Monday, June 06, 2005

**Breaking News**

Score another one for the douchebags in perfect health that are scared of pot for no reason. The Supreme Court just ruled users of medical marijuana can be prosecuted...

"Federal authorities may prosecute sick people who smoke pot on doctors' orders, the Supreme Court ruled Monday, concluding that state medical marijuana laws don't protect users from a federal ban on the drug.

The decision is a stinging defeat for marijuana advocates who had successfully pushed 10 states to allow the drug's use to treat various illnesses."


At 10:42 AM, Blogger Teddy said...

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At 10:42 AM, Blogger Teddy said...

The worst thing about this ruling isn't that the feds can arrest people growing pot for medical purposes (although that's pretty fucking awful), it's that the court has just made one of the broadest expansions of the commerce clause in the history of this country. This is a not only a huge blow to med mj proponents, but to anyone who supports states rights of any kind.

At 10:48 AM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Interesting, I didn't know focus was more narrow, selfish even. Thanks for the edification.

I just don't get how you can rule something that HELPS VERY SICK PEOPLE FEEL BETTER illegal, strictly because the government is scared of it.

It's a fucking plant, grown from the ground, it's not fucking crystal meth. Scotus, you fucked up.

At 10:51 AM, Blogger John Howard said...

I'm sure we can get this overturned if we can just get Pfizer or Merck to sell pot.

At 12:34 PM, Blogger PaulNoonan said...

Teddy's right, this was a big expansion of Federal power (and Antonin Scalia should be ashamed of himself. I've always wondered what would happen with him if a federalism issue conflicted with a "moral" issue. What a douchebag. Notice that Thomas was on the side of right here (with O'Connor and Rehnquist).

I'll explain exactly how these 6 justices fucked up the country here in a more fun way.


This was the Supreme Court decision, in 1922, that ruled that Baseball is an enterprise that is NOT engaging in "interstate commerce." (And therefore not subject to anti-trust law.)

The Federal Government may ONLY pass laws regulating activity that affects interstate commerce. Think about that next time you hear of some Federal statute and try to figure out exactly how it relates to interstate commerce.

In this case, the weed in question was produced only locally in state. It could not, by law, be sold anywhere but in state. As a matter of law, this pot was not in interstate commerce.

The court ruled here (I've only just glanced it over, so this is not definitive) that because the entirely local pot has "an effect" on the national market that the Fed can regulate it. How do you decide if it has an effect? Let's go to Justice Stevens, who wrote the majority opinion:

"We have never required Congress to legislate with
scientific exactitude. When Congress decides that the
'total incidence' of a practice poses a threat to a national
market, it may regulate the entire class."

Yes, that's right. As long as Congress thinks it is dealing with a national market, it's regulation will be fine.

So to recap, Growing your own pot for your own medical use in a state that says it is legal to do so affects interstate commerce enough to allow for regulation.

Major League Baseball, on the other hand, does not affect interstate commerce enough to allow for regulation.

Make sense?

At 12:44 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

That explanation, as well as Teddy's, makes me want to be a lawyer. Everything else makes me not want to be a lawyer, but that did.

Good work, fellas, thanks for clearing that up.

At 2:37 PM, Blogger Don Fiedler said...

Hate to crap on the party, fellas, but this isn't really such a big expansion of federal commerce clause all. It's actually far more in line with the court's pre-Lopez take on the commerce clause (roughly 1940-1995). at that time, as long as the federal statute had some rational relationship to interstate commerce, it was within congress's power to regulate it, no matter how tenuous. as a result, much of the civil rights legislation was legitimized by way of the commerce clause (heart of atlanta) and lots of other progressive social programs too. it was only in 1995 that the court finally limited congress's expansive commerce clause power, restricting a guns/school zones act. morrison (violence against women) followed.

if you read stevens' opinion, he's really just going with the pre-Lopez/Morrison regime, which is still good law. he properly limits Lopez and Morrison to what they are intended to do: keep the federal govt out of something entirely unrelated to interstate commerce. stevens notes that there is a problem in distinguishing locally-grown pot with interstate pot, which brings it squarely in line with wickard.

for me, in the long run, this is probably a good decision, especially when (if?) the dems get back in power in Washington. should sick people get to smoke pot? sure. but we don't want to make congress impotent either. it may hurt now, what with the bibles controlling washington, but that will pass at some point.

it's funny how screwed up all of this has become, with we liberals screaming state's rights and the conservatives pushing the national agenda. my how things have changed.

this is just my 2 it was basically the answer to my con law exam.

plus, youse got hoagies?

