Timothy N. Baldwin, JD.
May 31, 2011
Let’s get this out of the way first: I do not use marijuana and I do not have any financial or personal interest in it. In fact, as an attorney who defends those charged with crimes, I would benefit by marijuana not being legal. Yet, I am neck-deep in fighting for the rights of those who use or sell marijuana under the laws of the state of Montana because I see the issue as being constitutional governance and liberty, not personal or social morality. As I discussed in a recent article, The Bureaucracies That Marijuana Feeds, I believe governments’ treatment of marijuana strongly suggests they are biased, illogical and self-serving. As a side note to clarify a mistake in the article above, there was in fact a Montana bill (HB 175) introduced by Rep. Keith Regier which would have placed the repeal of the Medical Marijuana Act into the hands of the citizens where it originated. I commend Rep. Regier and those legislators who recognized this need, as opposed to SB423 effectively repealing the Medical Marijuana Act by unilateral legislative action, which I believe violates Montana’s constitution. I (getting back to the point of this article) see governments’ attack on marijuana’s legal use as a means to a much bigger end than the “war on drugs.” I believe it is a “war on the individual’s and state’s sovereignty.”
Unfortunately, even state officials either do not recognize the federal government’s usurpation of constitutional power or do not care and choose to jump on the “war on drugs” bandwagon for whatever reasons they find justifiable. I, however, hold what I believe to be the correct constitutional position on both a state and federal level. That is, (1) the people of Montana (and any state) have the right to choose for themselves (see, popular sovereignty, Art. 2, Sec. 1; Art. 3, Sec. 4&5; Art. 5, Sec. 1, Mont. Const. ) how they will treat their bodies and how they will seek their own medical treatment (as long as it does not violate the rights of others—put differently: with freedom comes responsibility), and (2) the federal government has no authority to circumvent the State’s right in that regard (see, federalism; Amend. 10, U.S. Const.).
To that end, I filed a federal lawsuit on May 10, 2011 on behalf of several medical marijuana caregivers operating under the laws of the State of Montana against the federal government for 26 raids they conducted against the citizens of Montana on March 14, 2011; and because they have conducted further raids since I filed this suit, I will be including those raids as well in this action, as well as additional plaintiffs.
To me, it is shameful that no person within Montana’s executive branch of government seems to have denounced the federal raids as unlawful and sought political and legal redress for this disregard of constitutional rule of law. One would think, of all persons interested in ensuring the power of the State is protected as inviolable it would be the political branches of state government. Yet, these state officials literally hide behind the U.S. Constitution to justify their indifference to the very principles which formed the constitution.
Evidently, James Madison was incorrect in his premise for ratifying the U.S. Constitution when he said, “[The federal government will] be disinclined to invade the rights of the individual States, or the prerogatives of their governments” (Federalist Paper 46). And apparently Alexander Hamilton’s description of a free republic needs to be looked at more closely: “in republics strength is always on the side of the people[.] [T]here are weighty reasons to induce a belief that the State governments will commonly possess most influence over them” (Federalist Paper 31).
Both presumptions are now seen by many in both state and federal government to be extreme and radical concepts, supposedly outside constitutional government. Anymore, the federal government IS inclined to invade the rights of the individual states, strength IS NOT on the side of the people, and State governments possess NO influence over how the federal government treats them. In essence, the “republics strength” is gone, given Hamilton’s understanding (perhaps the most influential man in getting the U.S. Constitution ratified). And it will not return until the people of the states and the politicians within the states recognize the federal government’s actions for what they are: unconstitutional, null, void and worthy to be treated as such: “these will be merely acts of usurpation, and will deserve to be treated as such” (Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Paper 33). I know of patriots who see marijuana as only being a moral ill and thus worthy of all ill-treatment.
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While I do not judge them in their personal view regarding its morality, I implore them to see reality as it affects liberty. If the federal government can treat citizens of Montana in such a manner without regard to the laws of the State, then it matters not what the subject matter is: they will trample upon whatever right they feel is inconvenient or impeding their interests at the time. The next one could be your pet right. We better stand together to resist unconstitutional federal actions, or there will be no one around to support yours when they are trampled. Or as Benjamin Franklin put it, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
© 2011 Timothy N. Baldwin, JD - All Rights Reserved
Timothy N. Baldwin is an attorney from Pensacola, FL. He received his bachelor of arts degree at the University of West Florida in 2001 and received his Juris Doctorate degree from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in 2004. Baldwin was a Prosecutor in the 1st District of Florida from 2004 to 2006. In 2006, he started his own law practice, where he created specialized legal services entirely for property management companies.
Like his father, Chuck Baldwin, Timothy Baldwin is an astute articulator of cutting-edge political ideas, which he posts on his website, www.libertydefenseleague.com and speaks about in various public forum. Baldwin is the author of Freedom For A Change, in which he expounds the fundamental principles of freedom believed by America’s forefathers and gives inspiring and intelligent application of those principles to America’s current political and cultural standing. Baldwin believes that the times require all freedom-loving Americans to educate, invigorate and activate the principles of freedom within the STATES of America for ourselves and our posterity.
Web site: LibertyDefenseLeague