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Legal Pot Should Be Protected from Federal Laws

I understand that AG Jeff Sessions is about to declare war on legal state marijuana.  I disagree strongly.

Understand:  I DO NOT favor or endorse a) the Libertarian Party position on the war on drugs or b) that Virginia should join Colorado, Washington State and California etc. and legalize pot.  I am an agnostic on those issues at the present time.  (Isn’t it funny for a staunch Christian to say he’s an agnostic on any issue?  There’ll probably be a pithy comment from Gene the Populist on this issue!)  I do agree with some of the valid criticisms of the LP on drug laws, especially in the areas of civil liberties and criminalization.  I also want to legalize industrial hemp and medical uses of pot or its derivatives.  If you want to make simple possession of less than 1/2 ounce of pot a $100 civil penalty I am okay with that.


I favor decriminalization all over.  Too many Federal criminal laws.  (Too many state ones, too!)  Realize this:  In 1963 when JFK was assassinated in Texas, there was NO Federal law governing assassination of the President.  Oswald would have been tried under state laws.  Don’t you think Texas justice would have taken care of it?

And I respect the states’ right to decide these questions.  So I oppose the Sessions prosecution concept and urge an law to reform the federal drug AND banking secrecy laws to allow legal pot in those states where it has been legalized.

We also need to renounce the UN anti-drug treaty or at least place our laws outside its jurisdiction.  Remember the SCOTUS has held that a general Federal law supersedes an international treaty.  Start passing those general laws immediately.  I’d start with a statute saying that no Federal official shall be required by any authority, foreign or domestic, to obey any UN resolution of any kind.

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

12 Responses to “Legal Pot Should Be Protected from Federal Laws”

  1. Publius Huldah

    This is an easy question answered by reference to the text of our federal Constitution.

    Does the federal Constitution permit the federal government to make any laws respecting drugs for the Country at Large? To anyone who says it does, I say, “Cite Article, Section & Clause!”

    REMEMBER! 100 years ago, everyone knew that the federal government couldn’t make laws on something unless they had constitutional authority. They all knew that the federal government couldn’t outlaw the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages without an Amendment to the Constitution authorizing Congress to make such laws! That’s how we got the 18th Amendment.

    But today, we have forgotten that the federal government must have constitutional authority for its acts in order for them to be lawful.

    Article I, Sec. 8, next to the last clause, delegates to Congress general legislative jurisdiction over the District of Columbia and the other tiny geographical areas referred to as the “federal enclaves”. Thus, Congress could legally regulate drugs in those tiny geographical areas.

    Article I, Sec. 8, clause 14, authorizes Congress to make regulations governing the Military. So Congress has constitutional authority to make laws regulating drugs in the Military.

    But over the Country at large, Congress has no constitutional authority to meddle in this issue.

    As to any treaty which purports to regulate drugs within the United States, such would be
    unconstitutional as not made “under the authority of the United States”. The federal
    government may NOT do by Treaty that which it is prohibited from doing by the Constitution.

    See: https://publiushuldah.wordpress.com/category/treaty-making-powers-of-the-united-states/

    • Rebel says:

      The biggest single domestic problem in this country is the overreach of the federal government in our lives. Without Constitutional authority, the feds control extends into almost every aspect of our lives. The latest “opioid” crises is an example. Using our “safety” as an excuse, the feds are putting incredible pressure on the medical profession to stop prescribing “opioids”. Arbitrary limits have been put into place regardless of the medical situation, and onerous requirements that are designed to prevent patients and doctors from treating chronic pain with pain relievers.

      Another example is the herb kratom. With the hundreds of herbs on the market, and being consumed by Americans, the DEA has chosen to try to outlaw kratom. This herb has pain relieving properties and currently is legal. Why is the DEA trying to outlaw it? Because “some” consumers report that it gives them a “good” feeling. And, we know, the DEA is entirely against Americans having “good feelings”. It also has pain relieving properties, and has been ingested by humans for hundreds of years. But, that doesn’t matter.

      The feds should be looking to protect Americans, but not from themselves. Americans should have the choice to decide, for themselves, what is in their best interest. That’s called freedom.

