News Release ~ 06/06/2005

Statement of Barbara E. Bergman on the Supreme Court’s 6-3 medical marijuana decision in Gonzales v. Raich, No. 03-1454

Washington, DC (June 6, 2005) – “If our Constitution means anything, it should mean that the ''war on drugs'' cannot be made to be a war on the quality of life of chronically or terminally ill Americans. Sadly, the federal government embraces and promotes a constitutional regime that enables federal law enforcement to enforce policies which add to patients’ pain contrary to state laws and fundamental notions of federalism. Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause may be broad, but it should not exercised blindly or heartlessly to preempt the will of the citizens of the several states. To paraphrase Justice John Paul Stevens and the majority today, we sincerely hope that the voices of voters allied with proponents of compassionate marijuana policies may one day be heard in the halls of Congress as they are in the statehouses.”

An electronic copy of NACDL’s friend-of-the-court brief in Raich, which was joined by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), the NORML Foundation, the Washington State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (WACDL) and the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (OCDLA) may be obtained by e-mailing media@nacdl.org.

Barbara Bergman, Professor at the University of New Mexico School of Law--Albuquerque, is the President Elect of the National Association of Criminal Defense Laywers. NACDL was an amicus curiae in Gonzales v. Raich. 

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's approximately 10,000 direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal justice system.

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