Legal Question in Constitutional Law in Missouri

The fourteenth amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America declares that No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty...

Prior to the federal laws being enacted in the late 1930s making marijuana illegal, it was a privilege of the citizens of the United states to use marijuana.

These federal laws by abridging an established privilege, the right to use marijuana, are unconstitutional and should be declared as such by the Supreme Court of the United States of America, and, the federal laws declaring marijuana illegal should not be enforced by the states. Furthermore, no state should pass any laws contrary to these established privileges.

Why hasn't this issue been raised in front of the high court?


Steven Lawson

Asked on 10/28/09, 5:49 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman

The Fourteenth Amendment limits the powers of the state governments, not of the federal government. By definition, the federal government cannot violate the language you quote.

Even if marijuana use qualified as a "privilege or immunity of citizens of the United States" before the late 1930s as you claim (and I am not at all convinced of this), it ceased to be one after the feds outlawed it.

Besides, by your logic the government could never outlaw something people had been allowed to do previously. That's an awfully broad restriction, and I see no reason to impose it on either state or federal governments.

There have been constitutional challenges to federal drug laws, but they have been based upon other portions of the constitution. So far, they have not been very successful.

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Answered on 11/02/09, 8:17 pm

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