost to journey back to the Dark Ages) after the fact. My point isn’t that the feds have not overstepped, but that the states don’t even have the kinds of restraints that the feds are overstepping.  Federal powers are enumerated, i.e., they are supposed to do this much and no more inclusive of such things as implied power. With the help of the courts and the commerce clause, the feds have gone way over the line. But the only lines that the states themselves in fact have is that they are forbidden to exercise those powers that the Constitution says belong exclusively to the federal government. The states can therefore do far more to bind up liberty. And those trends are in motion, fully mobilized here in the formerly great state of New York, for instance.

        Now, the school systems are state creatures, “run locally,” and impinged by federal money. The compulsory element forces kids into them and forces taxpayers to foot the bill. It’s a vicious circle controlled virtually everywhere by teachers unions. If they haven’t got control of budgets everywhere, they do hold sway over the curriculums, and those are crucial to what is happening.

        You were lucky to be able to opt out of public schools, just as I was lucky enough to wind up in a tiny rural upstate high school where the methods were less authentically totalitarian in that oh, so modern way. But it is in the school system where the modern voter is manufactured, and that is just one element of the threat they pose to American liberty.

    • I must add that I find your take on public education interesting. However, we can opt out via homeschooling or private school.

      Back in ’76 I was 13 years old, and my dad took me out of school to visit a shirt tail relative who had a “mission” in Columbia (South America). At that point, the school thought I needed special reading instruction, since I was an F student. My dad took me out despite what the school wanted, and when we got back from the trip I never went back to school until I decided to go to community college when I was 19. I never home schooled, either, but I did get a BS in physics from UCSD and a MS in EE from SDSU.