Raich v. Ashcroft

352 F.3d 1222


Facts: Raich uses marijuana for medicinal purposes.  The marijuana she uses is homegrown.  This is permitted under California law, but not under the federal Controlled Substances Act.  Raich sued for injunctive and declaratory relief, claiming that the CSA was unconstitutional as applied to her conduct.  The district court denied Raich’s motion for a preliminary injunction, and Raich appealed.


Issue: Is the CSA a constitutional use of Congress’s Commerce Clause power when applied to Raich’s conduct?




Analysis: The court finds that the activity regulated is not commercial or economic in nature.  There is no jurisdictional hook that connects the CSA to the Commerce Clause.  There are congressional findings that set out the connection between controlled substances and interstate commerce, but the court says these are not dispositive and not pertinent to the particular situation at issue here.


The dissent claims that it is impossible to distinguish the cultivation and use of marijuana in this case from the cultivation and use of wheat in Wickard.


Conclusion: The district court is reversed and a preliminary injunction is ordered.


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