With help from 80 years of self-described “progressives,” Obama is now waging the biggest war against medical marijuana of any president in history

Anyone who has been following the self-described “progressive” politicians since FDR should not be surprised at Obama’s war against medical marijuana.

Obama’s war against medical marijuana is a direct result of the policies of the self-described “progressives” in the White House, Congress, and the U.S. Supreme Court, going all the way back to FDR’s New Deal.

During the Great Depression, while millions of Americans were hungry, the self-described “progressives” who controlled the federal government passed laws that were deliberately designed to increase the price of food. For example, they passed a law that limited how much wheat farmers could grow, with the deliberate intent of raising its price. The people who supported this policy referred to themselves as “progressives,” and they had control of the House, the Senate, the Presidency, and the Supreme Court.

A farmer named Roscoe Filburn had grown more wheat than he was legally allowed to grow. However, he never sold the wheat, and it never crossed state lines.

However, even though he never sold the wheat, and even though it never crossed state lines, the “progressive” majority on the Supreme Court still claimed that his growing of this extra wheat constituted “interstate commerce.”

Of course this ruling is absurd. He did not sell the wheat. The wheat never crossed state lines. Nevertheless, it was ruled as being “interstate commerce.”

This 1942 ruling, called Wickard v. Filburn, massively expanded the power of the federal government. What it meant was that pretty much anything could be considered “interstate commerce,” and that there were no longer any real limits on federal power. “Progressives” cheered this ruling – conservatives and libertarians were very critical of it.

Flash forward. In 1996, California legalized medical marijuana. This was completely in line with the 10th amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states:

“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.”

Because of the 10th amendment, when the federal government had wanted to outlaw alcohol in the early 20th century, it had to pass the 18th amendment, which gave the federal government the power to outlaw alcohol. Without the 18th amendment, the 10th amendment would have prevented the federal government from outlawing alcohol. The 18th amendment was ratified in 1919, and was later repealed by the 21st amendment in 1933. During the time that alcohol was illegal, it was controlled by organized crime, and was associated with murder, bribing of public officials, and contaminated “bathtub gin” that caused its drinkers to go blind, and sometimes even killed them. In many ways, it was extremely similar to today’s “war on drugs.”

As I said above, in 1996, California legalized medical marijuana, and the 10th amendment supported its right to do so.

A few years later, in California, a woman named Angel Raich was using medical marijuana, which her doctor had deemed necessary in order to save her from suffering from excruciating and life-threatening pain. According to California law, Raich’s medical marijuana was completely legal.

In addition, the medical marijuana that Raich was using was home grown – it had never crossed state lines, and no money had changed hands. So, according to the  10th amendment, it should not have been subject to federal control.

However, even though Raich’s medical marijuana never crossed state lines, and was never sold for money, the United States Supreme court still ruled that Raich’s medical marijuana constituted “interstate commerce.” This ruling, which took place in 2005,  is called Gonzales v. Raich. The precedent cited for this ruling is the 1942 case Wickard v. Filburn. Other than the fact that one case was about wheat and the other was about medical marijuana, the two cases are identical.

Thus, the 2005 ruling against medical marijuana is based on policies which were enacted and supported by “progressives” during the New Deal.

And if we look at how the different Supreme Court justices sided in the 2005 ruling, this becomes even more clear. In the 2005 ruling, every “progressive” justice on the Supreme court – every one of them, without exception – voted against medical marijuana. They did this – not because they have anything against medical marijuana per se – but instead, because they did not want to overturn Wickard v. Filburn.

So who were the dissenters in the 2005 medical marijuana ruling? The dissenters – those who supported states’ rights on the issue of medical marijuana – were justices O’Connor, Rehnquist, and Thomas.

Imagine that – all the “progressives” on the court ruled against medical marijuana, while three conservative justices voted in favor of it. Of course it wasn’t the medical marijuana per se that they were ruling on – instead, it was the states’ right to make their own decision on medical marijuana that they were truly ruling on.

In May 2008, Obama campaign spokesperson Ben LaBolt said that Obama would end DEA raids on medical marijuana in states where it’s legal. Also in 2008, Obama said that he supported the “basic concept of using medical marijuana for the same purposes and with the same controls as other drugs” and that he was “not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws.”

