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Raich v. Gonzalez

    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.

    Medical marijuana is not a fundamental right, even when a physician advises that the use of medical marijuana is the sole remedy for ones’ condition.

    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 the liberty interest protected by the Due Process Clause of the 5th Amendment embraces a right to make a life-shaping decision on a physician’s advice to use medical marijuana to preserve bodily integrity, avoid intolerable pain, and preserve life, when prescribed medication has failed to remedy the condition.

    Held.

    No, the liberty interest protected by the Due Process Clause of the 5th Amendment does not a right to make a life-shaping decision on a physician’s advice to use medical marijuana to preserve bodily integrity, avoid intolerable pain, and preserve life, when prescribed medication has failed to remedy the condition.

    Discussion.

    The court notes that states did not embrace the medical use of marijuana until California enacted the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. Although the views of marijuana are still changing and are currently gaining traction in the legal world, medical marijuana has not reached the position of a fundamental right. Therefore, the use of medical marijuana is not a fundamental right, even when a physician advises that the use of medical marijuana is the sole remedy for ones’ condition.


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