Gonzales V. Raich Case Brief

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GONZALES V. RAICH, 545 U.S. 1 (2005)
352 F.3d 1222

Facts: Respondents contended that California’s Compassionate Use Act of 1996 exempted physicians, patients and care givers from criminal prosecution and allowed for the possession and cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes with the recommendation and approval of a physician. Respondents who suffered from medical conditions sought to avail themselves of this exemption.

Because the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) enacted under the commerce clause power of Congress prohibited possession of marijuana, in August of 2002 local county Sheriffs and federal DEA Agents entered Respondents’ home. While the county officials concluded that Respondents’ use of marijuana was lawful, the DEA did not and seized and destroyed all the marijuana plants. Respondents brought legal action against the Attorney General of the United States and the head of the DEA seeking declaratory and injunctive relief prohibiting enforcement of the CSA and claimed that enforcing the CSA against them would violate the Commerce Clause, the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment, the Ninth and Tenth Amendments of the Constitution and the doctrine of medical necessity.

The District Court denied Respondents' Motion for a Preliminary Injunction and upon appeal; the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed and ordered the District Court to enter said Preliminary Injunction. The Petitioner approached the United States Supreme Court who granted them a Writ of Certiorari and after consideration, vacated the Judgment of the Court of Appeals and remanded.

Issue: Does the power vested in Congress to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations and among the States include the power to prohibit the local cultivation and use of marijuana in compliance with California law?

Decision: Yes. The ban on manufacture and possession of marijuana does not exceed Congress’s power when applied to intrastate possession and manufacture of...
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