      • Publius Huldah

        100 years ago, when Americans started voting “Progressives” [i.e., Fabian socialists] into office, the Progressives promised they would provide for our needs and make us safe from the risks and uncertainties of Life. In accordance with this, the FDA was created to “protect” us from bad food and drugs. Americans didn’t care that it was unconstitutional as outside the scope of powers delegated to the federal gov’t. They cared about their precious “opinions” on whether the fed gov’t should or shouldn’t “protect” us from bad food and drugs. So they went with their “opinions” on the subject, and disregarded the Constitution.

        One reason our Constitution created a government of enumerated powers only – instead of general & unlimited opinions – was to prevent people in gov’t from enforcing THEIR opinions on us.

        But with our existentialist mindset of today, we think there is NO HIGHER STANDARD OR GUIDE THAN OUR OWN PRECIOUS “OPINIONS”. We have altogether rejected the concept of external transcendent standards such as …. the Constitution.

        Americans were conditioned to be existentialists even thou they don’t know what it is or how they came to believe it – but that is the prevailing mindset of modern Americans.

        And so the opinions of the people with power is enforced on us. But Americans don’t
        object to this IN PRINCIPLE – they just think that THEIR opinions should have been enacted into law.

  2. GeneThePopulist says:

    Who me? In the Bible people drank wine quite a bit. Grapes ferment into alcohol on their own. So, isn’t it safe to assume that people got drunk or high on wine thousands of years ago? Surprise, people partied thousands of years ago. Using grapes they grew or purchased. Sound familiar? So people grow pot these days to get high on. Problem is we now have machines that can hurt or kill innocent people when operated by those who are drunk on wine or high on pot. Really, people are going to they to escape the realities of life using whatever is available to them. The medical and alcohol lobby is simply trying to stop the competition that pot brings to the table. In Virginia, every politician is corrupt and in it for the money and or power. Hence, pot is making limited progress due to the lobbyist checkbooks.

    But, the Bible is very clear in 1 Timothy 3, on the responsibilites of an overseer, or pastor. People who aspire to be leaders should be above reproach. Not a wine-O, or pot head. And, those who do not want to lead, its all about moderation.

    1 Timothy 3 also sets the example as to why politicians should open their financial records and tax returns to the public. As I told Bob Shannon years ago. He just froze and looked like a deer that freezes when your cars headlites shine in its eyes. If someone cannot handle their own money, how can they handle other peoples?
    Well, they cannot.

    Let the people grow their grapes or pot if they desire. They are going to get high one way or another. The money they would use to buy pot, they can buy something that would help the economy. Maybe.

  3. Kylie P. R.N. says:

    The American Academy of Pediatrics opposes legalization of marijuana due to negative permanent effects on children’s development.

    Pot is a Gateway drug to other addictive substances.


    Following legalization of Marijuana in California and Colorado there have been increased birth defects due to use of marijuana by pregnant women. As many as 20% of pregnant women are using marijuana for morning sickness causing premature births, low birth weight babies. and birth defects.

    Colorado has seen a significant increase in motor vehicle accidents due to marijuana and driving under the influence.

    When these stats hits the insurance actuarial analysis OUR insurance rates will go up to pay for the Pot Heads.

  4. Sandy Sanders

    I am honored to get constitutional analysis from Publius Huldah. She is right on the COS (and many other things). These drug laws arise from the evil Wickard v. Filburn case decided by the SCOTUS in the 30s that said that the government could prohibit a farmer under the severe New Deal era laws requiring reductions in agricultural production to artificially raise prices by reducing demand from even growing excess crop for his own family because if every farmer did that it would affect interstate commerce. Only Justice Thomas would overrule Wickard.

    As for Kylie P, RN, thanks for coming – first time commenter! – and she makes a case for not legalizing pot. And Gene makes a case on the other side. But the issue here is shall we protect the states who did so. Yes we should.

    Thanks to all for coming by!


