Monday, June 6, 2005

What Were They Smoking?

The Supreme Court — damned activist judges! — trumps states rights again.

The Supreme Court ruled today that federal authorities may prosecute sick people who use marijuana under their doctors’ supervision, a bitter defeat for advocates of the medical use of the drug.

The 6-to-3 decision, arising from a case in California, concluded that state laws cannot override a federal ban on the substance. The ruling ran counter to the wishes of voters and lawmakers who had adopted “compassionate use” marijuana statutes in California and 10 other states.

The case decided today involved an array of issues that included the United States Constitution’s Commerce Clause, a 1942 Supreme Court ruling on home-grown wheat and Congress’s intentions in passing anti-drug laws in 1970. On a far more personal level, the focus was on two California women, Diana Monson and Angel McClary Raich, who have used marijuana to gain relief from excruciating pain.

Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for the majority, said the case was made difficult by the women’s “strong arguments that they will suffer irreparable harm” without marijuana. However, the justice wrote, “well-settled law controls our answer.”

“The Controlled Substances Act is a valid exercise of federal power, even as applied to the troubling facts of this case,” he explained.

So it sounds like we have to get the Congress to change the Controlled Substances Act. Yeah, that’ll happen only after we take them out and get them stoned.