Rick Perry to California: Go On, Toke Up! - Rolling Stone
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Rick Perry to California: Go On, Toke Up!

In his book, Perry denounces federal marijuana law as “unconstitutional”

june presidential candidate rick perry fed up book new orleans

Presidential Candidate Rick Perry signs copies of his book "Fed Up" in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

In his book Fed Up!, Rick Perry does more than denounce Social Security as a “Ponzi scheme”1 and (less famously) “a bad disease.”2 He also mounts a vigorous defense of every Californian’s right to get high.

Fed Up! is a fiery denunciation of what Perry calls the “increasingly powerful and oppressive national government.”3 Perry wants America to be a country where states pass the laws that suit them and the citizens of this nation “vote with their feet”:

If you don’t support the death penalty and citizens packing a pistol, don’t come to Texas. If you don’t like medicinal marijuana and gay marriage, don’t move to California.4

Federal marijuana law, Perry argues, is an “unconstitutional foray” into the “sphere of the states.”5 While making clear he doesn’t personally want to legalize pot, Perry denounces the Supreme Court’s decision to overrule California’s medical cannabis law on the basis that legal weed would affect interstate commerce. Perry decries the idea that “the federal government has the full perogative to intervene in your private home if you are engaged in any activity” — i.e. smoking dope — “that has some minimal relationship to the exchange of goods.”6

More provocatively, Perry argues that the proper response to this overreach of the federal government is for California cops to refuse to join the DEA in enforcing federal drug law.

States should tell Washington that they will not be complicit in enforcing laws with which they do not agree. Again, the best example is an issue I don’t even agree with — the partial legalization of marijuana. Californians clearly want some level of legalized marijuana, be it for medicinal use or otherwise. The federal government is telling them they cannot. But states are not bound to enforce federal law and the federal government cannot… require them to enforce it.7

California, Perry concludes, “should think hard about whether a single state resource” should be committed to enforce the federal government’s “intrusive policy.”8

So go ahead California. Don’t let “an all-powerful federal government dictate”9 how you live. Blaze one up. Rick Perry just wants you to be free.


1) Fed Up! p. 171
2) p. 48
3) p. 4
4) p. 13
5) p. 162
6) p. 53
7) p. 171
8) p. 172
9) pg. 169


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