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June 06, 2005

The pot ruling

When I find myself disagreeing with a ruling from the U. S. Supreme Court, Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justice Clarence Thomas are most always in the majority I think blew it.

Not so in the medical marijuana decision handed down today. Both those court conservatives joined in Justice Sandra O'Connor's dissent to the ruling that held federal drug laws override California's statue permitting people to grow, possess and use marijuana if a doctor prescribes it.

The case, of course, had nothing to do with the medical merits of marijuana, but was argued over how much power the federal government can claim under the commerce clause in the Constitution.

The majority said the federal power to regulate interstate commerce extends to the California medical marijuana law even though the marijuana in question never enters into interstate commerce.

The minority said extending the commerce clause to intrastate dealings gives the federal government virtually unlimited power in areas previously reserved to state authority.

The practical impact on people using marijuana may be minimal, since California law enforcement officials are likely to abide by state law. One would hope that the feds have something better to do than track down and harass people whose doctors have prescribed marijuana.

Posted by jcb at June 6, 2005 01:40 PM


The head of the DEA was on the tube last night explaining how we can't have legal medical marijuana because we have a "closed" drug system. Evidently we can control morphine and hydrocodone, which look like a lot more addictive substances than marijuana. But legal medical marijuana would be uncontrollable?

Or does "closed" simply mean that the pharmaceutical cartel wouldn't be able to make money from something people can grow in the backyard, and they don't want to have to compete with it, either.

Posted by: Vita at June 7, 2005 08:34 AM

So much for states rights by the conseratives again.

At home, the casualties are the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Republicans explode in anger when a liberal judge creates a constitutional right. But they sit in silence when the U.S. Department of Justice (sic) creates the right for Bush to decide who has constitutional protections and who does not.

Posted by: Leland Milton Goldblatt, Ph.D. at June 9, 2005 08:07 PM

Bashing conservatives may be fun, but it's a little out of place here, since it was the "liberal" justices who provided the majority in the medical marijuana ruling. The "state's rights" conservatives Rehnquist and Thomas were consistent, voting in support of California.


Posted by: John Beydler at June 10, 2005 02:05 PM

Good Gaia, is Goldblatt for real? His website shows him in photos (some obviously photoshopped) with Ted Kennedy, Fidel Castro, Blogo, and George Ryan. Yeah, Leland, how much pot-smoking does Fidel allow? Sheesh!

Posted by: paladin at June 17, 2005 01:18 PM