Read the Constitution. End Prohibition. Defund the war on drugs.

The US Constitution is being read by the new House of Representatives. This is probably a good idea. I just hope they are listening carefully, especially when they get to the first 10 amendments, the Bill of Rights. Most of the new crop of conservatives are nearly (even actually) religiously respectful of the 2nd Amendment. Tragically, though, the same group usually proves curiously disinterested in the other Bill of Rights amendments, most of which have been severely frittered away by the war on drugs.

US Representatives, please listen carefully to Amendment 10 – Powers of the States and People. Ratified 12/15/1791.

  • 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.

Remember, a constitutional amendment was necessary to federally outlaw alcohol. Another amendment rescinded this prohibition and removed federal criminal control over possession and use of alcohol. In the case of other drugs, however, the federal government has been able, with no constitutional amendment, to exert iron control over what substances the entire American citizenry can possess.  One result of this war on drugs had bloated American prisons with the world’s highest number and proportion of prisoners. So much for land of the free. The unconstitutional war on drugs supports tens of billions of dollars yearly of federal expenditure in a totally non-productive, actually hugely counterproductive, enterprise. What the war on drugs has not done is make a hint of difference in the drug taking behavior of the American citizenry.

The war on drugs is constitutionally insupportable. Prohibition of the rights of citizens in the American states to drink alcohol or use other drugs as they see fit is not the business of the federal government. If the new house of representatives truly means to use the Constitution as a guide, the newly conservative congress could achieve its goals of:

  • smaller government,
  • expanding individual freedoms and
  • saving tens of billions of dollars a year.

Congress, end these misguided and illegal federal prohibitions and then defund the bloated agencies that enforce them, such as the DEA.

As the 112th House of Representatives reads the Constitution, let them also read a little quotation by a truly great American president, Abraham Lincoln:

  • Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance within itself, for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded.
    – Speech in the Illinois House of Representatives, Dec 18, 1840.

Rahm Emanuel – Free Speech Hall of Shame

For a man that likes to curse a great deal, Barack Obama’s Chief-of-Staff Rahm Emanuel does not much believe in the free speech rights of his fellow Americans. Indeed Rahm Emanuel committed an act so in conflict with his Constitution’s Bill of Rights he should be denied any government position. Yet, despite his egregious attack on the First Amendment Right of Free Speech, he is now “the second most powerful man” in the American government.

What was Emanuel’s great crime? In the 1990s the Chicago democrat was a key Clinton administration drug policy adviser. This was a time of rapid rise in drug arrests, especially cannabis arrests, driven by all the new laws and huge funding of the “war on drugs.”  After Californians voted in 1996 to legalize the medical use of cannabis, Emanuel, and fellow drug war mongers Joe Biden and Barry McCaffrey sought to deny these voters their rights by threatening cannabis-prescribing California physicians. In just this one policy, then, Emanuel and company worked to deny state voters their elected choice and also deny doctors the right of free speech in making their medical recommendations. Californians suffering from medical need such as glaucoma and nerve pain would be denied medical information by these bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.

So much for democracy. The actions of Rham Emanuel and the drug czar McCaffrey show total disdain for voter rights, states rights, and medical rights. Their coercive policies reek of tyranny. In just about the only US Supreme Court decision favorable to these rights in the last 40 years, the high court said such over-bearing federal meddling violated the free speech rights of the physicians and their patients. Such arrogance and disregard for the US Constitution and the rights of fellow Americans should preclude Emanuel from any important goverment job.

President Obama professes to view Abraham Lincoln as a role model. Good idea. Perhaps, you Mr. President and your zealous chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel should revisit the earlier president from Illinois opinions on prohibition. Abraham Lincoln said,

A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded… Prohibition goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man´s appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes.

Too bad now we are stuck with a presidential chief-of-staff who views medical cannabis in the most reactionary possible way.  Rahm Emanuel is no Abraham Lincoln. Regrettably, neither is Barack Obama.