06 June 2005

Supreme Court medical marijuana defeat

    Governor Tarkin: No star system will dare oppose the Emperor now.
    Princess Leia: The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.
      Star Wars
The Supreme Court ruled today that sick people can be prosecuted for using marijuana to ease their pain. As much as I am for the legalization of medical marijuana, I can't fault their interpretation of the law as it stands. Federal marijuana laws are the real problem, and they are what need to change.

Justice Stevens, in writing the majority opionion, seemed ambivalent in his decision. It's like he knows the law, but regrets how it must be interpreted here. Take this paragraph:
The case is made difficult by respondents’ strong arguments that they will suffer irreparable harm because, despite a congressionalfinding to the contrary, marijuana does have valid therapeutic purposes. The question before us, however, is not whether it is wise to enforce the statute in these circumstances; rather, it is whether Congress’ power to regulate interstate markets for medicinal substances encompassesthe portions of those markets that are supplied with drugs produced and consumed locally. 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.
He also closes with something of a call to action:
But perhaps even more important than these legal avenues is the democratic process, in which the voices of voters allied with these respondents may one day be heard in the halls of Congress.
That's how I'll be treating it, anyway.

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