By Joseph Snook
With the potential of Federal Agents targeting States that have legalized recreational marijuana, maybe the once thought to be conservative term, “NULLIFICATION,” is finally ripe for all walks of life?
Nullification as defined by Wikipedia reads: “Nullification, in United States constitutional history, is a legal theory that a state has the right to nullify, or invalidate, any federal law which that state has deemed unconstitutional.” Nullification is deeper than this. Basically, jury nullification is when a jury finds someone on trial innocent because they disagree with the law.
Nullification can be applied in many ways. For example: if the ‘most popular’ kid at school says, “let’s play soccer today”, yet other kids say, “let’s play dodge ball” effectively changing the decision from the person who usually gets what is wanted – they have just nullified the process.
“…you have a right to take it upon yourselves to judge of both,
and to determine the law as well as the fact in controversy.”
In a court of law, regardless of Federal or State, nullification often comes with consequence as most states do not permit the use of this concept – even though our Nation’s first Chief Justice, John Jay embraced and supported its use. Justice Jay stated, “…you have a right to take it upon yourselves to judge of both, and to determine the law as well as the fact in controversy.”
In most courtrooms today, jurors are instructed to follow the law, only judging on determination of guilt, as instructed by Judges. Lawyers and their ilk have had hundreds of years to perfect this lie of determination – and the government, with police power, often enforces this concept. New Hampshire stands out as the only state in the U.S. that currently allows nullification to openly be discussed in court. In other courts, lawyers can be sanctioned, and jurors can be tossed off juries for mentioning such.
In these current, divisive times, let’s not forget we as voters have a way to fight back against the proverbial elephant (Federal and State courts).
Remember, the U.S. Constitution begins with the words, “We The People…” for a reason. Don’t forget that! If you don’t believe a law is just, then don’t convict! You have that power as a juror. Just remember, saying it out loud could get you excused from jury duty.
In the States that have already banned together to legalize recreational marijuana – this concept should be quite easy to accept since juries will be comprised of “peers.”
If you support marijuana laws, think about this: The United States has the highest incarceration rate (25%) per capita in the entire world, yet we only make up 5% of the world population. If you pay taxes, you’re paying for hundreds of thousands of arrests for marijuana. Arrests can lead to incarceration, and incarceration comes with costs to the taxpayer.
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