At 3:11 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Not being in law school or a lawyer, I don't know the laws and all this stare decisis shit. But I do get a great kick out of that last point, the Dudley Moore/Kirk Cameron or Fred Savage/Judge Reinhold switch of conservatives and liberals' positions. Pretty soon Ted Kennedy's gonna be railing against third term abortions and a drunk Bill Frist is gonna be driving wasted chicks off a bridge. That is what liberals do, right?

I still think this is bullshit though...screw the commerce law, how bout the fact that the Controlled Substances Act is crap to begin with? People can't use a drug that can HELP them because someone 60 years ago thought it should be very much illegal? That's fucking atrocious. If it helps, it helps...let's have a little respect for that.

At 3:54 PM, Blogger PaulNoonan said...

I disagree with Don on all counts, because it was unsettled to this point whether Morrison and Lopez had any broader application. Also, the Wickard v. Filburn decision that is the source of modern commerce clause interpretation is a gigantic piece of shit (in my professional opinion).

Civil Rights legislation has another, better justification than the commerce clause, that being that it denied participation to part of the populace. A set of people were basically denied Constitutional protection. The reforms of the middle and late twentieth century had better grounding in the 14th amendment (passed 1868,an actual enumeration of federal power) than in any expansive reading of the commerce clause.

And I do want to make congress impotent. Do you really want them to have unlimted power? What has the Fed done for you lately?

Whenever you give the government the power to do something for you, you also give it the power to do something to you.

At 4:19 PM, Blogger Matty Mac said...

Nibb High football rules......

that's all I got on this one.

At 4:59 PM, Blogger Snacks said...

I'm not going to jump into the Commerce Clause, Dormant Commerce Clause, good law v. bad law, pre-Lopez or Post-Lopez aspects of this exchange. For anyone who has been to law school, we all know that courts first determine the end result and then has their law clerks find case law to back up the conclusion (not the other way around). In any event, my days of intellectual legal debates are long gone (and I got a B in Con Law so what good would my opinion be anyway?)

In my opinion, it's the Controlled Substances Act that is of issue not it's consitutional intrepretation. If alchohol is legally produced and distributed then marijuana should be legally produced and distributed. The two are analagous in every which way.

- Don't do it in public.
- Don't do it in excess.
- Don't do it before work, church, synagogue, etc.
- Don't do it before you turn 18 or some other determined age limit.

If anything, alchohol is more detrimental to one's health and is responsible for way more deaths per year than pot.

And those who place marijuana in the same category as hard core drugs have obviously never sat in a college dorm room on a Friday night or been to a Phish show.

And don't give me this whole gateway drug argument - I don't have the time for that shit.

At 5:12 PM, Blogger PaulNoonan said...

I love the Gateway Drug thing. Reminds me of this conversation:

We flashback to a playing field at a school. Lenny and Carl (complete with afros) are smoking weed.

Hey Homer, wanna smoke some marijuana?

They say it's a gateway drug.

Homer takes the joint and is about to smoke it, when they hear Chief Wiggum.

At 6:27 PM, Anonymous SpanishMiguel said...


That's Fred Savage/JUSTICE Reinhold to you, buddy.

At 1:02 AM, Blogger Teddy said...

Ace, your original point stands true. You don't need to be a lawyer or in law school to realize that this ruling will have it's worst effects on really sick people.

If you're one of the recreational pot users who succled off the generous tit of the system in Cali, Oregon, etc, you're just gonna go to your hippy friend down the street who grows anyway.

If you're legitimately sick, your only access to pot is through a designated caregiver, always has been, and you're totally crippled without the use of pot, you're in some serious trouble, forced to find mj through alternate means. Good luck doing that with your crippling illnesses.

Oh, and by the way, the state registry where the names of you and your caregiver are registered, the DEA is probably printing those out by the dozen for distribution to agents to bust your sick, crippled, sorry ass.

Thanks for the compassion douche-rockets.

I'll bet Rehnquist secretly had a few jibbers when he was on leave to help the pain. At least he saw the light.

Aside from the attenuated reasoning the majority uses, the thing that probably pisses me off the most about this ruling is the stats the court cites:

$10.5bn in economic activity for MJ. Gee, you think if you made it legal/regulated, there wouldn't be some money to be made off of that? Oregon's MMJ program had a $1 mil surplus this year. The legislature is talking about putting that toward education.

But why should we pay any attention to such stats when the "war on drugs" is such a raging success? Beats me.

At 1:24 AM, Blogger Teddy said...

For some really serious stats:

Milton Friedman, +500 other economists support the legalization of marijuana:

They estimate the combined savings and tax revenues of $10-14 billion... that's enough to... "cover the securing of all "loose nukes" in the former Soviet Union (estimated by former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb at $30 billion) in less than three years. Just one year's savings would cover the full cost of anti-terrorism port security measures required by the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002."


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