Pubdate: Thu, 09 Jun 2005
Source: Los Angeles Times ( CA )
Copyright: 2005 Los Angeles Times
Author: Jeff Furchtenicht
Cited: Gonzales v. Raich ( )
Bookmark: ( Cannabis - Medicinal )
Bookmark: ( Opinion )


One perverse result of the medical marijuana case: In eviscerating any 
meaningful check on Congress' power to intrude on the most noncommercial 
and private of individual activities under the guise of "regulating 
interstate commerce," the court undermines the avowed principal goal of the 
federal drug control legislation it cites. The court says the goal of the 
1970 Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, as applied to 
marijuana, is to prohibit and eliminate interstate commerce in marijuana. 
But by ruling that the act properly prohibits purely private, noncommercial 
cultivation and personal use of small quantities of marijuana for medical 
purposes, in compliance with state law and under the recommendation of a 
doctor, the Supreme Court in effect sends those sick patients into the 
illicit market. The more patients in the illicit market, the more aggregate 
demand, the higher the prices, the higher the profits, and the more supply 
is needed.

By ruling in line with reason and precedent that the activities of brain 
tumor patient Angel Raich were indeed beyond the purview of federal 
commerce authority, the Supreme Court ironically could have helped reduce 
demand in the illicit interstate market in marijuana, thus accomplishing 
something that federal drug policy has yet to achieve in any meaningful way.

Jeff Furchtenicht

Attorney, Santa Maria
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom