Urbin Report

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

States Rights take another damaging body blow.

By a 6-3 ruling, the US Supreme Court ruled that federal law prohibiting the cultivation, possession and use of medical marijuana overrides state laws allowing it. At least nine states allow medical use of marijuana.
From the Reuters article:

Justice John Paul Stevens said for the court majority that the federal law, the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, was a valid exercise of federal power by the U.S. Congress “even as applied to the troubling facts of this case” involving two seriously ill California women.

Stevens [...] said the question before the court was not whether it was wise to enforce the federal law in these circumstances, but only whether Congress has the power to adopt such a law.

Stevens said the democratic process might be more important than the legal challenges and added that supporters of medical marijuana “may one day be heard in the halls of Congress.”

The Bush Administration supported this, and IMNSHO, they are wrong on several counts.
Besides the obvious Constitutional issues, there is the problem of there is no better cure for the side effects of Chemotherapy.

One of the dissenting Justices was Justice Thomas. His vote against this was not surprising. As Radley Balko points out, “He’s easily the most principled and consistent defender of federalism on the court.”

HT to Jeff Goldstein. He has a good round up on this subject.