Weed The People: Cannabis and The Constitution

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director January 6, 2011

    Update: Inexplicably, the Republican leadership chose to CENSOR reading the 18th Amendment today. Ugh.

    Today, as first act for the Republican led 112th Congress, the new majority is going to read the United States Constitution out loud.

    Oh, the irony.

    If there is real reverence for the document (notably the original copies of the document in the late 1700s were scribed onto paper made from hemp…a staple commercial crop during America’s Revolutionary period cultivated by many of the US Constitution’s original signers…an agricultural product banned by US federal governments for the last 74 years) by those who read the document and sit in rapture listening to the words, then it should be clear to all in the Congress this morning that Cannabis Prohibition is unconstitutional.


    Where in the Constitution does the federal government derive the power and authority to ban and criminalize such a utilitarian and life-enhancing plant species as cannabis?

    The oft-lamented by conservatives Commerce Clause? This is where the liberals in Franklin Roosevelt’s administration justified the federal government’s prohibition of cannabis in 1937. Both liberal and conservative governments have argued strenuously, and successfully, in federal courts that Cannabis Prohibition is lawful and sanctioned under the US Constitution’s Commerce Clause.

    Further, and most importantly, today’s Congress, notably the new Constitution-loving majority, should listen carefully today when the reading turns to the 1919 18th Amendment (which created Alcohol Prohibition) and the 1933 21st Amendment (which, of course, repealed Alcohol Prohibition, which, like Cannabis Prohibition, was a complete failure that created more problems than it solved and unnecessarily conveyed policing powers from the states and cities to the federal government).

    Unless the new majority supports the continued use of the Commerce Clause to justify federal intervention into state sovereignty, for them to adhere and respect the U.S. Constitution (which each member of Congress swears to uphold), they need to pass a constitutional amendment post haste that prohibits the cannabis plant and criminalizes its use, rather than rely on what many Americans consider a legislative fiat by the Congress that created and has fostered Cannabis Prohibition for over eight decades.

    Indeed new majority (and minority) in Congress, read and respect the U.S. Constitution!

    114 responses to “Weed The People: Cannabis and The Constitution”

    1. Shane says:

      The Commerce Clause. Why is there movement to amend THAT part of the constitution?

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    3. kwarner says:

      it doesent matter. was it proof enough that cali. didnt get the people out to vote, like it states in the constitution WE THE PEOPLE we need to get out and vote. if nah sayiers vote and we dont they win. reguadless of what stated in the constitution. my people the oglala lakotas also cultivated hemp. my uncle Alex white plume sr. has been in a fight with the fedral courts on this matter for the better part on the last 15- 20 years. and us natives cuktivated hemp way before the whites even new there was a land across the atlantic. and it was also a used for trade along with furs and other goods.

    4. Bob Constantine says:

      Very ironic indeed. It’s time “the people” ended this war. Here’s what some of us in New Hampshire are doing.



    5. Stompedonmyrights says:

      The Congress should read it, many of those elected folks have never study it and the case law as well, like: “The Constitution is a written instrument, as such, its meaning does not alter. That which it meant when it was adopted, it means now.” South Carolina vs United States 199 U.S. 437, 448 (1905).
      “Every word appears to have been weighted with the utmost deliberation and its effect to have been fully understood.” Wright vs United States, 302 U.S. 583 (1938)
      or how about this statement of the facts:
      “Where rights are secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them.” Miranda vs Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 491.

      “When any court violates the clean and unambiguous language of the Constitution, a FRAUD is perpetrated and no one is bound to obey it.” State vs Sutton Minn. (147, 65 NW 262, 30 L.R.A. 630 Am. St. 459)

      Damm Right they should read, the real question I have is Why can’t they follow it?

    6. Glen says:

      Unfortunately the “New Congress” is the same ‘ol Congress we always get after an election.

      Nothing will change, more war will be waged and more money spent even thou they rode the wave of deficit reduction.

      The GOP and Tea party have already added over a trillion dollars to our debt with the hand job tax break the rich just got.

      Not until the old guard has died off or been booted out of office and people born after 1980 start to run the country cannabis will always be an evil plant to DC.

    7. Pot Nero says:

      yeah right……. when hell freezes over…the politicians can’t even remember which lie they believe after they tell it. Save your seeds, hide your weed prohibition is here to stay

    8. Tony says:

      Our government was once truly limited by this great document but our modern leaders made it into just a piece of paper with a few tips on how to run a country.
      When we can get the government to follow its own rules the people might have a chance to make a change.

    9. Pot Nero says:

      also…we can all blame ouselves. we don’t get out to vote and we don’t donate money to the cause. We can’t allow Soros and facebook owners to finance everything

    10. Chad says:

      As soon as professionals, who from time to time enjoy pot, talk to everyone, not just their “cool” friends we can end this ridiculous probation sooner than later. I’m a professional, I give money to republicans and I often tell them my views on cannabis, trust me, the Dem’s aren’t the only ones who smoke or used to. Keep up the good fight NORML!