California voters passed Proposition in , allowing qualified patients to cultivate and use marijuana for designated medical illnesses. Gonzales v. Raich. Media. Oral Argument – November 29, ; Opinion Announcement – June 06, Alberto R. Gonzales, Attorney General, et al. On June 6, , the United States Supreme Court decided Gonzales v. Raich, a case that addressed the constitutionality of the federal Controlled Substances . The dissenters attacked the Majority opinion as a complete departure from the.

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The Act specifies that it should not be construed to supersede legislation prohibiting persons from engaging in acts dangerous to others, or to condone the oponion of marijuana for nonmedical purposes. Under the principle of Wickard, the Majority argued that Congress could reach even personal and non-commercial intrastate use of a good or product.

Partnership for a Drug-Free Americaseveral other antidrug organizations, [5] an alliance of seven Representativesincluding Mark Souder and Katherine V.rachall filed amicus briefs for the side of federal government. The Harrison Act sought to exert control over the possession and sale of narcotics, specifically cocaine and opiates, by requiring producers, distributors, and purchasers to register with the Federal Government, by assessing taxes against parties so registered, and by regulating the issuance of prescriptions.

The Court had found more limitations on that power in recent cases, but it managed to distinguish them here.

Gonzales v. Raich, 545 U.S. 1 (2005)

Moreover, even though Wickard was indeed oponion commercial farmer, the activity he was engaged in—the cultivation of wheat for home consumption—was not treated by the Court as part of his commercial farming operation. That rule and the result it produces in this case are irreconcilable with our decisions in Oipnion, supraand United States v. Such an exacting requirement is not only opinon, it is also impractical. The First Hundred Years —, p.

Opinion Announcement – June 06, Justice Stevens noted, The question before us, however, is not whether it is wise to enforce the statute in these circumstances; rather, it is whether Congress’ power to regulate interstate markets for medicinal substances encompasses the portions of those markets that are supplied with drugs produced and consumed locally. It is difficult to see how this vast market could be affected by diverted medical cannabis, let alone in a way that gohzales regulating intrastate medical marijuana obviously essential to controlling the interstate drug market.

The obvious importance of the case prompted our grant of certiorari.

Gonzales v. Raich – Wikipedia

This classification renders the manufacture, distribution, or possession of marijuana a criminal offense. See Morrison goonzales, U. Certainly no evidence from the founding suggests that “commerce” included the mere possession of a good or opiinon personal activity that did not involve trade or exchange for value. Despite evidence regarding marijuana’s potential to relieve pain, both Congress and succeeding Administrations have elected to leave cannabis subject to a total prohibition under Schedule I of the Act, without provision for legal use.


The Ninth Circuit had found v.raich federal law unconstitutional “as applied,” concluding that its enforcement against medicinal users was beyond Congress’s enumerated power to regulate interstate commerce. This decision marks a potential return in the Commerce Clause doctrine of the Court to the expansive understanding of Congressional powers under it in the midth century.

Our decision in Wickard, U. Copyright and License information Disclaimer. The first case involves a challenge by Oregon officials to the Bush Administration’s efforts to halt the practice of legal assisted suicides under Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act. September Learn how and when to remove this template message. We normally presume that States enforce their own laws, Riley v.

Gonzales v. Raich: Congress’s Power Under the Commerce Clause to Regulate Medical Marijuana

Lopez and U. Brief for Respondents 22, Agents from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration were assigned to break up California’s medical marijuana co-ops and to seize their assets.

The case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. The CSA undoubtedly regulates a great deal of interstate commerce, but that is no license to regulate conduct that is neither interstate nor commercial, however minor or incidental.

McCullochsupraat —; D. The governments of CaliforniaMarylandand Washington also filed briefs supporting Raich.

Soon after the decision in Raichthe Supreme Court vacated a lower court decision in United States v. Federal efforts to regulate it considerably blur the distinction between what is national and what is local.

The breadth of legislation that Congress enacts says nothing about whether the intrastate activity substantially affects interstate commerce, let alone whether it is necessary to the scheme.

StewartF. Both federal and state legislation—including the CSA itself, the California Compassionate Use Act, and other state medical marijuana legislation—recognize that medical and nonmedical i.

The Commerce Clause and Medical Marijuana: Gonzales v. Raich, U.S. 1 () | Canna Law Blog™

Monson and Raich neither buy nor sell the marijuana that they consume. See MorrisonU.

Because medical marijuana users in California opnion elsewhere are not placing substantial amounts of cannabis into the stream of interstate commerce, Congress may not regulate them under the substantial effects test, no matter how broadly it drafts the CSA. The Act did not regulate any economic activity and did not contain any requirement that the possession of a gun have any connection to past interstate activity or a predictable impact on future commercial activity.


The dissenters attacked the Majority opinion as a complete departure from the principles of Lopez and Morrison, arguing that as in both prior cases, the conduct reached in Raich involved activities with no nexus to commerce. Of particular relevance here is Wickard v. The interconnectedness of economic activity is not a modern phenomenon unfamiliar to the Framers.

Filburn to support the theory that market demands and the flow of the interstate economy would draw marijuana grown for medicinal use into channels for recreational use.

The States’ core police powers have always included authority to define criminal law and to protect the health, safety, and welfare of their citizens….

But perhaps even more important than these legal avenues is the democratic process, in which the voices of voters allied with these respondents may one day be heard in the halls of Congress. Rather, it imposed registration and reporting requirements for all individuals importing, producing, selling, or dealing in marijuana, and required the payment of annual taxes in addition to transfer taxes whenever the drug changed hands. I cannot agree that our decision in Lopez contemplated such evasive or overbroad legislative strategies with approval.

Our federalist system, properly understood, allows California and a growing number of other States to decide for themselves how to safeguard the health and welfare of their citizens. This is not a power that threatens to obliterate the line between “what is truly national and what is truly local. See also U. They amount to nothing more than a legislative insistence that the regulation of controlled substances must be absolute. The federal government first argued that the CSA preempted California state law and that making any exception for California would render the CSA unenforceable in practice.

The Majority also distinguished Lopez and Morrison on the grounds that in neither case was the law aimed at conduct involving commerce. Most directly, the commerce power permits Congress not only to devise rules for the governance of commerce between States but also to facilitate interstate commerce by eliminating potential obstructions, and to restrict it by eliminating potential stimulants.

Inthe Department of Justice under Attorney General Eric Holder issued new guidelines allowing for no longer enforcing of the federal ban in some situations:.