Drug Prohibition: Still Stupid

Pertinacious Tom

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Biden DOJ Says Medical Marijuana Patients Are Too ‘Dangerous To Trust’ In Motion To Dismiss Lawsuit On Gun Rights

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The lawsuit at hand, which was filed by Florida’s Democratic agriculture commissioner Nikki Fried and several medical cannabis consumers, asserts that the federal government is unlawfully depriving patients of their constitutional rights on multiple grounds, and the plaintiffs filed a revised complaint last month following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on an unrelated gun rights case in New York.


As plaintiffs anticipated, DOJ submitted the motion to dismiss the case on Monday, the court-imposed deadline for a response. The government provided a justification for its dismissal request in an attached memorandum.


At a top level, the Justice Department said the gun rights are generally reserved for “law-abiding” people. Florida might have legalized medical cannabis, but the department said that doesn’t matter as long as it remains federally prohibited.
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DOJ clearly spent time attempting to find holes in that argument after the department requested more time to respond in the case before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida. In doing so, however, the department highlighted historical precedent that show a pattern of instituting several controversial gun policies, like restricting firearm rights for Native Americans and people who wouldn’t pledge their patriotism.


Also notably, the department explicitly acknowledges that the U.S. attorney general “has authority to ‘transfer between schedules’ any drug or ‘remove any drug or other substance from the schedules’ if, after considering scientific and medical evaluations and recommendations from the Secretary of Health and Human Services, he finds that the drug meets criteria for a different schedule or does not meet the requirements for any schedule.”


“Since enactment of the CSA, however, the Executive Branch has denied various requests to reschedule marijuana, and marijuana has been and remains a Schedule I drug,” it said, highlighting the Biden administration’s refusal thus far to follow through on campaign pledges to change federal cannabis laws.
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I don't remember any Biden campaign pledge to reschedule cannabis.

Commissioner Nikki Fried Statement on Feds Response to Lawsuit Challenging Policies Infringing on Cannabis Patients’ Constitutional Rights
 

Pertinacious Tom

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Six More States Could Legalize Recreational Marijuana This Fall

Voters in at least five states will decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana this fall, and a similar measure may yet qualify for the ballot in one more state. If all six initiatives are successful, recreational use will be legal in half of the states, underlining the untenability of continuing federal prohibition.
The states are Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, both Dakotas, and Oklahoma.

Yes, Oklahoma. A pretty good sign that the war on weed is all but over, but we still have elected officials who are like those Japanese soldiers you used to hear about who were still fighting WWII long after it ended.
 

Pertinacious Tom

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That's nothin'. Tom was saying the best Republican on marijuana legalization was ... his boy Shitstain.

Good Times.
Sanders is the best of the major party candidates on cannabis prohibition

First ever to say he would support a state legalization effort.


If Rand Paul would take a cue from Sanders and say what he actually thinks, I suspect he would say he favors legalization as well. But he doesn't say what he thinks. I guess he hasn't noticed how much support Trump and Sanders have gotten simply by saying what they think.
Yes, I said that. Sanders was the best the Duopoly had to offer, and still, of course, not as good as a libertarian. But at least not a career drug warrior who wrote our drug war looting laws like Biden.
 

Pertinacious Tom

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1st Circuit Says Maine's Residency Rule for Medical Marijuana Suppliers Is Unconstitutional Protectionism

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas expressed dismay last year at the "contradictory and unstable state of affairs" created by the federal government's "half-in, half-out" approach to marijuana, which "simultaneously tolerates and forbids local use." A federal appeals court recently provided a striking illustration of that confusing situation by ruling that Maine's residency requirement for medical marijuana suppliers amounts to unconstitutional protectionism.

Maine's Medical Use of Marijuana Act, enacted in 2009, requires that the "officers" and "directors" of businesses that sell cannabis to patients be residents of the state. Those terms are defined broadly to include managers and anyone with an ownership interest, meaning that even stockholders must be Maine residents.

High Street Capital, a corporation registered in Delaware, wants to buy Northeast Patients Group, a business owned by Maine residents that operates three medical marijuana dispensaries. Because that deal would run afoul of Maine's residency requirement, the two companies challenged the law in federal court, arguing that it violates the "dormant Commerce Clause," a doctrine that forbids interstate trade barriers aimed at protecting in-state businesses from competition. Last year, a federal judge agreed, and last week a divided three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit upheld that decision.

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Writing in dissent, Judge Gustavo Gelpí agrees that Maine's residency requirement "incontestably constitutes protectionist legislation." But he argues that "the 'fundamental objective' of the dormant Commerce Clause to preserve a competitive national market is inapplicable, because Congress has already outlawed the national market for marijuana." As Gelpi sees it, "illegal markets are constitutionally different in kind" from markets in legal products such as wine or eggs.


"The law presumes the public interest is best served by maintaining an unencumbered 'national market for competition' in legal goods and services," Gelpi writes. "However, it makes little sense to retain this presumption when Congress has explicitly acted to make the market in question illegal, because the premise that the dormant Commerce Clause enshrines…does not hold. The Commerce Clause does not recognize an interest in promoting a competitive market in illegal goods or services or forestalling hypothetical interstate rivalries in the same."


In 2020, business immigration lawyer Jack Scrantom notes in a post on Harris Bricken's website, Maine "issued policy guidance stating it would not enforce the residency requirement for cannabis licensees in the recreational marketplace." The Maine Attorney General's Office determined that the state was "unlikely to prevail" in defending that requirement against a dormant Commerce Clause challenge.


