Today marks the 12th anniversary of the decision in Gonzales v. Raich, a decision whose repercussions still resonate across the legal marijuana market. Following precedent, the Supreme Court held that the Commerce Clause of the Constitution allowed for the federal government to criminalize the private cultivation of marijuana, even if that cultivation was in compliance with state law.
The facts of the case demonstrate federalism at work. In 1996, California ratified proposition 215 otherwise known as “The Compassionate Use act of 1996”. This act legalized the use, sale and cultivation of medical marijuana with a recommendation from a doctor. California had become the third state to legalize medical marijuana, and the first to legalize it via referendum.