A Tenth Amendment victory?by Jason Pye
This may be the only time that President Obama doesn’t try to undermine the sovereignty of individual states granted by the Tenth Amendment, but I’ll take it:
Drug Enforcement Administration agents this week raided four medical marijuana shops in California, contrary to President Obama’s campaign promises to stop the raids.
The White House said it expects those kinds of raids to end once Mr. Obama nominates someone to take charge of DEA, which is still run by Bush administration holdovers.
“The president believes that federal resources should not be used to circumvent state laws, and as he continues to appoint senior leadership to fill out the ranks of the federal government, he expects them to review their policies with that in mind,” White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said.
Medical use of marijuana is legal under the law in California and a dozen other states, but the federal government under President Bush, bolstered by a 2005 Supreme Court ruling, argued that federal interests trumped state law.
Unfortunately, people like Charles Lynch (his story has been covered by Reason) are facing jail time for operating legally under California state law, but against federal laws (Lynch was convicted on federal charges).
Another point to be made is that Obama actually shares common ground some of the “conservative” members of the Supreme Court who voted in favor of state sovereignty in Gonzales v. Raich. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his dissent, “Our federalist system, properly understood, allows California and a growing number of other States to decide for themselves how to safeguard the health and welfare of their citizens.”
The Democrat is more for “state’s rights” (I don’t like that term) than his Republican predecessor. Who would of bet on that?