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Criminal Law Keyed to Gershowitz
Gonzales v. Raich
Citation:545 U.S. 1, 125 S.Ct. 2195, 162 L.Ed.2d 1.
In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 215, now codified as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. The proposition was designed to ensure that “seriously ill” residents of the State have access to marijuana for medical purposes. The Respondents are California residents who suffer from a variety of serious medical conditions and have sought to avail themselves of medical marijuana pursuant to the terms of the Compassionate Use Act. Both women have been using marijuana as a medication for several years pursuant to their doctors’ recommendation, and both rely heavily on cannabis to function on a daily basis.
On August 15, 2002, county deputy sheriffs and agents from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) came to one of the Respondent’s home. After a thorough investigation, the county officials concluded that her use of marijuana was entirely lawful as a matter of California law. Nevertheless, after a 3-hour standoff, the federal agents seized and destroyed all six of her cannabis plants.
Respondents sought injunctive relief prohibiting the enforcement of the federal Controlled Substances Act to the extent it prevents them from possessing, obtaining, or manufacturing cannabis for their personal medical use. Respondents claimed that enforcing the Controlled Substances Act against them would violate the Commerce Clause because their activity did not involve interstate commerce. The District Court denied respondents’ motion, but the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed and ordered the District Court to enter a preliminary injunction.
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