In my post A Trivial Little Matter, I asked: Why did the Republicans of 1914 vote against the Harrison Narcotics Act? (the act put the Federal government in charge of opiates and cocaine).

None of the social conservatives who responded could answer the question. Now if they frequent this blog I’m sure they think of themselves as Constitutionalists. But that is a conceit – not a fact.

Only libertarian (I assume judging by the tone of her numerous comments on the blog) commenter Kathy Kinsley got it:

I have no earthly idea why the Republicans of 1914 voted against the Harrison Narcotics Act. Unless they read the US Constitution or something odd like that.

That is in fact correct. The Republicans of 1914 were of the opinion that the Constitution didn’t grant the Federal government that power and voted accordingly.

You will note that the Progressives took that argument to heart when it came to alcohol and Amended the Constitution accordingly. They never went back and fixed the Harrison Narcotics Act. But in 1968 Tim Leary, got the Supreme Court to strike down the act. It has since been replaced by the Controlled Substance Act. However, I can find no remit in the Constitution that allows the Federal Government to decide questions about the practice of medicine as a matter of law. It is possible that studies and reports could be done – but authorizing or limiting the use of any drug is not in their power. A proof of that is the fact that “off label” use of otherwise legal drugs is permissible. I do of course consider the whole Federal Regulatory System when it comes to medicine “not authorized by the Constitution”. Which makes the way they regulate prohibited drugs doubly so.

I look forward to the Republican Party stalwarts living up to their Constitutional smugness. Until then (since I don’t expect it any time soon), vote Libertarian when you can.

In the mean time a little koan for my Republican friends:

Drug Prohibition leads to ObamaCare.