However, in February 2010, DEA agents raided a medical marijuana grower in Highlands Ranch in Colorado, a state where medical marijuana is legal. Also in February 2010, DEA agents raided a medical marijuana dispensary in Culver City in California, a state where medical marijuana is legal. In July 2010, the DEA raided at least four medical marijuana growers in San Diego, California. Also in July 2010, the DEA raided a medical marijuana facility in Covelo, California. Then in September 2010, the DEA conducted raids on at least five medical marijuana dispensaries in Las Vegas, Nevada, where medical marijuana is legal. In 2011, the DEA conducted raids on medical marijuana in Seattle, Washington, West Hollywood, California, and Helena, Montana, all places where it is legal. In April 2012, the DEA carried out several raids on medical marijuana in Oakland, California.

In February 2012, Rolling Stone magazine wrote that Obama’s war against medical marijuana went

“far beyond anything undertaken by George W. Bush.”

In April 2012, Mother Jones magazine wrote:

“The president campaigned on the promise that he’d stop federal raids on medical marijuana operations that were in compliance with state laws, a vow that Attorney General Eric Holder repeated after the election. But then the Obama administration raided more than 100 dispensaries in its first three years and is now poised to outpace the Bush administration’s crackdown record.”

In May 2012, the Washington Post wrote:

“Obama has become more hostile to medical marijuana patients than any president in U.S. history.”

In April 2012, commenting on Obama’s crackdown on medical marijuana, U.S. Congressman Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) said:

“I’m very disappointed… They look more like the Bush administration than the Clinton administration.”

In May 2012, U.S. Congressperson Nancy Pelosi (D-California) said she had “strong concerns” about Obama’s forced closure of five medical marijuana facilities in Pelosi’s congressional district.

In July 2012, federal prosecutors filed civil forfeiture actions against Harborside Health Center, a medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland, CA, which claims to be the world’s largest, and which claims to serve more than 100,000 medical marijuana patients. In April 2012, federal agents raided Oaksterdam University, an educational institution in Oakland, CA, which teaches people about medical marijuana. In April 2012, federal agents raided a medical marijuana facility which had been serving 1,500 patients near Lake Elsinore, CA. In June 2012, the Obama administration filed asset-forfeiture lawsuits against two landlords who rented their buildings to medical marijuana stores in Santa Fe Springs, CA. The Obama administration also sent warning letters which threatened similar legal action to dozens of other, nearby landlords. During the first seven months of 2012, the DEA shut down 40 medical marijuana dispensaries in Colorado, all of which had been operating in compliance with state and local law.

In April 2013, the DEA raided four medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles, California. Also in April 2013, the DEA raided a medical marijuana dispensary in San Diego, California. In July 2013, the DEA conducted multiple medical marijuana raids in Washington state, including the cities of Olympia, Tacoma, and Seattle. In August 2013, the DEA raided People’s Choice Alternative Medicine, a medical marijuana facility in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In October 2013, the DEA raided 28 medical marijuana facilities in Michigan. In November 2013, the DEA raided 12 medical marijuana facilities in Denver, Colorado.

In April 2014, the DEA raided four medical marijuana dispensaries in Denver, Colorado. In June 2014, DEA agents visited the homes and offices of doctors in Massachusetts who had written prescriptions for medical marijuana, and threatened to confiscate their federal licenses to prescribe certain medications if they did not stop writing prescriptions for medical marijuana. In October 2014, the DEA raided two medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles, California.

In May 2012, ABC News reported that during Obama’s youth, he often smoked large quantities of recreational marijuana.  Obama’s marijuana smoking wasn’t even medical – it was recreational. And yet now, he is taking large scale, widespread action to prevent people with AIDS, cancer, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, and other illnesses, who have prescriptions from their doctors, from using their prescription medicine – how cold hearted can a person be?

 

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April 7, 2015. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Barack Obama, Health care, Police state, Politics, War on drugs.

3 Comments

  1. JohnGalt replied:

    It’s about the money. The only people who benefit from the War on Drugs are for-profit prisons and politicians receiving unregulated cash that comes from the sale of illegal drugs.

