Compassion is a term that transcends partisan politics and strikes at the heart of the American character. By compassion, I mean showing sympathy and rendering aid and comfort to the seriously afflicted, terminally ill, and dying.
Under this banner of compassion, a great struggle against Federal overreach has been raging for many years now. I am talking about efforts to legalize medical cannabis in various states around the U.S.
Cannabis has been known for its medicinal properties for thousands of years. However, the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that cannabis â€˜â€™possesses no known medical value.â€™â€™
It has thus designated cannabis as a Schedule I substance despite volumes of scientific observations suggesting the contrary. Other drugs classified in this manner are Heroin, Ecstasy, LSD, and others. According to federal rules, no prescriptions, whatsoever, may be written for Schedule I substances.
Cocaine is classified as a Schedule II substance, which has less stringent restrictions.
Federal ignorance notwithstanding, state governments of differing political persuasions across America are rallying behind compassion and taking action. They are using the principle of interposition, enshrined in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, and the sovereignty reserved under the 10th Amendment to protect their patients and caregivers from Federal prosecution in their foolhardy “War on Drugs.”
Two recent cases are Kansas and New York. Both could not be further apart from each other on the political spectrum: Kansas is a known stronghold of social conservatism and New York is a national trendsetter in Progressivism. Despite their political differences, both state legislatures have submitted for consideration legislation that would offer legal protections for medical cannabis patients and their caregivers.
While compassion is the driving force behind this movement, the 10th amendment allows safe access to medical cannabis to become a reality. Its legal significance is such that it is cited in the opening pages of both statesâ€™ bills:
Kansas House Bill 2610 (HB2610):
“The legislature of the state of Kansas declares that this act is enacted pursuant to the police power of the state to protect the health of its citizens that is reserved to the state of Kansas and its people under the 10th amendment to the United States Constitution”
“This legislation is an appropriate exercise of the stateâ€™s legislative power to protect the health of its people under article 17 of the state constitution and the tenth amendment of the Unites States Constitution.”
To date, fourteen states have legalized medical cannabis under varying regulatory regimes in direct defiance of the Federal governmentâ€™s Draconian total war on cannabis. They do this out of compassion, and with a proper understanding of a stateâ€™s role to interpose between the Federal government and the people when Congressional laws serve to the detriment of a stateâ€™s residents.
The struggle for medical cannabis will continue until the Federal government comes to its senses and removes the sick and dying from the “Drug War” battlefield, or better yet, ends the entire debacle altogether.
While medical cannabis legislation is pending in Congress (HB 2835), states should continue to interpose on behalf of their patients and caregivers while DC deliberates more “pertinent” issues. Unfortunately, though, many patients do not have time to wait while DC dithers.
I wholeheartedly urge readers in states without medical cannabis programs or protection laws to engage their legislators and governors to take a stand for compassionate cannabis and the 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
CLICK HERE – to view the Tenth Amendment Center’s Legislative Tracking Page for State Marijuana Legislation.
Patrick Reagan is a libertarian Constitutionalist who was born in Chicago, grew up in San Antonio and spent his teenage and collegiate years in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona. He’s trekked across a good chunk of the globe over the past 2 yeas and currently resides abroad.
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