Kathryn Venezia: Gonzalez v. Raich 545 U.S. 1 (2005)

Kathryn Venezia: Gonzalez v. Raich 545 U.S. 1 (2005)

Gonzalez v. Raich 545 U.S. 1 (2005) Kathryn Venezia Opinion by Chief Justice Stevens Issue Presented: Does Congress’ authority to regulate interstate commerce extend to the regulation of in-state use and production of medical cannabis? Rule: Congress may regulate the use and production of home-grown cannabis as this activity, taken in the aggregate, could rationally be seen as having a substantial economic effect on interstate commerce. Application: The Commerce Clause found in the Constitution under Article I, §8, clause 3, vests Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce. However, Congress only has the authority to regulate if the action or activity: affects or uses channels of interstate (e.g., the internet, highways, railroads), uses an instrumentality of interstate commerce to transport (e.g., cars, airplanes, trains), or if the action or activity has a “substantial effect” on interstate commerce.  In Gonzalez v. Raich, Congress relied on the decision in Wickard v. Filburn where the court held that Congress may regulate the intrastate cultivation of wheat because that activity in the aggregate would impose substantial effects on interstate commerce. Through the New Deal, Congress enacted the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 which imposed a maximum quota on the amount of wheat the farmers could produce. This was enacted in response to a nationwide wheat surplus relative to demand. In Wickard, Respondent Filburn operated a small dairy farm in Ohio where he grew wheat primarily for home consumption to feed his livestock. Farmer Filburn had produced more than his allotted quota and received a fine for the surplus of his wheat. Filburn filed suit against Wickard, the Secretary of Agriculture, seeking to prohibit enforcement of the act arguing that the wheat was not placed into the stream of interstate commerce, and his wheat production cannot be controlled by Congress under the commerce clause because it was not crossing state…

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Source : Kathryn Venezia: Gonzalez v. Raich 545 U.S. 1 (2005)

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