The American Constitution and Drug War Essay

The American Constitution and Drug War Essay

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The consensus with regards to drug laws favors more stringent and draconian laws, with the attempt to stifle use and punish crime. There are many claims used against drug legalization, such as, moral degradation, crime, the destruction of inner cities; along with families, diseases, such as AIDS, and the corrupting of law enforcement. When one examines the effects of prohibition, one has to inquire: has the cost been worth it? Certainly, an argument for the abolition of prohibition doesn’t include the favoring of drug use, but merely recognizes the vain and utopian attempt to control individual choices. Along these lines, the unintended consequences of these attempts may preclude any benefits. Further, one has to wonder: are these laws—at the federal level—constitutional or not? This paper will examine the issue of drug prohibition from a constitutional standpoint, an economic perspective, and the societal effects these laws have.
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land. While this statement seems axiomatic, it’s essential to discern the explication and implication of this with regard to the drug war. It’s been assumed that whatever the federal government passes is by the fact itself constitutional, notwithstanding the Supreme Court. However, to the dismay of some, this statement is blatantly false.
The Constitution was ratified on the condition that only the powers the federal government would possess were the ones specifically delegated to it by the states. This is reinforced by the 10th amendment (Mount, 2010). This view stipulates that the federal government is limited and defined; and, for the government to garner new powers, the correct approach would be through Article V’s amendment process. ...


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...this construction of the words “necessary and proper,” is not only consonant with that which prevailed during the discussions and ratification of the constitution, but is absolutely necessary to maintain their consistency with the peculiar character of the government, as possessed of particular and defined powers, only; not of the general and indefinite powers vested in ordinary governments. (Tucker, 2010)
To take a step beyond these powers would cripple the constitution and thus cripple our democratic principles and process. In order for changes to be made—which there have been—the proper arrangement would be the amendment process. If it took the Eighteenth Amendment in 1919 to outlaw alcohol, it would seem logical and constitutional to outlaw drugs (Vick, 2010). In sum, any laws at the federal level that outlaw drugs, based on these facts, are unconstitutional.

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