Rep. Mike Ritze


Even if you oppose marijuana legalization, as I firmly do, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision recently not to interfere in the decision of Colorado voters to end cannabis prohibition was a major victory for states’ rights, federalism and the 10th Amendment.

It was also a victory for all Oklahomans who do not want to be ruled by unaccountable and out-of-touch bureaucrats and politicians thousands of miles away in Washington, D.C. — and even abroad — acting in defiance of our Constitution.

Let me explain.

In the lawsuit, the attorneys general of Oklahoma and Nebraska appealed to a distortion of the U.S. Constitution’s “supremacy clause” in an effort to attack the decision made by Colorado’s voters in a 2012 referendum.

The lawsuit essentially claimed that because a federal statute and a few U.N. treaties ban marijuana, Colorado has no choice but to not only accept prohibition, but to help enforce it.

But that’s simply wrong.

First of all, the U.S. Constitution does not delegate any power to the federal government in this area. That is why alcohol prohibition in 1920 necessitated a properly ratified constitutional amendment to be adopted at the federal level.

If the U.S. Constitution does not delegate any powers to the feds in the area of marijuana prohibition, and it doesn’t, Washington D.C., has no business ratifying international treaties or passing federal statutes acting as if it possessed those powers.

The U.S. Constitution only says statutes and treaties created in pursuance with the Constitution are the supreme law of the land. Any power grabs undertaken in defiance of that Constitution are mere usurpations that states have a duty to nullify.

America’s founders and even the Supreme Court have acknowledged this fundamental truth about our federalist system of self-government. Anything else would be absurd, as there would be no limits to what the federal government could do. Nobody wants that, not even liberals.

Secondly, even if those U.N. treaties and federal statutes were constitutional, the U.S. Constitution does not allow the federal government to compel a state to criminalize something. Nor can the federal government commandeer state or local government resources in pursuit of its own policy agendas.

Again, the framers of the Constitution and even the U.S. Supreme Court have all acknowledged this. Reasonable people wouldn’t want it any other way.

So what does all this mean for Oklahoma? It means we can continue pushing forward on returning powers to the people of Oklahoma that have been usurped from us by Washington and, with D.C.’s help, by the dictators’ club known as the United Nations.

Whether the issue is guns or healthcare or education or environmental protection or abortion, the U.S. Constitution leaves all authority in these fields to the states of the people. That means none for Congress, Obama, the Supreme Court, or the U.N.

The sooner we realize that, the sooner we can restore the proper constitutional balance between the states and the federal government.

Today, almost all Americans realize that Washington is completely out of control. Bureaucrats and politicians lie to us, spy on us, regulate us into oblivion, plunder our wealth, and more, all with no concern whatever for the limits on their power imposed by the U.S. Constitution.

Together, the Supreme Court and the voters of Colorado just took a significant step in the direction of putting an end to all that.

Let’s make sure Oklahoma takes many more.

Rep. Mike Ritze, a Republican from Broken Arrow, represented House District 80 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

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