Ashcroft v. Raich Case Summary and Documents




John Ashcroft
(former) U.S. Attorney General
Ashcroft, et al. v. Raich, et al.
Case No: 03-1454 (U.S. Supreme Court)

Contents:




Angel Raich
Appellee / Respondent

I. Question Presented to the Court

"Whether the [U.S.] Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. 801 et seq., exceeds Congress' power under the Commerce Clause as applied to the intrastate cultivation and possession of marijuana for purported personal 'medicinal' use or to the distribution of marijuana without charge for such use.
II. Case Summary

Two medical marijuana patients, Angel McClary Raich and Diane Monson, and two caregivers, John Doe Number One and John Doe Number Two, filed a complaint and motion for preliminary injunction against U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and former DEA Administrator Asa Hutchinson. The case was named at the time Raich, et al. v. Ashcroft, et al.

The plaintiffs asked Judge Martin J. Jenkins to issue a Preliminary Injunction during the pendency of the action, and a Declaratory Relief and a Permanent Injunction enjoining the defendants from arresting or prosecuting the plaintiffs, seizing their medical cannabis, forfeiting their property, or seeking civil or administrative sanctions against them for their activities with respect to any of the following:

  1. the possession of medical cannabis by Plaintiffs Angel McClary Raich and Diane Monson for their personal medical use;

  2. the ability of McClary Raich to obtain medical cannabis from her caregivers, John Doe Numbers One and Two, for her personal medical use;

  3. the ability of John Doe Numbers One and Two to cultivate and provide medical cannabis to McClary Raich for her personal medical use;

  4. the processing of medical cannabis by McClary Raich for her personal medical use; and

  5. the cultivation of medical cannabis by Monson for her personal medical use.

The complaint stated that John Ashcroft and Asa Hutchinson are "unconstitutionally exceeding their authority by embarking on a campaign of seizing or forfeiting privately-grown intrastate medical cannabis from California patients and caregivers, arresting or prosecuting such patients, mounting paramilitary raids against patients and caregivers, harassing patients and caregivers, and taking other civil or administrative actions against them."

The injunction was denied. The plaintiffs then filed an appeal with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The Court reversed the judgment, ruling that the government's actions were unconstitutional.

The U.S. government appealed this decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, changing the name of the case to Ashcroft et al. v. Raich et al.
Oral arguments were held on 11/29/04. A decision is expected before July 2005.

III. Implications of the Verdict

A.Win for Ashcroft: A win for the U.S. Government will not change state laws. Approved medical marijuana use within those states that have medical marijuana laws will continue to be "legal" under state laws and "illegal" under federal laws. Cannabis clinics or clubs that "sell" medical marijuana (and are not patient co-ops), will be more vulnerable to federal arrest and seizure. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and other law enforcement agencies may feel bolstered by the decision, and use it to "crack down" on medical marijuana centers, cultivations, patients, and their caregivers.

B.Win for Raich: A win for Raich will mean that federal law enforcement cannot arrest patients who adhere to state laws and possess or cultivate only for themselves (and possibly a few patients if no money is exchanged). The federal government may still be able to arrest and sanction those clinics, clubs, and cultivations that do not adhere to the specifics of permissibility under the Commerce Clause.

IV. Case Documents (in chronological order)

A. United States District Court of the North District of California[Defendant=Ashcroft, Plaintiff=Raich]
  Document Date
1. Complaint 10/09/02
2. Declaration of Angel McClary Raich 10/25/02
3. Plaintiff's Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion for Preliminary Injunction 10/29/02
4. Declaration of Frank Henry Lucido, MD 10/30/02
5.   Declaration of Diane Monson 10/30/02
6. Declaration of John Rose, M.D. 10/30/02
7. Defendants' Opposition Brief 11/19/02
8. Plaintiffs' Reply Brief 11/26/02
9. Transcript of Proceedings 12/17/02
10. Order from District Court Judge Martin J. Jenkins 3/5/03
11. Preliminary Injunction Order 5/14/04
12. Notice of Preliminary Injunction Appeal 6/23/04

