Supreme Court of United States. Argued November 29, Decided June 6, Acting Solicitor General Clement argued the cause for petitioners. Blatt, Mark B.

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California is one of at least nine States that authorize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. I California has been a pioneer in the regulation of marijuana. In , California was one of the first States to prohibit the sale and possession of marijuana, 2 and at the end of the century, California became the first State to authorize limited use of the drug for medicinal purposes. In , California voters passed Proposition , now codified as the Compassionate Use Act of Respondent Monson cultivates her own marijuana, and ingests the drug in a variety of ways including smoking and using a vaporizer.

These caregivers also process the cannabis into hashish or keif, and Raich herself processes some of the marijuana into oils, balms, and foods for consumption. After a thorough investigation, the county officials concluded that her use of marijuana was entirely lawful as a matter of California law. Nevertheless, after a 3-hour standoff, the federal agents seized and destroyed all six of her cannabis plants.

In their complaint and supporting affidavits, Raich and Monson described the severity of their afflictions, their repeatedly futile attempts to obtain relief with conventional medications, and the opinions of their doctors concerning their need to use marijuana. Raich v. Ashcroft, F. A divided panel of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed and ordered the District Court to enter a preliminary injunction.

The majority placed heavy reliance on our decisions in United States v. Lopez, U. Morrison, U. The obvious importance of the case prompted our grant of certiorari. Well-settled law controls our answer. The CSA is a valid exercise of federal power, even as applied to the troubling facts of this case. We accordingly vacate the judgment of the Court of Appeals. Rather, as early as Congress enacted federal legislation imposing labeling regulations on medications and prohibiting the manufacture or shipment of any adulterated or misbranded drug traveling in interstate commerce.

The Harrison Act sought to exert control over the possession and sale of narcotics, specifically cocaine and opiates, by requiring producers, distributors, and purchasers to register with the Federal Government, by assessing taxes against parties so registered, and by regulating the issuance of prescriptions. Rather, it imposed registration and reporting requirements for all individuals importing, producing, selling, or dealing in marijuana, and required the payment of annual taxes in addition to transfer taxes whenever the drug changed hands.

A number of noteworthy events precipitated this policy shift. First, in Leary v. United States, U. Second, at the end of his term, President Johnson fundamentally reorganized the federal drug control agencies. The main objectives of the CSA were to conquer drug abuse and to control the legitimate and illegitimate traffic in controlled substances. The CSA categorizes all controlled substances into five schedules.

The drugs are grouped together based on their accepted medical uses, the potential for abuse, and their psychological and physical effects on the body.

Each schedule is associated with a distinct set of controls regarding the manufacture, distribution, and use of the substances listed therein. The CSA and its implementing regulations set forth strict requirements regarding registration, labeling and packaging, production quotas, drug security, and recordkeeping.

These three factors, in varying gradations, are also used to categorize drugs in the other four schedules. For example, Schedule II substances also have a high potential for abuse which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence, but unlike Schedule I drugs, they have a currently accepted medical use. By classifying marijuana as a Schedule I drug, as opposed to listing it on a lesser schedule, the manufacture, distribution, or possession of marijuana became a criminal offense, with the sole exception being use of the drug as part of a Food and Drug Administration pre-approved research study.

The CSA provides for the periodic updating of schedules and delegates authority to the Attorney General, after consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to add, remove, or transfer substances to, from, or between schedules. Despite considerable efforts to reschedule marijuana, it remains a Schedule I drug. Brief for Respondents 22, Nor do they contend that any provision or section of the CSA amounts to an unconstitutional exercise of congressional authority. In assessing the validity of congressional regulation, none of our Commerce Clause cases can be viewed in isolation.

As charted in considerable detail in United States v. First, Congress can regulate the channels of interstate commerce.

Perez v. Second, Congress has authority to regulate and protect the instrumentalities of interstate commerce, and persons or things in interstate commerce. Third, Congress has the power to regulate activities that substantially affect interstate commerce. Only the third category is implicated in the case at hand. See, e. Filburn, U. We have never required Congress to legislate with scientific exactitude.

See Perez, U. Wirtz, U. Our decision in Wickard, U. In Wickard, we upheld the application of regulations promulgated under the Agricultural Adjustment Act of , 52 Stat. The regulations established an allotment of The similarities between this case and Wickard are striking. Like the farmer in Wickard, respondents are cultivating, for home consumption, a fungible commodity for which there is an established, albeit illegal, interstate market.

See nn. In Wickard, we had no difficulty concluding that Congress had a rational basis for believing that, when viewed in the aggregate, leaving home-consumed wheat outside the regulatory scheme would have a substantial influence on price and market conditions. Here too, Congress had a rational basis for concluding that leaving home-consumed marijuana outside federal control would similarly affect price and market conditions.

More concretely, one concern prompting inclusion of wheat grown for home consumption in the Act was that rising market prices could draw such wheat into the interstate market, resulting in lower market prices.

Wickard, U. The parallel concern making it appropriate to include marijuana grown for home consumption in the CSA is the likelihood that the high demand in the interstate market will draw such marijuana into that market. While the diversion of homegrown wheat tended to frustrate the federal interest in stabilizing prices by regulating the volume of commercial transactions in the interstate market, the diversion of homegrown marijuana tends to frustrate the federal interest in eliminating commercial transactions in the interstate market in their entirety.

