USA Today Editorial


… The Court’s 6-3 decision was a stretched interpretation of the clause in the Constitution that gives Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce.

Under Monday’s ruling, growing marijuana at home for medicinal purposes, with no money changing hands, is somehow now a form of interstate commerce. It makes you wonder what the majority was smoking. As Justice Clarence Thomas said in his dissenting opinion, “If Congress can regulate this … under the commerce clause, then it can regulate virtually anything.”

That warning ought to be a rallying cry for conservative members of Congress elected under the banner of small government and respect for states rights. Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for the court’s majority, told Monson, Raich and anyone in a similar fix that their recourse is to get Congress to change the 1970 federal law that bans possession or distribution of marijuana.

Given the “reefer madness” in Washington that has led to an overemphasis on marijuana prosecutions in the war on drugs, the prospects for early congressional action seem remote. In the meantime, surely federal prosecutors and drug-control agents have better things to do than to swoop down on critically ill people who are abiding by state law and haul them off to court.

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