The Corner

Re: Medical Marijuana and the States

The problem is more complex than Wesley Smith lets on. Chapter 11 of The American Presidency: An Intellectual History, by Forrest McDonald — “The President and the Law” — discusses the president’s responsiblity “to take care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” He considers many examples of limited success, and limited desire to succeed, due either to executive will — impoundment — or what McDonald calls “bad legislation — bad in the sense of being poorly crafted, or extending into areas that are best left to state and local authorities, or simply being unenforceable at any level of government.” Among the latter he cites the Volstead Act, various other drug laws, and the Sherman Antitrust Act (of which Attorney General Richard Olney said, “As all ownership of property is itself a monopoly, and as every business contract or transaction may be viewed as a combination which more or less restrains some part or kind of trade or commerce, any literal application of the provisions of the statute is out of the question”).

Richard Brookhiser — Historian Richard Brookhiser is a senior editor of National Review and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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Politics & Policy

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