Marijuana May Yet Make Strangest of Bedfellows In Warren and Thomas

The New York Sun | 6/10/2018 | Staff
abbycraig (Posted by) Level 3

Elizabeth Warren, meet Clarence Thomas.

Senator Warren, a Democrat of Massachusetts, is in the headlines for joining with Senator Cory Gardner, a Republican who represents Colorado, to introduce the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States Act. That legislation would, as Warren put it in a tweet, “let states, territories, & tribes decide for themselves how best to regulate marijuana — without federal interference.”

Justice - Thomas - Warren - Ally - Issue

Justice Thomas is Warren’s natural ally on the issue. He wrote an emphatic dissent in the 2005 Supreme Court case Gonzalez v. Raich. Alberto Gonzalez was President George W. Bush’s attorney general, and Angel Raich is an Oakland, Calif., woman who used locally grown marijuana for medical reasons.

The dissent by Justice Thomas focused not on the advantages or disadvantages of marijuana use but on the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. That clause states, “The Congress shall have Power...To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States.”

Thomas - Dissent - Respondents - Diane - Monson

The Thomas dissent begins: “Respondents Diane Monson and Angel Raich use marijuana that has never been bought or sold, that has never crossed state lines, and that has had no demonstrable effect on the national market for marijuana. If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything — and the Federal Government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers.”

Justice Thomas went on: “Respondents’ local cultivation and consumption of marijuana is not ‘Commerce ... among the several States.’ By holding that Congress may regulate activity that is neither interstate nor commerce under the Interstate Commerce Clause, the Court abandons any attempt to enforce the Constitution’s limits on federal power.”

Justice - Thomas - Agents - Drug - Enforcement

As Justice Thomas pointed out, “When agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration raided Monson’s home, they seized six cannabis plants. If the Federal Government can regulate growing a half-dozen cannabis plants for personal consumption (not because...
(Excerpt) Read more at: The New York Sun
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