December 4, 2004
Letter to the Denver Rocky Mountain News.
December 3, 2004
Letters to the Editor
Rocky Mountain News
P.O. Box 719
Denver, CO 80201
Thank you for publishing Robert J. Corry Jr.’s guest column of December 3, in which he makes many fine points about the insanity of the Drug War.
No one should be forced to suffer excruciating pain because the law denies them access to the only substance that has shown to alleviate this pain. These are the real-world implications of the Drug War for people like Mr. Dana May, a medical marijuana patient whom Mr. Corry so nobly represented.
Mr. Corry correctly argues that growing marijuana in one’s own home and consuming there as well does not constitute interstate commerce and therefore is outside the scope of the Commerce Clause in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. However, there are two other principles at issue when one analyzes the constitutionality of the Drug War.
The Ninth Amendment states “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” The Constitution exists to restrain the federal government, not the people. While the Constitution does not directly mention medicine, it protects the right to medicate oneself as one sees fit. (Attention Christian conservatives: It is this same Ninth Amendment that protects your right to home school your children.)
The Tenth Amendment states “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.” Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution spells out 18 things the federal government can do. The Tenth Amendment forbids it from engaging in any other activity.
Mr. Corry is absolutely correct when the states that “The Founding Fathers' dream of a limited federal government of enumerated powers has become a twisted nightmare where the Constitution does not mean what it says.” There is simply no constitutional basis for the War on Drugs, much less for federal agents to conduct Gestapo-style raids on non-violent people whose only offense lies in medicating themselves in the only way they have found that works.
I am not an attorney. However, I can read. And the Constitution I read forbids a War on Drugs. We must make the ability to read the Constitution and to apply it as written a litmus test for judges as well as all public officials.
Douglas F. Newman
See also: Christan Compassion That Kills.
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Freely Speaking: Essays by Doug Newman