While we would support the total demise of federal marijuana laws, this bill simply constrains the federal government to its proper role. The Constitution allows the federal government to restrict interstate commerce, and the federal laws forbidding the interstate transfer of marijuana would remain in effect. The feds would also still intercept drug shipments from other countries.

What would change is that states — if they so chose — could legalize pot that is grown, sold, and consumed within their own borders. The Supreme Court has said that the federal government may regulate not only interstate commerce, but any activity that has a “substantial effect” on interstate commerce. It has further asserted that pot that is never even sold, but grown for personal consumption and never crosses state lines, can in aggregate have such an effect and therefore may be regulated. But the Court has not said, as House Judiciary Committee chairman Lamar Smith wrongly asserted, that Congress must regulate so comprehensively.