  2. hmichaelh replied:

    The contention that the regulation of Medical Marijuana is attributed to “Progressives” feels wrong in this article. I dislike Progressives as much, if not more, that the next Conservative, but something just doesn’t feel correct about how this article describes the situation. If you look at what wikipedia has to say about the decisions (1938 and 2005) it’s difficult to blame it entirely on Progressives.

    “The decision
    The ruling was 6-3 with Justice Scalia joining Justices Kennedy, Stevens, Ginsburg, Souter and Breyer for the majority. It was one of the few times in the Court’s history that Conservative justices sided with those for the legalization of illicit drugs.
    The opinion began by pointing out the Respondents did not dispute that Congress had the power to control or ban marijuana for non-medical uses:
    Respondents in this case do not dispute that passage of the CSA, as part of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, was well within Congress’ commerce power. Nor do they contend that any provision or section of the CSA amounts to an unconstitutional exercise of congressional authority. Rather, respondents’ challenge is actually quite limited; they argue that the CSA’s categorical prohibition of the manufacture and possession of marijuana as applied to the intrastate manufacture and possession of marijuana for medical purposes pursuant to California law exceeds Congress’ authority under the Commerce Clause.
    Banning the growing of marijuana for medical use, the Court reasoned, was a permissible way of preventing or limiting access to marijuana for other uses:
    Even respondents acknowledge the existence of an illicit market in marijuana; indeed, Raich has personally participated in that market, and Monson expresses a willingness to do so in the future. More concretely, one concern prompting inclusion of wheat grown for home consumption in the 1938 Act was that rising market prices could draw such wheat into the interstate market, resulting in lower market prices. Wickard, 317 U.S., at 128. The parallel concern making it appropriate to include marijuana grown for home consumption in the CSA is the likelihood that the high demand in the interstate market will draw such marijuana into that market. While the diversion of homegrown wheat tended to frustrate the federal interest in stabilizing prices by regulating the volume of commercial transactions in the interstate market, the diversion of homegrown marijuana tends to frustrate the federal interest in eliminating commercial transactions in the interstate market in their entirety. In both cases, the regulation is squarely within Congress’ commerce power because production of the commodity meant for home consumption, be it wheat or marijuana, has a substantial effect on supply and demand in the national market for that commodity.
    The relevant precedents for the Court’s analysis are Wickard v. Filburn (1942), United States v. Lopez (1995) and United States v. Morrison (2000).
    Scalia’s opinion[edit]
    Justice Scalia wrote a separate concurrence that had the effect of differentiating the decision from the previous results of United States v. Lopez and United States v. Morrison. Although Scalia voted in favor of limits on the Commerce Clause in the Lopez and Morrison decisions, he said that his understanding of the Necessary and Proper Clause caused him to vote for the Commerce Clause with Raich for the following reason:
    Unlike the power to regulate activities that have a substantial effect on interstate commerce, the power to enact laws enabling effective regulation of interstate commerce can only be exercised in conjunction with congressional regulation of an interstate market, and it extends only to those measures necessary to make the interstate regulation effective. As Lopez itself states, and the Court affirms today, Congress may regulate noneconomic intrastate activities only where the failure to do so “could … undercut” its regulation of interstate commerce. … This is not a power that threatens to obliterate the line between “what is truly national and what is truly local.”[9]

    The issue which troubles me is how the Supreme Court is dealing with the subject of “Inter- and Intra- State Commerce. I find Justice Thomas’ opinion is the one which the Court should base it’s opinions:

    “Respondent’s local cultivation and consumption of marijuana is not “Commerce … among the several States.”
    Certainly no evidence from the founding suggests that “commerce” included the mere possession of a good or some personal activity that did not involve trade or exchange for value. In the early days of the Republic, it would have been unthinkable that Congress could prohibit the local cultivation, possession, and consumption of marijuana.
    and
    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 “appropriate state police powers under the guise of regulating commerce.”
    and further:
    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.”[11]

    • danfromsquirrelhill replied:

      Progressives do indeed want to legalize medical marijuana. However, progressives also believe that something that never crosses state lines, and which never involves any money changing hands, constitutes “interstate commerce.” It is this second aspect that I am interested in.

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