Monday, June 06, 2005

The Medical Marijuana Decision

The Supreme Court has decided that

Two California women have no right to use locally grown marijuana for medical purposes when federal drug statutes outlaw its use under any circumstances.

In an important decision announced Monday dealing with the balance of governmental powers, the US Supreme Court ruled that the federal government has the authority under the US Constitution to override a state law permitting the medical use of marijuana.

The 6-to-3 decision is a defeat for California and nine other states with similar medical marijuana laws. It is also a major setback for those medical patients who have come to rely on marijuana as part of their treatment.

In addition, it marks a retreat by the high court from its so-called federalism revival. "There was a counterrevolution in progress, how far will they go. The answer appears to be not very far," says Douglas Laycock, a constitutional law professor at the University of Texas Law School.

Digby has a good take on what this means, in terms of each judge's political stance and so on. To me it looks like a few of the wingnut judges are pure political opportunists: rule for the states' rights when that brings the country a step closer to wingnuttery, rule against the state's rights when doing so has the same effect. But I'm not a legal mind.

I hope that I will never need medical marijuana for pain relief, or that nobody I care about will need it. But then there is always someone who will need it, and this decision makes them into potential criminals. Too sad.