It is Shakespeare’s birth and death day, the death being a known date while the birth is conjectured and traditional. Since no one reads my Shakespeare writing, I have thought today to clarify my position on marijuana, which is also, so far, the same as the position of the CLC.
In sum, the states never delegated to the national government the power to prohibit what is not a toxic and addictive medicine, while the state laws are unconstitutional for a different reason, the supremacy of the Bill of Rights.
First, the law forbidding one to grow one’s own weed and smoke it is unconstitutional. In a word, this is because no commerce is involved. There never was a more obvious constitutional case. In order to prohibit the addictive, toxic and socially harmful beer and wine, prohibition advocates had to change the constitution, with the 18th Amendment, which was quickly recognized to be a great error, causing an organized crime explosion from which this nation has yet to recover. And even during prohibition, governments could still not prevent one from brewing one’s own beer and drinking it. This led to the sugar houses, where entrepreneurs would distill a little extra gin or whiskey to supplement their incomes, and soon these people found themselves extorted and controlled by the mob, here the Purple Gang and others like them. The same is now happening regarding weed. The constitutional question has been discussed in a previous blog. The basic idea is that in America, the purpose of government is to secure rights, and no one’s rights are even remotely violated by growing one’s own weed and smoking it. Hence, government has no power, we never gave the federal Congress this delegated power, to prohibit marijuana. Nor do the states have the power to violate the Second sentence of the Declaration as spelled out in the Bill of Rights, especially in the Fourth and Fifth but also in the First Amendments. The criminalization has also led to the violation of the constitution is other ways, for example the suppression of speech and assembly when we try to pass legislation on the issue, as has been routine for fifty years, and violations of just about every other Amendment of the Bill of Rights, except perhaps the Second.
Second, the criminalization of weed is the cause of about one half of the strength of organized crime and the Gangs in Colombia and Mexico. Even now, with the legalization in a few states and medicinal laws in a few others, a recent bust at a tunnel in San Diego yielded something like seven tons of weed and one ton of cocaine, probably about equal in value, fifty percent. The following of our constitution on this one issue would instantly cut the war on drugs in half, making the other half more manageable. Notice too that there was not also a shipment of heroin coming in through that tunnel.
Third, Marijuana is useful in medicating withdrawal from heroin, as has been stated by the MI Legalize people and other advocates. It is not so big a moneymaker as the drugs of the prescription drug companies, so they and hence popular opinion will tend to ignore it, but detox centers are going to be a priority if we have any say, and marijuana is non toxic, less addictive than coffee, and generally something like aspirin compared to oxy, but as a mild, home remedy antidepressant. It does not tend to make people violent, though I would not give it to a violent person who was drunk already, nor is it a significant factor in traffic accidents. Nor would I prescribe marijuana for psychoses distinct from depression, as some kinds do make people sleepy and paranoid. Marijuana lightly churns the thoughts or the “unconscious,” which is why it is helpful for depression but not usually for paranoia or psychotics, whose problem is that their unconscious is overly churned already, to the extreme of dreaming while awake in the wrong way. This is also why marijuana is, as we say, helpful in small amounts in reading the scripture and in study. It is not good for getting started at anything, because it is distracting. It takes attention away from the practical, technical reasoning and brings attention to the things within. So smoking pot is not good for getting started on the task at hand, setting up or figuring out how to do something one does not want to do for its own sake. But once started, it is very good for getting into one’s work and seeing new things. Hence the musicians and artists, at a rate of over ninety percent, have always enjoyed weed. And just as we could not work at computers without the benefit of the work of the druggie Steve Jobs, so we would have no music at all were we to drug test the musicians before we play their songs during the work day.
Fourth, the current medicinal law is a disaster in a few ways, if an improvement in others. Thefts and even organized crime are involved already, and there was nearly a scam, narrowly averted, to seize property by following the list provided by the requirement of licensing. This involves our police department in a RICO case, because our police departments did indeed turn into organized criminal gangs on the issue of property seizures in general. Few noticed, except when their own cars were impounded, and the scam focused on the poor, because we are lawyerless and vulnerable, rather than the rich, who would require the perpetrators to pay off a judge to set aside the Fifth Amendment.
