In response to various state laws legalizing the use of

Constitutional Law

In response to various state laws legalizing the use of medicinal marijuana, the federal government

amended the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”). The CSA prohibits the manufacture, possession

or distribution of marijuana. The legislative history indicates the CSA was designed, among other

things, to deter state and local governments from “encouraging the intrastate distribution and

possession of medicinal marijuana because such activity contributes to swelling interstate traffic in

this substance.” Penalties for violating the CSA include, but are not limited to, monetary fines.

Previously, the State of Inebriation had enacted the Compassionate Use of Marijuana Act

(“CUMA”), which permits qualifying residents to “obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes

where that medical use is deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a licensed physician.”

CUMA conditions eligibility for the permit on the individual’s residency in Inebriation for at least

six months. The purposes of the residency requirement are two-fold: 1. “limit the burden on

Inebriation’s health care system from increased requests for medicinal marijuana use permits,” and

2. “ensure that the permits will be issued in such a way as to promote residents’ continued positive

contributions to society.” CUMA’s principal sponsor, F. Theodore Higgins, commented on the

Assembly floor. “we need CUMA’s residency requirement to discourage migration of scam artists

and miscreants.” CUMA violators are subject to potential criminal and civil sanctions.

Joanne, who suffers from a debilitating medical condition, moved to Inebriation two months ago.

Joanne’s new husband, Clarence, also has a debilitating medical condition, but he has resided in

Inebriation for two years. Joanne and Clarence visit their Inebriation-based physician, Doctor, to

obtain a medicinal marijuana permit. Despite Joanne’s qualifying medical condition, Doctor advises

he cannot issue her a medicinal marijuana permit. Doctor, however, does issue a permit to Clarence.

Clarence cultivates a small marijuana garden in the couple’s backyard, and they both use the crop

solely for their own medicinal purposes. The federal government discovers Clarence’s garden,

impounds the crop and issues him a civil citation. After a trial in federal court, Clarence is assessed

a fine. Seeking to make an example of Joanne for her non-compliance, Inebriation issues her a civil

citation. After an Inebriation court proceeding, Joanne is also fined.

After exhausting their respective appeals in the federal Circuit Court and Inebriation’s Supreme

Court, Joanne and Clarence’s petitions for certification to the United States Supreme Court have

been granted and consolidated.

You are a law clerk for the Supreme Court Justice assigned to

prepare the bench memorandum discussing Joanne and Clarence’s defenses raised in the proceedings

below. Please address the following three issues:

1) Is the CSA constitutional under the “commerce” clause? I.e., did Congress have the power to

pass this law?

2) Can the State of Inebriation law be applied even after the CSA is passed? Why or why not?

3) Is the enforcement of either law a violation of the Constitutional guarantee of “equal

protection”? Discuss.

Please answer this question based on your knowledge of constitutional law and the National

Paralegal College courseware. There is no need to use or research case law in the completion of this



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