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Justice Thomas Opines on Cannabis Preemption

Updated: Jun 16, 2022

Today, the Supreme Court of the United States, with Justice Thomas as the drafter, issued an opinion in our firm's Standing Akimbo v. United States case. While the Supreme Court chose not to hear our case (Thomas cited to the percolation doctrine, meaning it is too soon in the overall scheme of things) he issued an opinion as to the court's thoughts on the matter.

As an initial background, we asked the court to decide whether federal law preempts state law with regard to marijuana and whether the actions the government is taking are legal. We also asked the court to opine on whether Section 280E is constitutional.

Justice Thomas: "This contradictory and unstable state of affairs strains basic principles of federalism and conceals traps for the unwary."

"If the Government is now content to allow States to act “as laboratories” “‘and try novel socialand economic experiments,’” Raich, 545 U. S., at 42 (O’Connor, J., dissenting), then it might no longer have authority to intrude on “[t]he States’ core police powers . . . to define criminal law and to protect the health, safety, and welfare of their citizens.” Ibid. A prohibition on intrastate use or cultivation of marijuana may no longer be necessary or proper to support the Federal Government’s piecemeal approach."

This opinion was a big warning to the federal government to lay off the states and the power the states have under the Tenth Amendment.

Importantly, Justice Thomas' statement is not a "dissent" it is an explanation of why SCOTUS denied cert. Thus, this statement gives great insight on how the Justices are viewing the cannabis issue.

We will keep fighting. We will win.

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