Why court decision could cost you money

Difficult issues can make for some very bad laws. And in the case of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on medical marijuana, they can make for some worrisome precedents.

In declaring that federal laws outlawing possession and use of marijuana can override state laws, including Nevada's, which allows people to have pot for medical purposes, the high court stripped away what little remains of state's rights.

The justification for federal jurisdiction came down to an interpretation of the Commerce Clause and whether marijuana could be treated as a commodity bought and sold across state lines and, therefore, subject to federal regulation.

Never mind that state laws don't allow marijuana to be bought or sold across state lines. According to the majority of justices of the Supreme Court, if the federal government wants to regulate it, it can.

The constitutional ramifications are disturbing. "If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything, and the federal government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers," wrote Justice Clarence Thomas.

For most people, the issue of medical marijuana isn't a personal one. And the erosion of state's rights can be a rather vague concept.

But it might cost you money tomorrow, and here's why:

As one of its last gasps in the session Monday, the Nevada Legislature approved a bill opening the way for Nevadans to be able to buy prescription medicine from Canada.

Some in the federal government - with plenty of backing from major U.S. pharmaceutical companies - have been alarmed by states' attempts to end-run the Food and Drug Administration and, consequently, break the semi-monopoly those companies have on drug prices.

It's easy to imagine the medical-marijuana precedent being used to swat away all kinds of dissenting legislation from states, including Canadian prescriptions. This is the Big Brother we were warned about


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