Pubdate: Mon, 11 Oct 2010
Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Copyright: 2010 Abdi Soltani
Author: Abdi Soltani
Note: 1 of 7 responses to this OPED


Regarding "California Pot Initiative: Don't Forget About Federal Law" (by
John Bartels and eight other former administrators of the Drug Enforcement
Administration, op-ed, Oct. 6): The use of the Constitution's Supremacy
Clause and international treaty arguments against Proposition 19 by former
DEA officials is political posturing posing as legal analysis. While it is
true that under the Supremacy Clause state law cannot create a shield
protecting state citizens from the reach of federal drug laws, Proposition
19 would not do that. If it passes, California would no longer punish
adults for possessing and cultivating small amounts of marijuana for
personal use, and cities and counties could permit and tax commercial sales
without violating state law. Proposition 19 is as constitutionally valid as
the medical marijuana laws in 14 states and the District of Columbia. This
is because the federal government can't force California to expend state
resources to prosecute small-scale marijuana offenses, nor require
California to retain state laws prohibiting marijuana sales-or any other
law. These are bedrock constitutional principles that the former heads of a
federal agency surely understand, and that no administration can ignore or
overrule in the name of complying with purported international treaty

Abdi Soltani

Executive Director

ACLU of Northern California

San Francisco
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