Constitutionally, the federal government doesn’t have the authority to ban the production and sale of a plant. (learn more here)  States resisting federal “laws” banning marijuana (cannabis is the correct term, rather than the popular one), are affirming the proper view of Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the Constitution – the commerce clause.

Blue – Introduced. Yellow – Passed one or more Houses. Red – Passed both Houses. Green – Medical Law. Purple – Recreational Law.

As understood at the time of the founding, the regulation of commerce was meant to empower congress to regulate the buying and selling of products made by others (and sometimes land), associated finance and financial instruments, and navigation and other carriage, across state jurisdictional lines. This interstate regulation of “commerce” did not include agriculture, manufacturing, mining, malum in se crime, or land use. Nor did it include activities that merely “substantially affected” commerce.

On August 29, 2013, the DOJ issued a letter to Colorado and Washington State effectively giving up on their failed attempt to stop the states from legalizing cannabis. Learn more here

While this is an expected, but welcome, backing off by the Federal Government, it’s still just the beginning. In order to win this issue and fully nullify, states and localities must continue the pressure in new and even more effective ways. See the action steps to the right for more, and scroll down below these maps to see more info on the model legislation.


Michael Boldin [send him email] is the founder of the Tenth Amendment Center. He was raised in Milwaukee, WI, and currently resides in Los Angeles, CA. Follow him on twitter – @michaelboldin and Facebook.