June 6, 2006 will mark the one year anniversary of Gonzales v. Raich, the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the federal government’s ability to regulate medical marijuana under the Commerce Clause. To take stock of the impact of the decision, I’m going to have a couple posts that look at
For starters, the most remarkable thing about the impact of the decision is what hasn’t happened. Post-Raich, there has been a crackdown on some medical marijuana operations at the state level, but many others have been allowed to continue operating. Immediately after Raich, there were a couple quick crackdowns on medical marijuana dispensaries. In San Francisco, for example, three clubs were raided and 13 people arrested on June 13, allegedly for involvement in money laundering, and the fast pace of those raids seemed to suggest that a total shutdown of pot clubs was in the works. Instead, we have seen only sporadic enforcement.
- Another raid of a club took place in San Francisco in December.
- In San Diego, where the general
politlcalclimate is less receptive to medical marijuana, the DEA raided 13 dispensaries in December after undercover agents reportedly purchased drugs without the paperwork required by California law.
- A Sacramento dispensary was raided in April.
- A pot farm described as a “medical marijuana cultivation farm” was
raidedin California’s Palm Desert on March 14, according to City News Service.
And there were probably some other raids that don’t show up on Lexis or on the Web. But the more interesting thing is that many other clubs have been allowed to continue operating, seemingly without much federal intervention. And this in spite of the fact that the Office of National Drug Control
Eleven states have now legalized the use of medical marijuana and more than half of
But did Raich end the viability of medical marijuana? Almost a year later, the answer is no. Growers continue to be harassed and jailed, and running a co-op is hardly hassle free, but the medical marijuana movement is very much alive.