Ashcroft v. Raich

October 13, 2004 • Legal Briefs

In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 215, legalizing the medical use of marijuana. This law directly violated the federal Controlled Substances Act and, consequently, state and federal DEA officials raided several homes, confiscating and destroying medical marijuana plants. Angel Raich and others sued, claiming this enforcement of the CSA violated the Commerce and Due Process clauses as well as the Tenth Amendment and the doctrine of medical necessity. Cato’s brief supporting Raich asserts that healthcare issues have traditionally been the territory of state regulation and that the “Compassionate Use Act” legalizing medical marijuana falls within that purview. Additionally, the cultivation of marijuana plants at home for personal consumption does not constitute commerce and thus federal intervention is unconstitutional.

About the Authors
Tim Lynch
Adjunct Scholar and Former Director, Project on Criminal Justice