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Gonzales v. Raich

United States Supreme Court
545 U.S. 1 (2005)

Gonzales v. Raich


In 1970, Congress passed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act to combat illegal drug use in the United States. Shortly after, Congress enacted the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) which categorized illegal drugs into different “schedules” and prevented their sale, purchase, and possession in the United States. In 1996, California enacted the Compassionate Use Act that allowed the use of medical marijuana within the state by persons needing it for legitimate medical purposes. Angel Raich and Diane Monson (plaintiffs) were California residents who both legally used marijuana to treat legitimate medical issues. Despite receiving approval from California state officials, federal agents seized and destroyed Raich’s marijuana plants. Raich brought this suit against Alberto Gonzales, Attorney General of the United States (defendant), seeking injunctive and declaratory relief prohibiting the enforcement of the federal CSA. The court of appeals ruled that the CSA was an invalid exercise of Congress’s Commerce Clause power, and Gonzales appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Stevens, J.)

Concurrence (Scalia, J.)

Dissent (Thomas, J.)

Dissent (O’Connor, J.)

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