The consensus in regard to drug laws favors more stringent and domineering laws, with the attempt to quell 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 price been worth it? Certainly, an argument for the abolition of prohibition does not 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 the 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 establishes the supreme law of the land. While this statement seems axiomatic, it is essential to discern the explication and implication of this regarding the drug war. People suppose that whatever the federal government passes are by the fact itself constitutional, notwithstanding the Supreme Court.
By contrast, the people ratified the Constitution on the qualification that the federal government would only possess the specific powers delegated to it by the people of the states (Tucker, 2010). The 10th amendment reinforces this. (Mount, 2010). This view stipulates that the federal government has limited and defined powers; moreover, for the government to garner new powers, the correct approach mandates Article V’s amendment process. In fact, with alcohol prohibition, the states used this method (Lee, 1963).
Typical objections to the claim that the federal government only has the powers given to it invariably rely on the supremacy clause, the general welfare clause, the necessary and proper clause, and the commerce clause. These four clauses have been particularly controversial, to say the least. Scholars and polemicists have contested the interpretation and construction of these clauses since the inception of the Constitution. Nevertheless, examining these clauses, only one explanation seems accurate: what the people sanctioning the Constitution would have understood the meaning of these clauses. Moreover, a clear discernment of these clauses will dictate faithful obeisance to its meaning, and not transgression; for if the life of the drug war hangs on a breach of the constitution, justice demands remediation.
Understanding the supremacy clause and its consequences would resolve many disputes, including the drug laws. Most people would argue federal law trumps state law by citing the supremacy clause; yet this would indicate deception. The clause declares the Constitution and laws in pursuance thereof shall be the supreme law of the land (Mount, 2010). In other words, the...