Prohibition, Now and Then
The recent trend of state legalization of marijuana (for medical and recreational purposes) has renewed long-standing debates about federalism and prohibition. Over fierce dissents arguing federal suppression of in-state marijuana exceeded the enumerated powers of the Constitution, in 2005 the Supreme Court case of Gonzales v. Raich upheld the exercise of federal power, setting the states and Washington on a collision course. Using the marijuana case to briefly illustrate the relevant legal controversies, such as the non-commandeering doctrine, this chapter frames the subsequent chapters on prohibition. It briefly previews the book’s major arguments and shows how reconstructing these debates helps us better understand American Political Thought, American Political Development, and legal debates on extrajudicial constitutional interpretation and popular constitutionalism.
Keywords: federalism, marijuana, prohibition, American political thought, American political development, Gonzales v Raich, enumerated powers, non commandeering doctrine, extrajudicial constitutional interpretation, popular constitutionalism
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