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Commerce Clause, the Controlled Substances Act

Under the Commerce Clause, the Controlled Substances Act give the federal government the right to intervene in any sales or possession of marijuana.  Marijuana is still classified as a schedule 1 drug.   Drugs including marijuana under this schedule are deemed illegal by the federal government.  States like California and Colorado have deemed marijuana legal for personal recreational and medicinal use.  These States may allow this type of activity, however the federal government may also intervene in these issues.  One such instance would be the case of Gonzales vs Raich.  A recent essay released by the University of Missouri Kansas City explains the details of this case.  Essentially in this case Angel Raich and Diane Monson cultivate and use marijuana for medicinal purposes.  Their use is regulated by board certified practitioners who deem the use necessary for controlling their symptoms.  According to the essay, “on August 15, 2002, county deputy sheriffs and agents from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) came to Monson’s home. After a thorough investigation, the county officials concluded that her use of marijuana was entirely lawful as a matter of California law. Nevertheless, after a 3-hour standoff, the federal agents seized and destroyed all six of her cannabis plants.” (UMKC, 2005)  While the confiscation of the marijuana plants being used for a valid reason may be morally corrupt in the eyes of some, legally the action was justified under the Controlled Substances Act.  (UMKC, 2005) Political issues that arise from this case are questions regarding the power and control of the federal government over state governments.  The Supremacy Clause gives the United States Constitution, and the federal government the supreme law of the land.  Although the Commerce Clause and Controlled Substance Act protects the nation from illegal drug distribution, black market crime, drug manufacturing, and sales, it can also cause controversy regarding personal liberties within various states.  Legally the federal government can control any production of food and goods if it is deemed that by doing so, the economy is affected in any manner. (Ivers, 2013)

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