Voters in Massachusetts have approved a ballot measure legalizing marijuana for general use by adults, a big step toward nullifying the unconstitutional federal prohibition of cannabis in effect.
With 64 percent of the precincts reporting, Tenth Amendment Center projects Question 4 as the winner by a margin of 53-47.
With passage of Question 4, adults over 21 will be able to possess and cultivate up to ten ounces of cannabis, although consumption will not be allowed in public. Marijuana products will be taxed and regulated in a process similar to alcohol in the state.
However, all of this is prohibited under the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA), an unconstitutional measure passed in 1970. Of course, the federal government lacks any constitutional authority to ban or regulate marijuana within the borders of a state, despite the opinion of the politically connected lawyers on the Supreme Court. If you doubt this, ask yourself why it took a constitutional amendment to institute federal alcohol prohibition.
Legalization of marijuana in Massachusetts removes a huge layer of laws prohibiting the possession and use of marijuana, but federal prohibition will remain on the books.
FBI statistics show that law enforcement makes approximately 99 of 100 marijuana arrests under state, not federal law. By mostly ending state prohibition, Massachusetts essentially sweeps away most of the basis for 99 percent of marijuana arrests.
Furthermore, figures indicate it would take 40 percent of the DEA’s yearly-budget just to investigate and raid all of the dispensaries in Los Angeles – a single city in a single state. That doesn’t include the cost of prosecution. The lesson? The feds lack the resources to enforce marijuana prohibition without state assistance.
A GROWING MOVEMENT
Massachusetts was one of eight states with measures on the ballot to to legalize marijuana for either for medical or general adult use today. This is the largest number of states that have considered nullifying marijuana prohibition in a single election cycle.
The state joins a growing number that are simply ignoring federal prohibition, and nullifying it in practice. Colorado, Washington state, Oregon and Alaska have all legalized both recreational and medical marijuana, and more than two-dozen states now allow cannabis for medical use, with Florida joining them earlier tonight.
With half the country legalizing marijuana, the feds find themselves in a position where they simply can’t enforce prohibition any more.
The lesson here is pretty straight forward. When enough people say, ‘No!’ to the federal government, and enough states pass laws backing those people up, there’s not much the feds can do to shove their so-called laws, regulations or mandates down our throats.
Michael Boldin [send him email] is the founder of the Tenth Amendment Center, where this article first appeared. He was raised in Milwaukee, WI, and currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.Follow him on twitter – @michaelboldin, on LinkedIn, and on Facebook.