Saturday, May 17, 2008

Criminalizing California

Two California men are looking at mandatory 20-year prison sentences after a federal jury in Fresno convicted them Thursday of running a medical-marijuana operation.

California voters legalized medical marijuana in 1996. However, the federal government believes its own law banning marijuana takes precedence over anything the people of California might decide, in their looney and liberty-loving way, to put on the state ballot and pass overwhelmingly.

In fact, the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reserves to the looney and liberty-loving people of California the power to legalize marijuana, because the Constitution does not give the federal government the power to ban a substance that is made, distributed and used within state borders.

That's why, back in 1919, Prohibition required a constitutional amendment.

Perhaps anticipating the argument, federal prosecutors in this case made a special point of noting that the business run by Luke Anthony Scarmazzo and Ricardo Ruiz Montes was illegal under California law as well as federal law.

"California's medical marijuana law clearly sets out that making a profit selling marijuana is illegal," U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott told reporters.

Anyone who has ever run a business in California can tell you that the state takes a very dim view of making a profit.

Regardless, the U.S. Constitution doesn't give the federal government the power to do what it has been doing under the Controlled Substances Act for thirty-some years, which is usurp the power of the people of each state to pass their own laws regulating matters of general health and welfare.

You might be interested to read "Marijuana, Prohibition and the Tenth Amendment" at

Copyright 2008


The Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads, "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."

The 18th Amendment, ratified in 1919, declares, "the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited."

The 21st Amendment, ratified in 1933, states, "The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed."