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July 2010
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Jeff Sweetin teaches us about the Constitution

The outspoken head of Denver’s DEA operation that clashed with medical marijuana laws in that state, is leaving Colorado for a new assignment. He has been considered by many to be an over-zealous anti-marijuana fanatic, who ignored the new Attorney General’s guidelines.

However, he points out that any replacement is likely to be as bad.

“The person who takes my place is going to have the same mission I have,” Sweetin said.

DEA agents are sworn to uphold the constitution, and marijuana remains illegal under federal law, he said.

Ummm, hate to break it to you, but federal law is not the Constitution. And in fact, putting “marijuana,” “federal law,” and “the Constitution” in the same sentence is likely to cause it to explode from the inherent contradictions.

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28 comments to Jeff Sweetin teaches us about the Constitution

  • Ken

    Good fucking riddance. Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out, we here in Denver won’t miss you one bit.

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Marijuana News and J, Chattertrap. Chattertrap said: Jeff Sweetin teaches us about the Constitution http://chtr.it/maYvm6 #pot #cannabis […]

  • Cannabis

    Shorter Sweetin: “We can’t send a message to them that we are giving up.” What is it with these idiots and sending messages?

  • paul

    The voters have been sending the drug warriors a message, too, and it gets louder every year.

  • claygooding

    We are sending the DEA messages every day since they began and they,like the cartels,ignore them. Sometimes I think they are the same organization.

  • Skippy

    Bwahaha that picture with the puppet made me laugh, thank you. I thought the best government money could buy made it up as they went along. Didn’t Shrub the lesser say the constitution was just a “goddamned piece of paper.”

  • strayan

    I like how these morons don’t seem to realise that laws can be changed.

  • Scott

    Hey, look.

    Elmo is introducing us to a puppet.

    I must add that I am offended by the blatant abuse of Elmo demonstrated in that photo.

    You can never convince me that Elmo would go the direction of the DEA instead of being a regular visitor at the annual Cannabis Cup. Never.

  • Scott

    “DEA agents are sworn to uphold the constitution…”

    Oh, good. Then we are all on the same page.

    To uphold our Constitution, repeal the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) immediately.

    Here are some basics, Mr. Sweetin.

    Alcohol Prohibition required a federal constitutional amendment. There are two in our Constitution about that prohibition, the second ending it for reasons that should have prevented the CSA from ever existing.

    Alcohol is a drug, scientifically speaking.

    If Alcohol Prohibition requires a federal constitutional amendment, rationality and fairness — two obvious needs when it comes to justice — demand a similar amendment for the prohibition of any drug.

    And yet, there is no such amendment.

    That leaves us with two major points:

    1. The pathetic workaround to the above fact.

    In the public record, it shows the Commerce Clause is the sole constitutional basis for the CSA, according to our judicial branch (e.g. Gonzales v. Raich).

    To see how ridiculous this is, let us provide a simple comparison.

    “To regulate commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;” – U.S. Constitution (Commerce Clause in its entirety)

    The free growth, free distribution, and free possession of marijuana — all within a single state — is federally banned due to those 16 words.

    Justice Clarence Thomas, in his dissent in the aforementioned case, put it very well:

    “Respondents Diane Monson and Angel Raich use marijuana that has never been bought or sold, that has never crossed state lines, and that has had no demonstrable effect on the national market for marijuana. If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything–and the Federal Government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers.” (emphasis mine)

    Our Supreme Court is insanely telling us (in the public record, for crying out loud) to avoid looking to our Constitution to find the constitutional basis for the CSA.

    We need to look at their decisions instead, where judicial activism was blatantly exercised at the highest level of our judicial branch to redefine the Commerce Clause as:

    “To regulate any activity having a substantial affect on interstate commerce.” – U.S. Supreme Court (emphasis mine)

    Since possessing a tiny amount of marijuana has been ruled to have that affect, then your thought activity (determining every part of your buying and selling decisions) can rationally be banned or regulated as our society sees fit.

    That fact makes for a perfectly smooth transition to the other major point.

    2. Liberty is clearly defined in the U.S. as a self-evidently naturally-given and unalienable right without exception.

    That right is clearly legally protected by the ninth amendment that is apparently ignored by our judicial branch when in court.

    This means an American can do whatever desired, as long as there is no direct infringement upon the rights of another person.

    The message in that last paragraph must guide American society when defining our laws, not the crude and arbitrarily-drawn legal lines separating acceptable and unacceptable acts that can be abused.

    Alcohol Prohibition was never truly authorized to be a federal constitutional amendment, because the right of responsible alcohol users — who were not infringing upon anyone else’s rights — was unjustly taken away from them (defying the unalienable part of liberty).

    It is illegal to ban or regulate use to go after abuse.

    That is the price we pay to have optimal liberty in a civilized society (optimal in that the only limit against liberty is the right itself), what I call true liberty to simplify communication.

    True liberty exists to empower the minority to strengthen our nation (implementing the only solution opposing the devastating abuse of power, the balance of power wherever power exists).

    True liberty was intentionally placed in our written foundation to transcend anyone in power, since that is the only way to protect the minority.

    True liberty has never been realized, despite our obligation to do so.

    “We the people” must change that now.

    That is real change we can believe in.

  • Dante

    I found this ironic:

    From the article:
    “As Sweetin became more outspoken about marijuana in Colorado, the personal attacks increased.

    “Medical-marijuana proponents threatened my life and the lives of my family,” he said. “We are not thin-skinned. It’s OK to disagree with us, but I don’t agree with personal attacks. That’s cowardice. But people who legitimately stood up, I think that is fine.”

    So, let’s review: He leads a band of soldiers, armed to the teeth, into your homes in the middle of the night. He shoots your dog, and also your child, without provocation. He jails you and the rest of your family, takes your posessions, and kills your career.

    But don’t threaten him. That’s not fair. Waaah.

  • Maria

    @Dante Yeah, isn’t it grand? All’s fair in the drug war as long as you don’t call the puppet masters a bunch of hypocritical, fallacious, cruel, close-minded, circle jerking assholes. Or something.

    Assholes who, despite everything they’ve done and all the damage that has been unleashed through the decades; who, despite all that, don’t deserve to go through the stuff they sign off on and dish out – no, not because they are “good people” at heart who “want the best for us all” but because it’s wrong to do what they do to any one at all.

    So, remember, don’t you dare call them a bad name because only -then- is this whole farce no longer civilized. It might hurt their feelings and make them feel threatened – and take the conversation down into the gutter, you know, where their actions already are. “Goodness gracious, why is everyone so angry at me? What have I done? *innocent puppy dog eyes*” Says the man holding the spent match and gasoline can as the village burns down around him.

    But enough about that blood boiling badness! Poor Elmo. What in the world is going on in that picture? Elmo saying no to Drugs with a hand shoved up his rectum? Is it supposed to be illustrative of a particular message? I think I might have gotten the wrong one.

    In an alternative world he and the Cookie Monster run their own farm and bakery operation. Employing 30 people, donating to the local charities, sourcing local ingredients, helping their old pal Big Bird live with cancer, all while paying their taxes and being part of the local economy with the help of the stellar accounting skills of the Count. Who’s own drug of choice, by the way, is a rich glass of barrel aged port, drunk as a nightcap.

  • Cliff

    “In an alternative world he and the Cookie Monster run their own farm and bakery operation. Employing 30 people, donating to the local charities, sourcing local ingredients, helping their old pal Big Bird live with cancer, all while paying their taxes and being part of the local economy with the help of the stellar accounting skills of the Count. Who’s own drug of choice, by the way, is a rich glass of barrel aged port, drunk as a nightcap.”

    That made my day, thinking about a world where solid hard working people are helping each other out cooperatively and compassionatly.

    Speaking of that, here in Colorado, Jeffery Sweetin has obviously poisoned the well for medical cannabis and many communities are enacting moratoriums or outright bans on medical cannabis facilities due to new legislation enacted by the Colorado State government.

    Under the false pretense of compassion and access to medical cannabis Colorado has basically strangled the medical cannabis industry with the most byzantine of complex rules and a liberal dose of punishments and penalties for those who try to make an honest living providing medicine to those who need it. This legal and legeslative onslaught have basically taken away the constitutional vote of Coloradoans in 2000 when we voted for mediacl cannabis.

    Good job Sweetin, I hope there is a specially warmed place in the 8th circle of hell when you depart this mortal coil. This is a special place for people like you, frauds (seducers, flatterers, those who exchange money for spiritual goods, sorcerers/false prophets, corrupt politicians, hypocrites, thieves, sowers of discord, etc.). Many people have endured a personal hell on earth because of you and your cohorts’ actions.

  • White Rose

    Nice Sophie Scholl avatar Maria! Awesome-O

  • Just me.

    One day I awoke,
    The veil removed from my eyes.
    Before me was horror,
    The corruption and lies.

    All I thought I knew,
    All I thought was right.
    My world is a puppet show,
    the players give me fright.

    For the chains they forge,
    Are for you and me.
    We will never see light,
    unless we fight to be free.

    Money ,power , and wealth,
    Is all they lust,all they crave.
    Laws they willuse against us,
    Our lives they will enslave.

    Lord my eyes are open,
    my mind and body sore.
    Please make me your tool,
    To end this WAR !

    “Republic . . .
    it means people can live free,
    talk free, go or come, buy or sell,
    be drunk or sober, however they choose.”
    ~ John Wayne

  • Duncan

    Scott, it bothers me every time I read someone arguing that alcohol prohibition required a Constitutional amendment in order to be made illegal on the Federal level because my memory is that the prohibitionists only sought a Constitutional amendment in order to make repeal more unlikely. The very same reason that the UN Single Convention treaties were made. Not because it was needed to implement prohibition but as an attempt to circumvent the possibility of repeal. The Federal Bureau of Narcotics was created during alcohol prohibition and no attempt to amend the Constitution was made.

    “Pauline Morton Sabin told Congress in 1930, “…women played a large part in the enactment [of prohibition]… They are now realizing with heart burning and heart aching that if the spirit is not within, legislation can be of no avail. They thought they could make prohibition as strong as the Constitution, but instead have made the Constitution as weak as prohibition…” She went on to say that before prohibition, her children had no access to alcohol. During prohibition they could get it anywhere.” http://tinyurl.com/2bjmhud

    Just like holding a Patent for something doesn’t mean that the something works, the fact that they passed the Constitutional amendment doesn’t mean it was needed in order to make drugs/alcohol illegal.

  • GuywithComment

    “Ummm, hate to break it to you, but federal law is not the Constitution.”

    I don’t understand this statement. Are you saying the U.S. Constitution doesn’t count as federal law? There are people, including some Supreme Court justices, who think Gonzales v. Raich was wrongly decided (and maybe this was sort of your point), but I can’t think of anyone who claims the Constitution is not federal law.

    “And in fact, putting ‘marijuana,’ ‘federal law,’ and ‘the Constitution’ in the same sentence is likely to cause it to explode from the inherent contradictions.”

    Is your position that Congress can’t regulate even interstate shipments of marijuana because the Constitution doesn’t . . . authorize the regulation of interstate commerce?

    Or is this whole post really a Spoonerist claim that the Constitution is not really law at all?

  • Scott

    Your point is well taken, Duncan.

    All I know is there are two constitutional amendments in our Constitution, one that began Alcohol Prohibition and one that ended it.

    I reasonably assumed that given how extraordinarily challenging it is to pass a federal constitutional amendment (it requires a majority nearly impossible to achieve just to propose one), they would only bother to do so out of necessity, especially considering the ninth amendment.

    But now that you point it out, I agree that it is not a requirement. Thank you for the correction.

    Alcohol Prohibition was still illegal.

    The Controlled Substances Act is still illegal.

    I still agree with our written foundation that our laws need to be defined based on direct rights infringement, instead of ignoring that need in favor of expanding the enormous legal mess giving us over 70,000 pages of federal regulations alone before Obama took office.

    I do not see any evidence firmly proving a net reduction in tragedy due to the ridiculous degree of banning and regulating.

    Stop adding regulations and start challenging them. Our government is out of control. A balance of power between the government and the governed must be restored for national stability.

  • @GuywithComment…

    The Constitution is the Constitution. It is made up of a preamble, seven articles, and some amendments.

    Federal law is federal law. There are probably millions of federal laws. Pretty much anything passed by Congress and signed by the President is federal law. That doesn’t mean that it’s part of the Constitution. It also doesn’t meant that it’s Constitutional.

    And if you’re swearing to uphold the Constitution, then you are not swearing to uphold federal law if it conflicts with the Constitution.

    The Constitution is not federal law. It is law, but it is fundamental law that is an establishment of a system of government. It can’t very well be federal law if it, in fact, determines what federal law can be. It is the document that specifically lays out what powers are granted to the government by the people (including specific law-making powers) and also detailing certain limits.

    “And in fact, putting ‘marijuana,’ ‘federal law,’ and ‘the Constitution’ in the same sentence is likely to cause it to explode from the inherent contradictions.”

    Is your position that Congress can’t regulate even interstate shipments of marijuana because the Constitution doesn’t . . . authorize the regulation of interstate commerce?

    No, because the Supreme Court has ruled that the Constitution does allow Congress to do not only that, but a whole lot more. I disagree with the Supreme Court (particularly with their nightmare decision in Raich), but accept their authority to rule in that way. However, for many of us familiar with the history of marijuana prohibition and the Supreme Court’s drug war exception to the Bill of Rights and their bizarre interpretation of the Commerce Clause, just the notion of federal criminal laws prohibiting a plant still causes us to shiver.

  • BluOx

    “Promoted” is an obvious way of saying ‘reassigned out to pasture’. This guy must be ‘the reincarnated Harry Anslinger’. Evidently, he can now vent his stuff on Afgans and Colorado is now “SAFER”.

  • @Duncan — at the time alcohol prohibition was passed, there was the sense that the federal government did not have the power to prohibit it (particularly in any criminal way). That was a power left to the states. It is precisely because the courts had been generally ruling that the federal government did not have this kind of power that they had to go with the Constitutional Amendment.

    Remember that for the early decades of drug prohibition, it was not a criminal prohibition against drug possession, sale, or manufacture. The Harrison Act, passed in 1914, required sellers of opiates and cocaine to get a license. The Marijuana Tax Act in 1937 was, of course, a tax, not a prohibition. Of course, both were underhanded ways of getting around the fact that the federal government couldn’t criminalize such acts (only the domain of the states). In 1938, the Food Drug and Safety Act allowed the federal government to regulate safety. In 1951, the Boggs Amendment added mandatory sentences, for those who violated “the import/export and internal revenue laws related to drugs.”

    Eventually, the Federal government started using the Commerce Clause more and more the get around the restrictions on their powers, particularly after Wickard v. Filburn in 1942.

  • Scott

    Alcohol Prohibition did require a federal constitutional amendment.

    Alcohol Prohibition did not require a federal constitutional amendment.

    Alcohol Prohibition did require a federal constitutional amendment.

    Aaaaaah!!! 🙂

  • neither regulation of the plant kingdom nor regulation of any acts an individual chooses to invoke toward or against himself are powers that any government can legitimately possess.

    therefore, i urge all of you who think that states should decide what to do about drug legalization should reconsider your position just a bit. the role of the state should extend no further than it does for the regulation or production and sales of any other drug.

    no one (hence no government of “ones”), has the right to punish you for what you do to yourself, nor the right to declare any lifeforms “illegal.”

    what we need is a federal government that offers us the protection that ensures the states themselves don’t trample all over our right to decide for ourselves which acts to inflict upon ourselves of our own free will.

    there is one stance we all need to take: no more outlawing and no more punishing of self-directed behaviors.

  • Cannabis

    On the Limits of Supremacy: Medical Marijuana and the States’ Overlooked Power to Legalize Federal Crime
    Robert A. Mikos
    Vanderbilt Law School
    http://ssrn.com/abstract_id=1356093

  • Richard Steeb

    Wickard v Filburn was a large mistake. Raich was cantilevered way out past the Tenth Amendment on that faulty foundation. Time for a major reversal.

    And the CSA with Schedule I Cannabis is a damned lie, constitutionality notwithstanding.

    Repudiate it, we shall, this November!

    Richard P Steeb, San Jose California

  • darkcycle

    Mr. Sweetin, the number of the day is 7, the letter of the day is D. The letter D. stands for ‘discretion’. You are undoubtedly aware that the excercise of discretion is available to every person in the legal and prosecutorial chain. From the highest judge to the lowliest traffic cop (who may just let you off with a warning, if you’re nice), one of the persons in that chain has the option of not pursueing a procecution or arrest. That’s why we don’t see an overflowing court system from sodomy laws. We, as a society, and officials, from law enforcement up, use DISCRETION, and do not enforce those laws. Now, AG holder has asked for DISCRETION in enforcing pot laws in states where MMJ is legal. Maybe you should go back to policeman school, where I’m sure they discuss this very important word.

  • rick, i’m totally pulling for you guys out there — but honestly, my gut tells me it doesn’t look good.

  • Bryan

    My first thought when looking at the photo after reading it was,
    “Ok then, so I guess that cop their in the back has his hands up BOTH those puppet’s asses…”

    Not really a total surprise – still though, He must be a really talented multi-tasker to pull that off!