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Gonzalez v. Raich

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Raich uses medical marijuana because she is very ill. Monson also uses marijuana to treat her illness. Subsequently, the DEA raided Monson’s house and destroyed some one her marijuana. Fearing a raid in her residence, Raich brought this action declaring that the Controlled Substance Act was an unconstitutional restrained on her fundamental rights.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    Congress has the power to regulate the production and use of homegrown marijuana because this activity, as a whole, may reasonable have a substantial effect on interstate commerce.

    Facts.

    Raich, a California resident who suffers from more than ten serious medical conditions, uses medical marijuana for treatment. Her doctor, Dr. Lucido, testified and provided a list of thirty-five medications that Raich has tried, which are cause Raich to experience side effects, and therefore, do not work for her. Marijuana is the sole medication that Raich has been using for approximately eight year, every two waking hours of the day. The previous plaintiff, Diane Monson, also uses medical marijuana, had her house raided by the DEA. Fearing raid in her house in the future, Raich brought this action against the United States Attorney General and the Administrator of the DEA.

    Issue.

    Whether Congress has the power to regulate the production and use of homegrown marijuana.

    Held.

    Yes, Congress has the power to regulate the production and use of homegrown marijuana because this activity, as a whole, may reasonable have a substantial effect on interstate commerce.

    Dissent.

    The marijuana in this case not commerce because the marijuana was not bought or sold, the marijuana never crossed state lines, becoming interstate, and the marijuana did not have effect the marijuana national market. Further, not only did Congress not have the power to regulate the marijuana in this case under the Commerce Clause, but Congress also did not have the power to regulate the marijuana under the Necessary and Proper clause because this regulation of this marijuana is not necessary to achieve Congress’ regulatory purpose in interstate drug trade. Thus, Congress’s are a violation of the Tenth Amendment.

    The majority’s is violating the rights granted to the states and is allowing Congress to improperly deem that a certain commodity is commerce under the Commerce Clause, in violation of the Commerce Clause.

    Concurrence.

    Congress’s power to regulate activities that have a “substantial effect” is provided for under the Necessary and Proper Clause, which grants Congress the power to do act in any manner necessary to achieve its regulatory purposes.  Further, under this provision, Congress may even regulate interstate activities that do not have a “substantial effect” on interstate commerce.

    Discussion.

    The United States Supreme Court has previously held that Congress has the power to regulate commerce in that arise in a local area that has a substantial effect on interstate commerce. Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (1942).  Here, Raich’s use of marijuana, growing it in his home for personal use, has a substantial effect on interstate commerce because there is an well-known interstate market for marijuana, even though it is illegal. Further, this case is similar to Wickard in which Congress wanted to regulate the wheat national market by controlling the wheat that an individual grew in his or her residence. In this case, Congress wants to regulate and remove the illegal drug national market removing the growth of illegal drugs in one’s residence. Moreover, both, an individual’s own growth of wheat and an individual’s own growth of illegal drugs, frustrate Congress’ attempt to regulate the wheat and illegal drug market. Thus, the CSA is a valid exercise of the Congressional authority under the Commerce Clause, and the court of appeals decision is reversed.


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