The Seed Of State Nullification


“I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this
ground: That “all powers not delegated to the United States, by
the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are
reserved to the States or to the people.” – Thomas Jefferson

While state after state continues to hop on the medical marijuana train, the federal government is scrambling – looking to oppress any state that might see value in representing their constituents wishes. This is where state nullification comes in. For those not well-versed in the concept of state nullification… it was another bright idea – first envisioned by a founding father. Thought up by the author of our Declaration of Independence, and first articulated by vice president Thomas Jefferson, when he wrote what would become the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798. These groundbreaking determinations outlined the case, proving that the federal government is subservient to the states, and that individual states have the right and authority to determine the constitutionality of any federal government’s laws and decrees. Jefferson also pointed out… states should refuse to enforce laws which they deem unconstitutional – which is where our medical marijuana argument comes in.

The Kentucky Resolution uses the Tenth Amendment to justify a strict construction of the general government’s powers; any powers not expressly delegated to the U. S. government remain the province of the states or the people, and any exercise of those powers by the general government is void and can be struck down by the states on that basis. Furthermore, Jefferson warns against construing the “necessary and proper” clause so broadly as to justify the assumption of undelegated powers by the general government; the intent of the clause was to only enable the execution of limited powers, not to indefinitely extend the general government’s scope. Otherwise, this part of the Constitution would be used “to destroy the whole residue of that instrument.” source:

 Thomas Jefferson was not alone in his quest to restrain the federal government. Our fourth president of the United States, James Madison authored a similar nullification resolution for Virginia that very same year. Madison asserted that whenever the feds exceed their constitutional boundaries and started down the path of oppression, citizens of a state, that state’s representatives is “duty bound” to interject its supremacy and thwart the federal government from victimizing its populace. Almost identical to Jefferson’s concept of nullification.


These two forward thinking documents were collectively referred to as The Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions (or Resolves), of 1798. Both one time presidents were compelled to offer these documents in response to the much feared Alien and Sedition Acts, and the phrase, “Principles of ’98″ became shorthand for nullification and / or interposition. Over time, “The Principles of ’98″ would be invoked by many other states, many times for a variety of issues.

So just what IS nullification and how does it happen?

Nullification is any act or set of acts, which has as its end result, a particular federal law being rendered null and void, or just plain unenforceable in your area.

Nullification often begins with members of your state legislature declaring a federal act unconstitutional and then committing to resist its implementation. It usually involves a bill, passed by both houses and signed by your governor. In some cases, it might be approved by the voters of your state directly, in a referendum. It may change your state’s statutory law, or it might even amend your state constitution. In this case, it is quite simply a refusal on the part of your state government to cooperate with, or enforce a particular federal law it deems unconstitutional.

The same process can happen on a local level too. Your county board of commissioners or city council might take up a measure that rejects or resists a federal law. Once it gets passed, all local agencies might be required to refuse compliance with any federal agents trying to enforce the federal act in question.

In either case, Nullification carries with it the force of state or local law. It cannot be legally repealed by Congress without amending the U.S .Constitution. It cannot be lawfully abolished by an executive order. It cannot be overruled by the Supreme Court if the people in the state reject the Court’s opinion. It is the people of a state or local commnunity asserting their rights, acting as a political society in its highest sovereign capacity. It is the moderate, middle way that wisely avoids harsh remedies like secession on the one hand, and slavish, unlimited submission on the other. source:

It is the constitutional remedy for unconstitutional federal marijuana laws...

About Author

Born in Long Beach, raised on the central coast: I surf, dab, burn, and blog – though not necessarily in that order. I'm a husband, a father and a lifelong consumer of connoisseur grade weed. I don't drink alcohol or consume any other "drugs." I consider myself to be living proof that weed is not a gateway drug. If it were, I'd be in some serious trouble. Instead, as a 50-year-old ex-realtor that has been smoking weed for nearly 80% of my life (just did the math) ... I can only say, marijuana is safer than prescription pills or alcohol could ever hope to be for calming what stirs the savage beast.

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