Skip to main content

View Diary: States rights (135 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Exactly (none)
    If growing plants in your backyard for your own personal use, with no money changing hands, is "interstate commerce"-then everything is.
    •  Ironically (none)
      The big case in this area (whose name escapes me)also involved growing plants for a person's own personal use, with no money changing hands- only that plant was some sort of wheat or other crop, not marijuana.

      As I thought about it, I came off my main point a little- if you substitute "medical marijuana" with "crack cocaine" it's a little easier to see where the feds would be coming from.

      I know I'm not going to get it here, but I really would like to hear someone, somewhere, give me a decent argument against medical marijuana.  Because I just don't see this as having two sides.  (And, I don't buy slippery slope in this case, plenty of proscribed controlled substances are used legitimately in medicine).

      A flame rescued from dry wood has no weight in it's luminous flight yet lifts the heavy lid of night.

      by JakeC on Wed Jun 08, 2005 at 10:31:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ironically (none)
      The big case in this area (whose name escapes me)also involved growing plants for a person's own personal use, with no money changing hands- only that plant was some sort of wheat or other crop, not marijuana.

      As I thought about it, I came off my main point a little- if you substitute "medical marijuana" with "crack cocaine" it's a little easier to see where the feds would be coming from.

      I know I'm not going to get it here, but I really would like to hear someone, somewhere, give me a decent argument against medical marijuana.  Because I just don't see this as having two sides.  (And, I don't buy slippery slope in this case, plenty of proscribed controlled substances are used legitimately in medicine).

      A flame rescued from dry wood has no weight in it's luminous flight yet lifts the heavy lid of night.

      by JakeC on Wed Jun 08, 2005 at 10:31:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Re: Ironically (none)
        Luckily, I'm in the middle of Bill Rehnquist's history of the SCOTUS, and have it handy.

        Wickard v. Filburn is the wheat case of which you're thinking, although its easily distinguished legally. In the case, decided in 1942, Filburn was growing wheat for use as feed and seed on his own farm, but the Sec. of Ag. imposed wheat restrictions, including limiting how much Filburn could grow. Filburn challenged the constitutionality, and the court decided that the government could constitutionally restrict Filburn's wheat production under the commerce clause, as his growing his own wheat meant he didn't buy any, which indirectly affects interstate commerce.

        Of course, the big difference here is that you can't buy or sell marijuana legally, so growing your own doesn't affect interstate commerce in quite the same way.

        The most logical commerce clause argument the court could make in this case is that you had to originally get the seeds from somewhere, and that somewhere is regulable by the federal government. I don't know if this argument was made (I tend to doubt it) as I haven't read the decision.

        •  Distinguishable or not (none)
          Both are ridiculous.

          Take the logic through to the end.  If the government were to set a price floor for tomatoes, any person growing them in their own back yard for eating would have to stop, since absent the one's they grew, they would have to buy them at the designated price.

          Thank you for the cite.  

          A flame rescued from dry wood has no weight in it's luminous flight yet lifts the heavy lid of night.

          by JakeC on Wed Jun 08, 2005 at 01:55:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Perhaps (none)
      First, let me make my policy views a bit clearer, although they wont be that clear because these are tough issues.

      1.  I believe that both the feds and the states should allow the use of marijuana for medicinal reasons.  I believe that if a state has made such a decision, the feds should not spend their resources controverting that policy.

      2.  I also have serious doubts as to the efficacy of drug prohibition, particularly when it comes to marijuana.  So long as enough states prohibit drugs, I do not think the feds should legalize them, but I think the federal government should only focus on large scale trafficking.  With respect to states, I am ambivalent on the idea of legalization, but I am open to hearing arguments.

      Now with respect to the commerce clause...

      I think it can be argued that, in specific instances, that one's activity, judged in isolation, can be small scale enough to say that one is not engaged in "interstate commerce" by any well understood definition of the term.  For me, however, if the activity as a whole can be said to affect interstate commerce, then the government can regulate that activity.  It does not need to go and prove jurisdiction in each instance.  "Well your honor, in this case, there were 25 cannibis plants, and there is a high likelihood that one of them crossed state lines."  As a policy matter, Congress and the Executive should consider their own jurisdictional limitations, but I do not want courts drawing those lines.

      In other words, if it is within the general class of interstate activities, then the rule can also cover the subsection of those activities which don't cross state lines.

      This admittedly can be taken to an extreme, whereby almost any activity can be considered to affect interstate commerce.  And in fact, this case may be the extreme.  Nevertheless, for the federal government to function as we have known it since at least the New Deal, and arguably before that as well, I think it's the only option.  On the other side lies Janice Rogers Brown and her ilk.

      •  My problem (none)
        Is that I seems some merit to the other side.

        I know, when you put it in the context of minimum wage, ADA, etc. that everyone comes out against State's rights- because, they want to protect the underlying programs.

        But, imagine a state that due to it's high violent crime rate banned possession of all guns by everyone (forget 2nd Amendment issues).  The feds then turn around and pass a statute protecting every individuals right to possess a gun.  Can't you see where the benefit may lie in allowing the individual state to deal with it's own issues as it sees fit?

        And, I come back to the idea of the states serving as labratories for new ideas- I like that.

        A flame rescued from dry wood has no weight in it's luminous flight yet lifts the heavy lid of night.

        by JakeC on Wed Jun 08, 2005 at 10:59:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't disagree... (none)
          ...as a matter of policy.  I don't mind the states having leeway to experiment.

          As a matter of Constitutional Law, however, I believe that ultimately, federal supremacy is necessary.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site