Tuesday, January 3, 2006
The case of Don Nord (Steamboat Pilot & Today, Jan. 1) is more complex than the rule that Congress is superior to the states and therefore state officials can enforce federal drug prohibition against medical marijuana patients.
Although the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the authority to criminalize medical marijuana, there are still these open questions: whether state officials can enforce federal law against medical marijuana patients when the respective state legislature has decriminalized medical marijuana and whether substantive due process protects medical marijuana patients from criminal prosecution.
The Constitution allows for Congress to be superior within its limited sphere, but Congress cannot force the states to act or arbitrarily punish individuals for following a doctor's advice.
Kenneth Michael White
Attorney at law