Pot and The Constitution

Pot and The Constitution
Posted by CN Staff on June 07, 2005 at 07:21:17 PT
Source: Chicago Tribune
Ten years ago, the Supreme Court surprised legal experts when it struck down a federal law barring gun possession in school zones--not because it was in favor of guns in schools, but because it said Congress had no constitutional authority to legislate in such a quintessentially local sphere. Ever since, the question has been: How far will the court go to rebalance the powers of the federal government versus the states? On Monday the court gave an answer: Not very far.
Federal law bars the sale, possession or cultivation of marijuana. But several states have chosen to allow cannabis use by seriously ill people who can't get relief from conventional medicine. In 1996, Californians approved a ballot measure allowing doctors to recommend marijuana to patients and permitting patients to use it, under a strict state-monitored program. That, however, didn't stop the federal Drug Enforcement Administration from carrying out raids against medical marijuana users in California.One of those raids targeted plants grown for her own needs by Diane Monson, whose physician had attested that pot was the only drug that alleviated her severe spinal pain. She and another medical marijuana user went to court arguing that the federal government could not legally conduct such raids, because Congress had overstepped its constitutional boundaries in banning this use of pot.A federal appeals court agreed. The Bush administration said the raids were conducted under Congress' power to regulate interstate commerce--a provision that has long been the rationale for federal intrusions into traditional state functions. But the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the "cultivation, possession and use of marijuana for medicinal purposes and not for exchange or distribution is not properly characterized as commercial or economic activity." If there's no commerce, it concluded, the commerce clause is irrelevant, leaving the federal government powerless.But in the end, despite what it admitted were the "troubling facts of this case," the Supreme Court bent over backward to give lawmakers in Washington the benefit of every doubt. By a 6-3 vote, the court found that marijuana grown in these conditions could possibly have an impact on interstate commerce--even if the pot at issue never elicited a payment or crossed a state line.The key difference with past decisions limiting congressional power, the court said, was that in the other cases, such as the Gun-Free School Zones Act, Washington was not regulating economic activity, and this time it was. That claim is certainly debatable, to say the least. But Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for the majority, said the connection was close enough for government work: "We have never required Congress to legislate with scientific exactitude."So the federal government has the power to punish sick people using cannabis as medicine, on the advice of their doctors, even in states where medical marijuana is allowed. What the federal government doesn't have, even after this decision, is a good reason to do so.Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)Published: June 7, 2005Copyright: 2005 Chicago Tribune CompanyContact: ctc-TribLetter Tribune.comWebsite: Related Articles & Web Site:Angel Raich v. Ashcroft News, Up in Smoke? Patients Remain Defiant's Users Say Ruling Won't End Their Efforts
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Comment #9 posted by Critto on June 08, 2005 at 09:53:20 PT
1942? 1933
and the 1942 wheat case.
it's not like 1942 (in the USA), it's like 1933 (in Germany)... Ein Reich, Ein Volk, Ein Supreme Court!!! Those 6 idiots want to turn your free, beautiful country into a slave plantation, into a totalitarian country. Would you silently agree?? Do you???
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Comment #8 posted by Critto on June 08, 2005 at 09:49:42 PT
6 idiots in the Nation
those justices are total dehumanized IDIOTS and NAZI monsters. They are the most un-American beings that ever existed. They are a bigger enemy of America than Stalin, Hitler, Khruszchev and Brezhnev together. They are the ENEMY BODY in your country. They will lead you to a complete ruin.
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Comment #7 posted by runruff on June 07, 2005 at 10:30:14 PT:
Missing the "s"
Is, is missing the s in "Is revolution......".
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Comment #6 posted by runruff on June 07, 2005 at 10:25:58 PT:
Blatant fascism !
I Revolution controlled under the commerce clause also?
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Comment #5 posted by Truth on June 07, 2005 at 09:51:26 PT
Well said
So the federal government has the power to punish sick people using cannabis as medicine, on the advice of their doctors, even in states where medical marijuana is allowed. What the federal government doesn't have, even after this decision, is a good reason to do so.
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Comment #4 posted by Agog on June 07, 2005 at 09:03:56 PT
Butterfly Effect Economics
Well .........I'd say more except I'm Agog! Oh Wait! I just influenced interstate commerce again.. ahhhh here come the feds now.R/Agog
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Comment #3 posted by GreenJoy on June 07, 2005 at 08:32:18 PT
Its Not Over..
...until we all give up, are jailed longterm, or are dead.
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Comment #2 posted by cloud7 on June 07, 2005 at 08:05:08 PT
SCOTUS opinion 
"Respondents Diane Monson and Angel Raich use marijuana that has never been bought or sold, that has never crossed state lines, and that has had no demonstrable effect on the national market for marijuana. If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything--and the Federal Government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers." -- Justice Thomas (dissenting)
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Comment #1 posted by Sam Adams on June 07, 2005 at 07:36:10 PT
It's over
I appreciate these well-meaning editorials and articles (Nat'l Review). However, let's get serious - this case is merely an indicator of the major shift in culture and governmental control in America since World War II, where we defeated Hitler and the Japapese, while simultaneously being conquered by our own federal government.Let's face it, they control everything now.  Opening your front door and walking out affects interstate commerce. Getting out of bed affects interstate commerce.  You may turn on the TV and see advertisement.  A plane may fly overhead with an advertisement. This may in turn affect your decision-making to purchase goods, which therefore affect markets, which affect interstate commerce. This seems like a perfectly logical line of reasoning to me, given the Gonzalez-Raich case and the 1942 wheat case.Hell, masturbation affects interstate commerce! If you relieve sexual tension, you may be less likely to hire a prostitute, which affects the commodity of sexual fulfillment, which is regulated by the feds, even though it's banned.The worst part of it is, even though state laws are nearly worthless, we still have to obey them, and there are more every year! Everyone's going to need even MORE lawyers now! God Bless the home of the Lawyer, the United States of Attorneys. 
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