Supreme Court Justice Questions Whether Federal Ban On Marijuana Remains “Proper”

“The Federal Government’s current approach is a half-in, half-out regime”

In a written statement issued today by US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, he called into question the US government’s authority to impose federal prohibitions on the state-licensed production and sale of cannabis.

Justice Thomas, who is considered to be among the more conservative members of the Court, acknowledged, “The Federal Government’s current approach is a half-in, half-out regime that simultaneously tolerates and forbids local use of marijuana.” Specifically, Thomas referred to legislation passed by Congress every year since 2015 prohibiting the Justice Department from interfering in states’ medical cannabis access programs. “This contradictory and unstable state of affairs strains the basic principle of federalism,” he wrote.

Thomas further acknowledged that times have changed significantly since 2005, when the Supreme Court ruled 6 to 3 (in Gonzalez v Raich) that federal law prohibited any state-sanctioned use of marijuana as a medicine – even in instances where there was no interstate commerce. Thomas was among the judges who dissented in that case.

Read Justice Thomas’ full statement here.

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