Lest anyone think that only the mean old Republicans are Drug Prohibitionists, I just learned about another ridiculous anti-drug law that must have passed while I was asleep. At least one one blogger is complaining about it, and because he’s a leftie, I thought I should add my two cents worth.
Anyway, thanks to the hard work of the gun-and-sudafed-grabbing Dianne Feinstein, the federal government is launching a new crackdown. They are doubling the penalties for marijuana brownies!

Last night the United States Senate voted to double the penalties for the nation’s newest existential threat: brownies made with marijuana!
The Senate unanimously passed Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)’s “Saving Kids from Dangerous Drugs Act of 2009? (S. 258) that targets pot brownies and other marijuana edibles preferred by some medical marijuana patients. The bill next moves to the House; if it passes that chamber, anyone making pot brownies or similar products could be subject to double the fines and jail time for regular marijuana.
This bill’s passage marks a step backwards for Congress, which this week also passed the Fair Sentencing Act that reduced the sentencing disparities between cocaine and crack from 100:1 to 18:1. Now we have a new disparity: pot brownies and other marijuana edibles are now treated as something twice as bad as just distributing marijuana.

That’s fascinating, for several reasons.
First, eating any substance is almost always less harmful to the human body than smoking it, and many medical marijuana patients should not be putting any form of smoke in their lungs. So why make it harder for them? Might the timing of this bill be intended to send them a message?
Feinstein (who vehemently opposed medical marijuana in California) claims the target of the bill is “candy flavored meth,” but the bill’s language is broad:

Marijuana prohibitionists often hide behind vague threats to children, and DiFi’s bill is no different. Her “Saving Kids from Dangerous Drugs Act” is framed to make politicians afraid to oppose. “How dare you voted against saving kids from dangerous drugs?”
But DiFi doubled down on the “Reefer Madness”-style hysteria. In championing this bill, Feinstein raised the spectre of “candy flavored meth” as the target of her bill. Something tells me that once, sometime, somewhere, someone claimed to have found candy-flavored meth, probably cut with pixie stix. DiFi ran with this to cover for her true target: marijuana edibles.

Naturally, it’s being done for THE CHILDREN!

Really? Pot Brownies?
Yep. While DiFi’s public line was all “candy flavored meth,” the bill is written broadly enough that pot brownies and other marijuana edibles can be grouped into the law. She mentioned marijuana products in her support of the legislation, of course, but she sought to distract….

While the law says that the sweetened controlled substance has to be intended for “a person under 18 years of age,” how is such an intent to be determined? By the sweetness, obviously! That’s the way the prosecutors will interpret it.
The war on added sweetness is broader in scope than Feinstein’s latest federal manifestation.
Adding sweeteners to any evil product makes them twice as evil! See my earlier post about prohibition of sweetened “girlie drinks” and “kiddie booze.”. And in New York, they are trying to ban candy cigarettes!
State law is one thing, but what has long perplexed me about the federal law is from where does the constitutional power to ban substances arise? Why is it that when alcohol was prohibited, they had to amend the Constitution to create the power, but with drugs, no one seemed to bother? The difference between one substance and another is not of constitutional dimension, so what gives? And if the federal government has the power to criminalize what you possess in your home (or grow in your yard), then why couldn’t they also prohibit growing tobacco?
Or simply prohibit candy?
People who think the federal government has no power to take over health care might want to think about such threshold constitutional issues.
Can rights that are lost ever be regained?
MORE: For linking the same piece that I did, Ann Althouse is getting flak in the comments:

Althouse is going to lose cred w/ the natives w/ links like that. What’s next; HuffPo and Dkos?

Another genius wants to know about her reading habits:

Professor;
Do you read FireDogLake regularly?

Look, I don’t like FireDogLake any more than I like a lot of the sites I link. What mattered to me here was the fact of the legislation; not the political philosophy of the site that editorialized about it.
I think I found the link at Memeorandum, but I can link any story I want from wherever I want whenever I want.
(Of course, I’ve even been accused of “hate linking”, and that didn’t stop me…)
MORE: Jacob Sullum has more on the law, which he thinks could be applied to brownies.

On one hand, brownies are baked goods, not candy. On the other hand, they contain chocolate, which is a kind of candy, and it is “combined with” the cannabis. Perhaps the crucial criterion will be the brownie’s consistency: If it’s caky, it’s a baked good; if it’s chewy, it’s essentially fudge, which is candy. (If you think a drug offender’s punishment couldn’t possibly hinge on such an arbitrary distinction, recall that it took Congress more than two decades to address the equally senseless distinction between smoked and snorted cocaine–and even then, it shrank the gap instead of eliminating it.)
Already I have put more thought into this bill than its two chief sponsors, Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), did.

Perhaps the idea is to pass it now, and think about it later!