Culture, Society and Praxis

Document Type



Competition between state and federal government has been shaping American society for centuries. Interesting enough, the battle has recently set medical marijuana as the new battleground. California state law and Federal law collide in the 2005 Supreme Court case, Gonzales v. Raich, in which the court used the Commerce Clause to affirm federal authority. Much controversy and confusion has arisen from this decision, and my paper serves to analyze the reasoning behind the decision and its repercussions. I first explore the subject matter of this case, medical marijuana. After reviewing its medical history and consulting professional medical opinion, I establish and weigh the value of medical marijuana in contemporary society. I combine my findings with the legal analysis to show the circumstances surrounding Gonzales v. Raich in a new perspective. Using opinions ranging from the Supreme Court justices’ to law journal reviews, I decide whether the jurisprudence behind Raich was applied correctly. I hope my paper will not only detail the most recent controversy between state and federal government, but also examine an equally controversial subject, medical marijuana, as an example of the trends that exacerbate changes in the fabric of our society.