Findings in the introductory sections of the CSA explain why Congress deemed it appropriate to encompass local activities within the scope of the CSA. See n. The submissions of the parties and the numerous amici all seem to agree that the national, and international, market for marijuana has dimensions that are fully comparable to those defining the class of activities regulated by the Secretary pursuant to the statute. Be that as it may, we have never required Congress to make particularized findings in order to legislate, see Lopez, U.

FCC, U. McClung, U. Given the enforcement difficulties that attend distinguishing between marijuana cultivated locally and marijuana grown elsewhere, 21 U. That the regulation ensnares some purely intrastate activity is of no moment. As we have done many times before, we refuse to excise individual components of that larger scheme. IV To support their contrary submission, respondents rely heavily on two of our more recent Commerce Clause cases.

In their myopic focus, they overlook the larger context of modern-era Commerce Clause jurisprudence preserved by those cases. Those two cases, of course, are Lopez, U. As an initial matter, the statutory challenges at issue in those cases were markedly different from the challenge respondents pursue in the case at hand.

Here, respondents ask us to excise individual applications of a concededly valid statutory scheme. At issue in Lopez, U. The Act did not regulate any economic activity and did not contain any requirement that the possession of a gun have any connection to past interstate activity or a predictable impact on future commercial activity.

Distinguishing our earlier cases holding that comprehensive regulatory statutes may be validly applied to local conduct that does not, when viewed in isolation, have a significant impact on interstate commerce, we held the statute invalid.

Section q is not an essential part of a larger regulation of economic activity, in which the regulatory scheme could be undercut unless the intrastate activity were regulated. It cannot, therefore, be sustained under our cases upholding regulations of activities that arise out of or are connected with a commercial transaction, which viewed in the aggregate, substantially affects interstate commerce.

The statutory scheme that the Government is defending in this litigation is at the opposite end of the regulatory spectrum. The regulatory scheme is designed to foster the beneficial use of those medications, to prevent their misuse, and to prohibit entirely the possession or use of substances listed in Schedule I, except as a part of a strictly controlled research project.

While the statute provided for the periodic updating of the five schedules, Congress itself made the initial classifications. It identified 42 opiates, 22 opium derivatives, and 17 hallucinogenic substances as Schedule I drugs. Marijuana was listed as the 10th item in the third subcategory.

The remedy was enforceable in both state and federal courts, and generally depended on proof of the violation of a state law. Despite congressional findings that such crimes had an adverse impact on interstate commerce, we held the statute unconstitutional because, like the statute in Lopez, it did not regulate economic activity.

Unlike those at issue in Lopez and Morrison, the activities regulated by the CSA are quintessentially economic. The CSA is a statute that regulates the production, distribution, and consumption of commodities for which there is an established, and lucrative, interstate market. Prohibiting the intrastate possession or manufacture of an article of commerce is a rational and commonly utilized means of regulating commerce in that product.

Because the CSA is a statute that directly regulates economic, commercial activity, our opinion in Morrison casts no doubt on its constitutionality.

The differences between the members of a class so defined and the principal traffickers in Schedule I substances might be sufficient to justify a policy decision exempting the narrower class from the coverage of the CSA. We have no difficulty concluding that Congress acted rationally in determining that none of the characteristics making up the purported class, whether viewed individually or in the aggregate, compelled an exemption from the CSA; rather, the subdivided class of activities defined by the Court of Appeals was an essential part of the larger regulatory scheme.

The CSA designates marijuana as contraband for any purpose; in fact, by characterizing marijuana as a Schedule I drug, Congress expressly found that the drug has no acceptable medical uses. Moreover, the CSA is a comprehensive regulatory regime specifically designed to regulate which controlled substances can be utilized for medicinal purposes, and in what manner.

Thus, even if respondents are correct that marijuana does have accepted medical uses and thus should be redesignated as a lesser schedule drug, 37 the CSA would still impose controls beyond what is required by California law.

The CSA requires manufacturers, physicians, pharmacies, and other handlers of controlled substances to comply with statutory and regulatory provisions mandating registration with the DEA, compliance with specific production quotas, security controls to guard against diversion, recordkeeping and reporting obligations, and prescription requirements. See 21 U.


Gonzales v. Raich (2005)

Syllabus NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus headnote will be released, as is being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued. The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been prepared by the Reporter of Decisions for the convenience of the reader. See United States v. RAICH et al. Respondents Raich and Monson are California residents who both use doctor-recommended marijuana for serious medical conditions. Respondents claim that enforcing the CSA against them would violate the Commerce Clause and other constitutional provisions.


Gonzales v. Raich, 545 U.S. 1 (2005)

Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton determined that the right to terminate a pregnancy according to the judgment of a medical professional falls under the right to privacy. However, in Gonzales v. Raich, the Court decided to not defer to the judgment of medical professionals. Doctors in California determined that marijuana would be the most beneficial option for many patients, including the plaintiffs Angel Raich and Diane Monson, who suffered from cancer and chronic pain. Instead of trusting the legitimacy of the treatment plans, the Court ruled in favor of the federal Controlled Substances Act, which declared marijuana as a Schedule I drug without potential for medical use Annas

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