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John F. Kennedy Liberal Democrat

John F. Kennedy Liberal Democrat
Source: U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy in 1960

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Week: Opinion: Ryan Cooper: The Beginning of The End of The War on Drugs

The Week: Opinion: Ryan Cooper: The Beginning of The End of The War on Drugs

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

I think it’s a mistake to put same-sex marriage in the same group and discussion as the War on Drugs. Because a big reason why so much progress has been made on marriage equality has to do with the American courts. Ruling that these gay marriage bans are unconstitutional because they are discriminating, because they create two different classes. One for straits and the other for gays. Straights can marry because they are straight and gays can’t simply because they want to marry someone of the same gender. Which is why gay marriage bans are unconstitutional because it empowers one class of Americans over another.

I’m sure there are certain unconstitutional aspects of the War on Drugs. But the fact is under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, the Federal Government gets to decide what they’ll allow to be legal and what they won’t. Unless there’s already a constitutional right to own or purchase something, like firearms. Where all Americans have the constitutional right to purchase and own firearms. There is no constitutional right in America to purchase one drug or another. The Federal Government gets to decide what they’ll outlaw and legalize and what they’ll enforce and what they won’t.

Which is why we aren’t seeing state bans on marijuana being thrown out by U.S. courts or state courts because those laws are constitutional. And why the federal Controlled Substance Act won’t get thrown out by any court. Because those drugs are substances and potential commerce and the U.S. Government has the right to decide what commerce is legal and what isn’t. Look, I would love see the War on Drugs, a bogus war that is not real and not a real war, I would love to see it get thrown out as unconstitutional. And we legalize marijuana at the federal level and decriminalize heroin, cocaine and meth at least to the extent that users and dealers aren’t treated as the same. Users and addicts get rehab at their expense and dealers go to jail.

But these things aren’t going to happen through the court system for the most part. The way you defeat the War on Drugs as far as finally ending it, because it as already lost politically, is through the legislative and political process. Get the word out across the country that marijuana is not something that should be endorsed, but that is has similar side-effects as alcohol. And it is a waste of money arresting people and sending them to prison for simple possession or usage of marijuana. Go state by state and lobby Congress as well and not just young Democrats, but Representatives and Senators of both parties. As well as continue to push ballot measures.