Opinion Piece by Samuel Strait – October 28, 2016 –
I have been somewhat remiss in not commenting on Mr. Merriwether’s latest effort, “Another View: Local voters faced with Constitutional dilemma this November” (Triplicate September 15th), but not really. It is another not much more than a complete waste of space on the Triplicate’s Opinion page. I kind of wonder when Editor Fornoff is going to give up on what is almost exclusively Progressive-Liberal propaganda. Clearly Mr. Merriwether, teacher extraordinaire, doesn’t have much more than a loose understanding of the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution and how it has been abused for years by the Federal Government to trample wholesale over what was clearly intended to be a States only area of Governance.
In the first place, the Supremacy Clause was only truly meant to be engaged in a very limited fashion, and if it had remained thus, many of modern society’s problems could have been dealt with on a much smaller scale, within each individual State. As it is we have a transparently idiotic situation where the Federal Government has made marijuana a Class I drug and therefore illegal anywhere in the United States.
While for some time it has been legal to possess Medical Marijuana in many States according to State laws, and it has come to pass that States such as Colorado, Oregon, and Washington have made it legal from a recreational stand point, with California and Proposition 64 quite possibly to follow. The Federal prohibition remains but is not enforced. In other words, if the Federal Government had played within the constraints of the Constitution and not played fast and loose with the Supremacy Clause, the current decisions being made at the State level are where such decisions should have been made in the first place according to intent within the founding document.
Mr. Merriwether’s false concern that this vote is somehow going to sacrifice a key component of the Constitution is only valid if you are in love with an all pervasive and suffocating Federal Bureaucracy, and not how if the Supremacy Clause is correctly interpreted, the States would be making the decisions and the Federal Government would remain small and closely defined.
Mr. Merriwether goes on to blather about violent crime reduction, tax revenue from Cannabis for education and drug rehabilitation, and declining low level crime arrests. Problem being that Cannabis for recreational purposes brings a whole new set of problems into the social arena that no one in the pro prop 64 camp are even talking about, let alone being serious about the positives that appear to have fascinated Mr. Merriwether. I for one, who have at least looked at both sides of the issue, something Mr. Merriwether clearly has not done, am not quite in such a big hurry to take the next step in the Cannibis parade until someone first of all gives Oregon, Washington, and Colorado a chance to see just where all the “flies in the ointment” are and whether or not it can be made to work.
Clearly there are some fundamental issues with the agricultural aspect, water, land use, environmental contamination, competition with food production, and on and on. There are also law enforcement issues, tax
collection issues, and a possible sharp increase in the need for social services and mental health services. I do not see a clear path to increased funding to education as necessarily being an automatic improvement to its end result, Finally, and I trust my life experiences, is that when human beings are placed in positions of being responsible with the new legalized ability to smoke, ingest, or simply rub on ones skin with marijuana, are we to expect that it will not be abused. Someone just has to look at alcohol to realize what a tall order that may become. So, I repeat, what is the rush?
While I will trust my experiences with marijuana and the very real negatives that I have barely even touched on from those experiences, it is a simple choice for me to vote “NO” on prop 64. On this Sunday I will be interviewing two advocates of Cannabis on my radio program (KFUG FM 101.1) from 3 to 4 pm. Perhaps I am missing something along the way and will be listening carefully to what they have to say. In any event, it is very clear that the State and Governor Brown are moving forward and have legislation already in place to address Marijuana. I do not see the forward thinking at our local level, something that needs to be done rather quickly no matter how the vote on Prop 64 turns out.
And finally, while the excise tax income might be appealing to those that run the County and the City, I trust that there will be a much deeper discussion of the overall conditions that we will find ourselves confronting should recreational marijuana become a reality in Del Norte County.