The Federal Congress enacted the Controlled Substance Act, 21 U.S.C. §801 (CSA), as part of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. CSA establishes or designates certain drugs as “controlled substances” and makes it unlawful to knowingly or intentionally “manufacture, distribute, dispense, or possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, a controlled substance.” Essentially, the Federal Government has regulated the use, manufacturing, and dispensing of marijuana at the federal level and made it federal crime.
In response to the federal legislation, California voters passed two proposition which were both passed a few years apart from each other. The first, the Compassionate Use Act (CaCUA) and the second, California Proposition 64, the California Marijuana Legalization Initiative (CMLI), which passed in 2016. Proposition 64 legalized the recreational use of marijuana for adults aged 21 years or older, permitting smoking in a private home or at a business licensed for on-site marijuana consumption. Up to 28.5 grams of marijuana and 8 grams of concentrated marijuana are legal to possess under this measure. An individual is permitted to grow up to six plants within a private home as long as the area is locked and not visible from a public place. In conjunction with the CaCUA which was intended “to ensure that patients and their primary caregivers who obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes upon the recommendation of a physician are not subject to criminal prosecution or sanction.”
Ashley owns and operates The Smokehouse, a small local marijuana dispensary in a small town in California. She grows, cultivates and sells her organic marijuana locally at her small dispensary. She has a small, but loyal customer base. The federal government, through the direction of the Federal Attorney General, raided The Smokehouse, seized all of Ashley grow supplies, product and has arrested Ashley for violating the Federal Controlled Substances Act.
Ashley maintains that she cannot be prosecuted under federal law because she has complied with all state and local laws regarding marijuana manufacturing and dispensing. She also maintains that the federal government has exceeded its regulatory power under the United States Constitution. Is she correct? Please discuss? When answering please consider the following: What power does the federal government have to regulate the State of California and its residents? Where does the federal regulatory power come from?
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