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Justice Clarence Thomas on Monday said federal bans on marijuana may no longer be necessary.
Given the number of states that have become more permissive on the drug and the government's relaxed attitude toward its regulations, Thomas contended current laws no longer make sense.
"A prohibition on interstate use or cultivation of marijuana may no longer be necessary or proper to support the federal government's piecemeal approach," Thomas wrote in a statement after the Supreme Court declined to hear a Colorado case involving federal marijuana regulation.
Additionally, Thomas said the 2005 Supreme Court decision maintaining a federal ban on marijuana possession has become outdated in the past decade and a half.
"Federal policies of the past 16 years have greatly undermined its reasoning," he wrote. "The federal government's current approach is a half-in, half-out regime that simultaneously tolerates and forbids local use of marijuana.”
Right now, 36 states have laws allowing medical marijuana usage. Another 18 allow recreational use. The Colorado case involved a dispensary that was barred from federal tax deductions because of bans on the drug.
"Under this rule, a business that is still in the red after it pays its workers and keeps the lights on might nonetheless owe substantial federal income tax," Thomas wrote.
In the past five years, the federal government has greatly rolled back its enforcement of marijuana laws. Still, Thomas wrote, since the laws across so many states are a patchwork of different things, the government's attitude is more "episodic than coherent."
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Original Author: Nicholas Rowan
Original Location: Clarence Thomas says federal marijuana ban may no longer be necessary