In a 6-3 decision in the Raich case, the Supremes have ruled that Federal prohibitions against marijuana trump state medicinal marijuana laws. The two defendants, Angel Raich and Diane Monson have very serious afflictions. Angel has a brain tumor and Diane suffers from a degenerative spine disease, but if they continue to use marijuana to relieve their pain they just might get arrested by federal agents. Check out Nick Gillespie’s take. Julian Sanchez’s take is here. NORML’s take is here. The organization points out that state medical marijuana laws still remain in effect. Now the ball in the federal govt’s court:
“With this ruling, Congress and the Justice Department have a choice: They can choose to waste taxpayers’ dollars and undermine states’ rights by arresting and prosecuting seriously ill patients who possess and use medical cannabis in compliance with state law, or they can choose more worthwhile priorities, like protecting national security and targeting violent criminals,” NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said. He added that Congress is expected to vote later this month on a bipartisan amendment sponsored by Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) that would prohibit the federal government from spending taxpayers’ dollars to prosecute patients who comply with their state’s medical marijuana laws. Also pending in Congress is House Bill HR 2087, “the States’ Rights to Medical Marijuana Act,” sponsored by Reps. Barney Frank (D-MA), Ron Paul (R-TX), Sam Farr (D-CA), Rohrabacher, and Hinchey, along with 31 co-sponsors, which would reclassify marijuana under federal law to properly recognize its medical utility and enable physicians to legally prescribe it under controlled circumstances.
And, of course, for penetrating legal analysis, check out the Volokh Conspiracy.