B. United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [Appellee=Ashcroft, Appellant=Raich]
13. Appellants' Opening Brief 4/23/03
14. Amicus Curiae Letter in support of the Appellants from California Attorney General Bill Lockyer with the State of California's, County of Alameda's, and City of Oakland's brief in U.S.C. Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative 4/29/03
15. Amicus Curiae Brief in Support of the Appellants from the Marijuana Policy Project, Rick Doblin, Ph.D., and Ethan Russo, M.D. 4/30/03
16. Amicus Curiae Brief in support of the Appellants from the California Medical Association and the California Nurses Association 4/30/03
17. Answering Brief for Appellees (Part 1) 5/28/03
18. Appellees' Statutory Addendum & Addendum of Cases (Part 2) 5/28/03
19. Appellants' Reply Brief 6/11/03
20. Amicus Curiae Letter from Butte County requesting to join the Amici Curiae Brief submitted by the State of California, Alameda County and the City of Oakland in support of the Appellants 6/17/03
21. Appellants' letter of recent decision re: Lawrence v. Texas 7/10/03
22. Appellees' letter of recent decision re: County of Santa Cruz v. Ashcroft 9/2/03
23. Appellees' letter of recent decision re: United States v. Adams 9/22/03
24. Appellants' response to letter of recent decision re: County of Santa Cruz v. Ashcroft 9/25/03
25. Appellants' response to letter of recent decision re: United States v. Adams 10/2/03
26. Appellants' letter of recent decision re: United States v. Stewart 12/2/03
27. Appellees' response to letter of recent decision re: United States v. Stewart 12/5/03
28. Opinion from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals 12/16/03

C. United States Supreme Court [Petitioner=Ashcroft, Respondent=Raich]
29. Petition for a Writ of Certiorari in the Supreme Court (Part 1) 4/20/04
30. Appendix to the Petition for a Writ of Certiorari in the Supreme Court (Part 2) 4/20/04
31. Respondents' Brief in Opposition 6/7/04
32. Reply Brief for the Petitioners 6/10/04
33. Merits Brief for the Petitioners 8/11/04
34. Joint Appendix (Prepared by both parties.) 8/11/04
35. Amicus Curiae Brief in Support of the Petitioners Robert L. Dupont, M.D.; Peter B. Bensinger and Herbert Kleber, M.D. 8/11/04
36. Amicus Curiae Brief in Support of the Petitioners from The Drug Free America Foundation, Inc.; the Drug Free Schools Coalition; Save Our Society From Drugs; the International Scientific and Medical Forum on Drug Abuse; the Institute on Global Drug Policy; and Students Taking Action Not Drugs, et al. 8/11/04
37. Amicus Curiae Brief in Support of the Petitioners from Mark E. Souder; U.S. Representative, Cass Ballenger; U.S. Representative, Dan Burton; U.S. Representative, Katherine Harris; U.S. Representative, Ernest J. Istook, Jr.; U.S. Representative, Jack Kingston; U.S. Representative, and U.S. Representative, Doug Ose 8/11/04
38. Amicus Curiae Brief in Support of the Petitioners from Community Rights Counsel 8/11/04
39. Amicus Curiae Brief in Support of Neither Party from the Pacific Legal Foundation 8/11/04
40. Merits Brief for the Respondents 10/13/04
41. Amicus Curiae Brief in Support of Respondents from the Institute for Justice 10/13/04
42. Amicus Curiae Brief in Support of Respondents from Constitutional Law Scholars 10/13/04
43. Amicus Curiae Brief in Support of Respondents from the State of California; Washington; and Maryland 10/13/04
44. Amicus Curiae Brief in Support of Respondents from the State of Alabama; Louisiana; and Mississippi 10/13/04
45. Amicus Curiae Brief in Support of Respondents from Lymphoma Foundation of America; HIV Medicine Association of the Infectious Diseases Society of America; American Medical Students Association; Dr. Barbara Roberts; and Irvin Rosenfeld 10/13/04
46. Amicus Curiae Brief in Support of Respondents from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society; Pain Relief Network; California Medical Association; AIDS Action Council; Compassion in Dying Federation; End-of-Life Choices; National Women's Health Network; Global Lawyers and Physicians; and AUTONOMY, Inc. 10/13/04
47. Amicus Curiae Brief in Support of Respondents from the California Nurses Association and DKT Liberty Project 10/13/04
48. Amicus Curiae Brief in Support of Respondents from the Marijuana Policy Project and Rick Doblin, Ph.D 10/13/04
49. Amicus Curiae Brief in Support of Respondents from the Cato Institute 10/13/04
50. Amicus Curiae Brief in Support of Respondents from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML); The NORML Foundation; the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; and Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association 10/13/04
51. Amicus Curiae Brief in Support of Respondents from the Reason Foundation 10/13/04
52. Petitioners Reply brief on the Merits 11/17/04
53. Ashcroft v. Raich Supreme Court Transcript 11/29/04
54. Gonzalez (Ashcroft) v. Raich Supreme Court Decision 6/06/05