[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
August 17, 2005

Medical Marijuana, American Federalism, and the Supreme Court

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Georgetown Law Center, Washington, DC.

JAMA. 2005;294(7):842-844. doi:10.1001/jama.294.7.842

In Gonzalez v Raich, the US Supreme Court held that federal law enforcement authorities could criminally prosecute patients for possessing marijuana prescribed by a physician in accordance with state law.1 The Court did not overturn state medical marijuana laws but did open the door to criminal prosecution under federal drug statutes. The Court also did not foreclose future challenges to federal enforcement on other constitutional grounds (eg, an unwarranted invasion of patient-physician privacy).