Fifth, the exclusion of those who smoke weed has impoverished our public life, as none could get a job unless they lied about the weed and, in the more slavish professions, evaded drug testing, the testing itself a violation of the constitution. This fact promoted or selected for self serving liars in our political offices. A Supreme Court nominee, Mr. Ginsberg, was excluded from confirmation solely because he admitted smoking weed with a graduated student. Then when a case like Reich v. Ashcroft comes up, the court is rigged in the government’s favor, with any truthful one who might understand the issue systematically excluded. Government in general has been limited to people stupid enough to swallow the government arguments, produced at taxpayer expense for fifty years. Thankfully, there is no other issue on which we have routinely all owed and subsidized false science. The “gateway drug” argument is a fine example. It is the gateway indeed, to crime and up the dealer’s steps to the dealer’s door for our kids, who quickly see that weed is good, and hence the system of prohibition an illusion, thereby learning to distrust government and disregard the law in every other way, including the truly important ways, so that the power of the law to be a guide in ethical matters is destroyed. The ignoring of the constitution too on this issue led to a general disregard of the constitution on many issues, such as property seizures and drug testing. The one issue of drug testing got us started in setting aside the Fourth Amendment. Now private companies own our private information for their own marketing purposes, setting up many little multi-billion dollar tyrannies which have become un-opposable because of money and the expense of the courts.
Finally, the chemicals used to grow medicinal weed have ruined the plant. Trying to make as much money as possible off their allotment of 12 plants, growers buy an incredible array of chemicals from a mobbed up company, then trust the process of “flushing” these things out of the buds, which never quite works. The product burns the lungs, probably from phosphorus, no doubt does harm in many other unknown ways, and the sweet taste is gone, if any of the stoners notice. Weed is not a lifestyle, and getting stoned not a goal in life, and people usually smoke way too much. Our new weed is more potent, so that smoking too much can now hardly be avoided, and the tolerance goes up, so that whole joints of absurdamundo are smoked by these idiots, who then spend their time on the liberal art of ridiculous cartoons. Still, there is no law against being a moron. Nor is there a law against advising that we quickly find something important and worthwhile to do with our limited time on this earth, focusing on the truly important things.
The purpose of government indeed includes the regulation of commerce, against the sale of snake oil, for example. Businesses must be regulated to keep them focused on making money off producing true value, when it is so easy to make even more money by doing harm or abusing the common wealth. That is why the deregulation platform of the Republicans is such a disaster, and evidences such ignorance, if it begins from a genuine insight about absurd regulations. Government must prevent money interests from producing harmful weed, and the suggestion would be that, rather than take “campaign contributions” to design a law that facilitates six big companies, or the mobsters from Oakland county, we allow first the sale of organic weed, and subject any additions to rigorous scrutiny. We might watch out for the interests of the small farmer, and take note of what happened to tobacco when government gave an allotted amount which then created an interest in using chemicals which are carcinogenic and no can seem to get around to testing, due in part to the wisdom and certainty of the new common opinion that no smoking is our one ethical certainty while all other truths are relative.
The marijuana issue is a good example of what can happen when government does not do what it is supposed to do, but allows itself to be subjected to everyone else’s interests. Government is not supposed to legislate private morals, but is supposed to regulate commerce for the common good. It is certainly not empowered by the constitution to call commerce what is not commerce in order to promote a government-cultivated ideology based not on science but upon a government-required ignorance. If we do things like this on small matters, the effect upon the whole can become huge and decisive. I am reminded, for an analogy, of using a lift to work on a factory ceiling, where a small, quarter inch difference in the level of the floor under one wheel leads to a huge wobble at the top of the lift fully extended, and rolling over a two-by-four can tip the whole lift, with the workers in it. It is sometimes very important to get small things right, with honesty and diligence, to avoid huge and unforeseeable bad consequences.
Much of this has been said before in previous blogs, elaborated in different ways, but bears repeating here to distinguish our position from that of the mmcdonald77 in California, so prominent now on Google though it has been a cancelled website for two years. Add another constitutional violation to the list, as cynicism has become the truth regarding our government and self-interest. And much more could be said, though we expect our advocacy of striking down the law to help us more than hurt us in the election for U. S. House in the 7th District here in Michigan. Perhaps the voter will find a little honesty refreshing, in contrast with those jerks we have elected who try to dodge the media-circus question “have you ever smoked weed.” Oh yea, but he didn’t inhale. What a foolish circus we have made of our politics, and the most foolish of all is called the “anti-establishment” candidate, who has never cared about the constitution nor anything ever more than money, unless it is his tyrannical ego. Now let him seize the law, all so you could do prohibition.
But the unconstitutionality of the prohibition is especially evident when compared to the obligation to ignore the most extreme issues regarding homosexuality, forbidding the ethical teaching against sodomy and gamory, a teaching for everyone but especially for homosexuals, following Plato, because we do not want to offend those who love the same gendered person, again because unless someone else’s rights are being violated, our Jeffersonianism and our constitution requires that government leave people alone. This indeed leads us into comedy about what one may do and not do, though here we had better stop with our libertarian cynicism. The politicians will suck up as soon as popular opinion catches up, and this slavishness too is indeed not illegal in America.