From The Washington Post: A Defeat For Users Of Medical Marijuana; State Laws No Defense, Supreme Court Rules:
The Supreme Court dealt a blow to the medical marijuana movement yesterday, ruling that the federal government can still ban possession of the drug in states that have eliminated sanctions for its use in treating symptoms of illness.
By a vote of 6 to 3, the court ruled that Congress's constitutional authority to regulate the interstate market in drugs, licit or illicit, extends to small, homegrown quantities of doctor-recommended marijuana consumed under California's Compassionate Use Act, which was adopted by an overwhelming majority of voters in 1996.
Christian Science Monitor has an overview of the implications the Supreme Court ruling: Fallout of marijuana verdict:
Polls show most Americans support medicinal use, including those opposed to general legalization of the drug.
For example, in a poll conducted last December for the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), 72 percent of respondents aged 45 or older agreed that "adults should be allowed to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if a physician recommends it."
This can be seen as part of the general public belief that individuals -- not government -- should be in charge of their medical care, including end-of-life care as was at issue in the Terri Schiavo case.
Gonzales v. Raich (previously Ashcroft v. Raich) is the latest in a long series of Supreme Court opinions interpreting the scope of the so-called commerce clause. Under Article I, section eight of the Constitution, Congress has the power to regulate “commerce ... among the several states.” For most of the nation’s history, this was understood as a rather limited power, rarely invoked by Congress. When Congress first sought to exercise its regulatory muscle, in the late 19th and early 20th century, it faced a hostile court, skeptical that the power over interstate commerce authorized plenary authority over economic concerns.
Posted by Forkum at June 7, 2005 08:10 PM