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Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana: US Supreme Court Upholds Federal Prohibition

14 years, 3 months ago

2136  0
Posted on Jun 08, 2005, 10 a.m. By Bill Freeman

Without directly invalidating State marijuana laws that allow for medical use, the US Supreme Court has decided that "federal law trumps state law" and that therefore, federal prosecutions of individuals using marijuana cannot be countered by reference to state laws allowing its use, be that medical or otherwise. According to this article, the court said the regulation of illicit drugs is a matter of interstate commerce, reserved exclusively to the federal government by the Constitution.

Without directly invalidating State marijuana laws that allow for medical use, the US Supreme Court has decided that "federal law trumps state law" and that therefore, federal prosecutions of individuals using marijuana cannot be countered by reference to state laws allowing its use, be that medical or otherwise.

According to this article, the court said the regulation of illicit drugs is a matter of interstate commerce, reserved exclusively to the federal government by the Constitution. That includes regulating local activities, such as the growing and consumption of medical marijuana, that could have an effect on interstate markets. So the federal Controlled Substance Act of 1970, which classifies marijuana as a drug unacceptable for any use, holds sway over any state provisions that say otherwise. Americans will have to change Federal Law on the prohibition of substances, state ballot initiatives may be a step on the way, but as shown by the Supreme Court, they are not sufficient.

The decision also shows up - with merciless clarity - the insanity, promoted at the highest levels, of prohibition of some substances, while others are completely legal. Prohibition of substances, as logical as the proponents' arguments might seem at first view, actually creates a "criminal layer" of society, for no other reason than the moral argument that "it's not good for you and therefore you shouldn't do it". But the enforcement of moral judgements and preferences does not seem a proper province of law. While there is a definite push by some to reform drug laws at the level of United Nations policy, (see petition to reform drug laws) we have a long way to go.

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