Once again, federal thugs from the Drug Enforcement Administration targeted marijuana growers in Northern California. According to a report from the Modesto Bee:

Federal agents raided two south Modesto homes Wednesday, uncovering an indoor marijuana farm that may be linked to an Asian crime syndicate operating out of the Bay Area.

Federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents, Internal Revenue Service officers and Galt police served a search warrant at a two-story house in the 1700 block of Rancho Encantado Lane at 10:30 a.m. The house was next door to a day-care center.

That brings to 50 the number of houses that have been raided from Modesto to Sacramento that are believed to be connected to the crime ring, Taylor said.

The fact of the matter here is that people have an inalienable right to do what they want with their own bodies. And, more importantly, since the Constitution does not specifically authorize the federal government to prohibit drugs, actions such as these are in clear violation of the Tenth Amendment.

Federal drug laws (the Controlled Substance Act) ban the possession of marijuana as well as a number of other drugs, while the FDA continues to legalize other drugs made by corporations that have enormous political influence.

But, the essential question is this: If a simple federal law is all that was needed to ban marijuana, why did Alcohol Prohibition in the 1920’s require a constitutional amendment?

James Madison made it quite clear that the federal government would only be able to exercise the powers that were specifically delegated to it in the Constitution. In Federalist #45 he wrote:

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the Federal Government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State Governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negociation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will for the most part be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects, which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties and properties of the people; and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.

The Tenth Amendment gave Madison’s opinion the force of law, “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.”

When the United States imposed a nationwide ban on the manufacture, transportation and sale of alcohol in 1919, a Constitutional Amendment was required. This is because the Constitution did not, and still does not today, give the federal government the power to prohibit alcohol. (or any other substance, for that matter) As we all know, this was eventually repealed. In 1933 another Constitutional Amendment was required to repeal the previous prohibition.

The federal government now argues that it is allowed to prohibit the possession of marijuana and other drugs, because they fall within the realm of interstate commerce. Obviously, this wasn’t the case back in 1919. So what changed? How could the Commerce Clause of the Constitution morph into something that would apply today?

Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution states that the “Congress shall have the power to regulate commerce among the several states…” This “commerce clause” is the legal bedrock for all federal regulation of business activity that crosses state lines.

We must take note, the Commerce Clause itself was never meant by the Founders to be some sort of blank check for absolute control over anything and everything we do that might have some sort of influence on some sort of commercial activity. But, that distorted view is just what all three branches force us to accept today.

In reality, though, the economic purpose of Article I, Section 8 was almost exactly the opposite of what the government has been telling us since the FDR years.

The original meaning and intent of the Commerce Clause was to make “normal” or “regular” commerce between the states. It was written to ensure that States wouldn’t prohibit the free-flow of commerce from state to state through tariffs, taxes, quotas, and the like. The idea was to ensure that trade was made “regular.” Thus, it was designed to promote trade and not to restrict it.

Since the explicit language used in the Controlled Substances Act, just like economic regulation in most every other realm, prohibits the free flow of goods, it is therefore completely repugnant to the meaning and intent of the Commerce Clause.

Even the great centralizer Alexander Hamilton specifically noted in Federalist #17 that the Commerce Clause would have no effect on such matters:

The administration of private justice between the citizens of the same State, the supervision of agriculture and of other concerns of a similar nature, all those things, in short, which are proper to be provided for by local legislation, can never be desirable cares of a general jurisdiction.

James Madison concurred in Federalist #42 that the commerce clause would “provide for the harmony and proper intercourse among the States.”

Thus, the Commerce Clause has been converted from a power to eliminate prohibitive trade barriers put up by states into all-encompassing police power over anything that the government tells us is “related” to commerce. Therefore, we vehemently reject this distorted use of the commerce clause to interfere with the right of the States and People to determine the legality of marijuana.

Since the commerce clause is not a valid argument for the increase of federal power, we must, then, ask that essential question once again. If all that was needed to ban alcohol was some legislation from Congress that would list it as a banned substance, then why did the government go through so much trouble with the Constitutional Amendments? Why is marijuana different in 2007 than alcohol was in 1919?

The answer is quite simple. It isn’t. Setting constitutional arguments against prohibition aside, the fact remains. To do something of this magnitude – something that the Constitution doesn’t authorize – would require a constitutional amendment. But, as per the norm, our politicians refuse to follow the rules that govern them. With the flick of a pen, they dictate what is good and what is bad. What is allowed and what is not.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice (2006), American taxpayers are now spending more than a billion dollars per year to incarcerate its own citizens for marijuana “violations.”

Sooner or later a new question will have to be asked amongst “We the People”: Does the federal government have the power under the Constitution to stop cities and states from legalizing marijuana?

The answer must be a resounding no!

The 10th Amendment

“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.”



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