There is a lawyer in Connecticut that is pushing an argument to end all arguments. The odds of it working is quite slim, however his approach is unique.
Aaron Romano is calling drug prohibition unconstitutional on the premise that many states based their anti-cannabis laws on the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 and argues that the federal law is based on racism and bigotry towards minorities, rendering it unconstitutional.
In fact, the original Marihuana Tax Act was rendered unconstitutional and was replaced in 1970 with our current prohibition model, The Controlled Substance Act. However, if we’re going to be frank about the CSA we need to address the motivations for why it was created in the first place.
The Origins of the Drug War
In 1970, the White House was plagued by anti-war protests. The sitting President, Richard Nixon wanted to get rid of the protests but was constitutionally bound to allow it to happen. Simultaneously, Nixon ordered a study on the ‘negative effects of cannabis’ with the Schaefer Commission who concluded that not only is cannabis ‘less dangerous than alcohol, but that the government should legalize it.’
Nixon in turn, enacted the Controlled Substance Act, which placed cannabis in the same category as Heroin and Crack. Why did he do this?
To quote Nixon’s domestic policy chief, John Ehrlichman, “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people…”
Ehrlichman continues, “You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities… we could arrest their leaders. raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”
So what does this tell us about the CSA? It was based on bigotry and racism towards minorities. Wouldn’t that render the current law unconstitutional as well? Especially since we have a top official, who worked under Nixon stating it as fact and not fiction?
Wouldn’t this violate the 14th Amendment which provides American citizens “Equal protection from government entities” and seeing that the CSA was deliberately enacted to suppress minorities, it should technically be unconstitutional.
Don’t even get me started on the “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” aspects of the constitution, of which drug prohibition has managed to violate all three.
A Snowball’s Chance in Hell
While Arron Romano is absolutely correct in calling the CSA unconstitutional, his argument will probably be shot down. The courts will side with the current law, irrespective if it’s correct or not. They have always sided with the current law.
Thus, while Romano is trying to create some sense of consciousness surrounding this fact, odds are that he won’t get very far except for the several independent media sources picking up on the story. This at least sends a direct message to millions of people to view the CSA in a different light.
This includes me. I decided to pick up this story because of the very same reason. Perhaps, through this article I can educate enough people to start creating a conversation about the policy that has oppressed and incarcerated millions of people over the past 47 years.
Call to Arms
The Cannabis Movement has gained massive strides over the past few years. This all happened when there was an active government agency doing everything in its power to undermine the industry. However, the war is far from over….
With people like Jeff Sessions sitting at the helm of the Department of Justice, with antiquated ideas and failed ideologies surrounding the modern day drug environment, there is still a lot of harm the federal government can do.
It will be up to each and every one of us to do our part to finally drive that bloody stake right into the heart of the “vampiric” policy that plagues the US. It’s time that we annoy the hell out of our representatives by sending them evidence that the drug war has failed. To educate them on the fact that the policy is actually unconstitutional. To raise the collective voice of the cannabis culture and say “no more!”
There are roughly 50 million people in the US that have tried cannabis in the past year, roughly 30 million of them are active smokers.
That’s not a small group of people. If we all put our differences aside and work together to break down this corrosive policy…we can do it. There is strength in numbers and it’s time we stop being so passive about our right to choose.
It is your duty as a free citizen to disobey bad laws and the Controlled Substance Act is one of the worst ones out there.
So, raise your voice and stand up for your rights…