Such challenges have been successful in at least two other circuits. Last year, a federal judge in Missouri, which is part of the 8th Circuit, permanently enjoined enforcement of a state rule requiring that medical marijuana businesses be mostly owned by people who have lived in Missouri for at least a year. Also in 2021, a federal judge in Michigan, part of the 6th Circuit, issued a preliminary injunction against Detroit's preferential treatment of "legacy applicants" for recreational marijuana licenses, defined by residence in the city for at least 10 years.


Scrantom says the 1st Circuit's decision "may lead to more challenges of similar state cannabis regulations within the First Circuit as well as in other jurisdictions." Marijuana Moment suggests the ruling could have "far-reaching implications for interstate cannabis commerce" and "could create possible complications for social equity programs."


Vanderbilt University law professor Robert Mikos, an expert on marijuana federalism, says the same argument that doomed Maine's residency requirement could be deployed against bans on importation in states that have legalized marijuana. "I think this is going to be the next shoe to drop," Mikos told Marijuana Moment. "I see no way to distinguish licensing preferences from those bans on imports and exports. I think they're equally vulnerable."

The dormant commerce clause power would seem inapplicable where Congress has chosen to act, but they chose to act in a self-contradictory manner, leaving courts to figure it out.
 

Pertinacious Tom

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Billions of U.S. dollars have funded a strategy focused largely on destroying the cocaine trade at its point of origin: the fields of rural Colombia. U.S. training and intelligence have propelled Colombia’s decades-long military efforts to eradicate coca, the base plant for cocaine, and dismantle drug trafficking groups. And yet more than a half century after President Richard M. Nixon declared drugs “America’s public enemy number one,” the Colombian trade has reached record levels. Coca cultivation has tripled in the last decade, according to U.S. figures.

Uh oh. I wonder if the tripling of coca cultivation means that drug warriors will be inspired to triple down on stupid instead of the usual doubling down? The article notes that the Biden administration continues Nixon's policy, as have all the administrations in between. It's still stupid.
 

Pertinacious Tom

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New York Set to Hobble 'Legal' Cannabis with Taxes and Regulations

Of course they are

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"New York is the first to offer its initial dispensary licenses solely to entrepreneurs with marijuana convictions," according to Politico. "It's a move aimed at offering an advantage to people, disproportionately in Black and brown communities, harmed by the war on drugs."


That's a nice sentiment, but it tries to mold a market into a politically favored form rather than a natural expression of free human interactions. California offers a case study in how trying to create the market politicians want makes it accessible only to those with connections and compliance departments.
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I wish I had some reasons to believe that politicians want something more than "connection$."
 

Pertinacious Tom

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And yet, the cost to the consumer is a whole lot cheaper now than it was in the no-tax days.
If by "no tax days" you mean the black market, the illegal market still dominates in every state last I looked.

In any case, I used to get really nice Colombian gold for $35/oz when I was a kid in Miami. Reagan's expansion of Nixon's stupid drug war resulted in many smugglers switching to cocaine and higher risks for those still willing to import cannabis due to policies like the drug war looting that I recently learned you join me in disapproving, so the price went up after his election.

Prohibition and taxes affect markets similarly, sometimes by design. The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was a prohibition measure, never actually designed to collect revenue.
 

Raz'r

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If by "no tax days" you mean the black market, the illegal market still dominates in every state last I looked.

In any case, I used to get really nice Colombian gold for $35/oz when I was a kid in Miami. Reagan's expansion of Nixon's stupid drug war resulted in many smugglers switching to cocaine and higher risks for those still willing to import cannabis due to policies like the drug war looting that I recently learned you join me in disapproving, so the price went up after his election.

Prohibition and taxes affect markets similarly, sometimes by design. The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was a prohibition measure, never actually designed to collect revenue.
yes, it was cheap when I was a kid, but for $100, delivered to my door, I just had 40 "doses" delivered to my door. I personally like the ability to dial in the dose.
 

Olsonist

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And yet, the cost to the consumer is a whole lot cheaper now than it was in the no-tax days.

That's because the Medellín (drug war) tax was greater than the Sacramento tax.
Tom doesn't mind paying the Medellín tax but he minds paying the Tallahassee tax.
Why is that Tom?
 

Pertinacious Tom

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That's because the Medellín (drug war) tax was greater than the Sacramento tax.
Tom doesn't mind paying the Medellín tax but he minds paying the Tallahassee tax.
Why is that Tom?
If the drug war tax were really greater, the legal market would dominate. It doesn't, unless my info needs updating.

Please update with a source if it does.

Your accusation that I like the stupid drug war is ironic, coming as it does from a Biden supporter. Why do you support a career drug warrior who wrote our drug war looting laws? I think the drug war is stupid and the Reagan/Biden drug war looting program is perhaps the worst aspect of it.
 

veni vidi vici

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If the drug war tax were really greater, the legal market would dominate. It doesn't, unless my info needs updating.

Please update with a source if it does.

Your accusation that I like the stupid drug war is ironic, coming as it does from a Biden supporter. Why do you support a career drug warrior who wrote our drug war looting laws? I think the drug war is stupid and the Reagan/Biden drug war looting program is perhaps the worst aspect of it.
The IRS is licking their chops with fines and seizures once the 87K cavalry arrives
 
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