Conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is perhaps one of the last people you would think to come out swinging for federal cannabis legalization. (Mostly because he went an entire decade on the Supreme Court without asking a single question…) But in a decision published yesterday, he had some harsh words for the impacts of unaligned state and federal cannabis laws in the US.
A strain on the system
Thomas’s analysis pertained to the operators of a Colorado medical cannabis dispensary who asked the Supreme Court to review their request to deduct business expenses before paying their federal taxes. Currently, because it’s still illegal federally, that’s not allowed. While the Court decided they would not hear the case, Thomas wrote that it was a “prime example” of why federal prohibition is a problem.
“Once comprehensive, the Federal Government’s current approach is a half-in, half-out regime that simultaneously tolerates and forbids local use of marijuana,” he wrote. “This contradictory and unstable state of affairs strains basic principles of federalism and conceals traps for the unwary.”
While the comments have no immediate impact, “it could become significant if its reasoning inspires lower-level judges to strike down laws that make marijuana illegal,” writes the New York Post.
Savor the moment
And since overturning cannabis prohibition at the federal level looks like a long, uphill battle, let’s pause to enjoy some of the final comments in Thomas’s decision.
“A prohibition on intrastate use or cultivation of marijuana may no longer be necessary or proper to support the Federal Government’s piecemeal approach.”
We couldn’t agree more. Now go tell Senator Mitch McConnell.