  5. xtron says:

    legalizing pot should be a states rights matter. any way that is what the leading sound bit argument is.
    unfortunately, you can’t have it both ways. if legalizing pot is something the federal government should keep it’s nose out of and let the states decide for themselves, them the concealed carry recipreociety issue MUST be viewed the same way, something the feds have no business forcing on the states. sorry, you can’t have it both ways.

    • Sandy Sanders

      Thank you xtron from coming by! First, yes we should be consistent. And yes, I would agree in a perfect world that the states would work out concealed carry reciprocity. But they cannot because of anti-choice in gun decisions politicians. Well, you actually CAN have it both ways (and Publius Huldah might not agree and respect that) because of the Fifth Clause of the XIVth amendment which gives Congress the power to enforce the rights protected by this amendment. And since the right to carry is a Second Amendment right (and an inherent right of a free people) Congress can set reasonable rules for allowing a law-abiding citizen to carry in all 50 states. They cannot however, under the Boerne decision limit that right beyond what the SCOTUS has proclaimed as a right. (I disagree with Bourne, BTW as to that but the right to enforce is strictly limited in that decision and that is probably good.)

      Here is text of City of Boerne v. Flores. https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/521/507/case.html

      Thanks again xtron for the wonderful comment.


  6. Publius Huldah

    Dear and esteemed Gentlepersons,

    The fundamental question is this: Is the Supreme Court “subject to” [under the authority of] the Constitution? Or, is the Constitution subject to the authority of the Supreme Court?

    Like Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison, I suggest to the following:

    Article III, Section 1, US Constitution, CREATED the Supreme Court. So the Supreme Court is the “creature” of the Constitution. Accordingly, it is completely subject to the terms of the document which created it.

    Accordingly, the Supreme Court acts lawfully ONLY when it obeys the Constitution.

    Our Framers understood this. See, e.g., “Nullification Made Easy” and click on the links to see where our FRAMERS said the above: http://tenthamendmentcenter.com/2015/05/16/nullification-made-easy/

    But 100 years ago, one Charles Evans Hughes, who later became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, said, “We have a Constitution, and it means what the Judges say it means.”

    And THAT, friends, is what law students have since been indoctrinated to believe. It’s what I was told in law school. I don’t know any lawyers who weren’t told that in law school.

    But it is a lie!

    Think about it!

    We The People, acting thru our States, CREATED the federal government (and the Supreme Court) when we ratified our federal Constitution. WE are the “Creators”! Does the “creature” [the Supreme Court] dictate to its “creator”?

    Our Framers said, “NO!”

    Our problems arose because we have been saying, “yes”.

    • GeneThePopulist says:

      If what the constitution actually says were important, then why all the fuss about who nominates SCOTUS justices? Doesn’t what SCOTUS wants it to say far outweigh what it actually says? How people can live with the level of corruption these days is beyond me. And, tell me, which SCOTUS justice represents the protestants? It is insane to believe that 5 1/2 catholics and 3 Jews is just a coinsidence.

  7. Calvin Hebert says:

    You all act as if the Constitution matters to the lawmakers in this nation. That laws matter. That there is a justice system that is fair and equal to all. Congress does not follow the laws. Nor does the Executive Branch. Nor does the Supreme Court. If it did Hillary and Huma and Comey and Clapper and McCabe and Obama would be in prison along with Susan Rice and Valerie Jarrett.

    Marijuana is a Big Ag agenda. Don’t kid yourselves all you smokers out there. MJ will be a cash cow for some states ( taxes). The Lobby Money to pour into the crooks in Washington will be in the hundreds of millions. Look at Cory Gardner’s enthusiasm for legalized marijuana. ( R- CO- he can smell the Monsanto money already.)

    Big Ag ( Monsanto and others) and Bayer will POISON users with pesticides, GMO product and herbicides ( Round Up- glyphosate a known carcinogen.) So big pharma can come in with Chemo and earn billions treating all the cancer.

    Laughing at all of you posting on this blog. Yeah that’s what we need is more “substance abuse” cases in America and more Smokers. Like the opiod crisis isn’t bankrupting this country enough. Let’s add pot smoking to it.

  8. Shawn Snyder says:

    The Gov’t case against Clive Bundy proof there is no justice in America



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