ASA's AnalysisHere is our tentative analysis as of 9:30am.
First, what the Court didn't address:
What the Court did say:
Under Wickard v Filburn, Congress can regulate purely local activities that are part of an "economic class of activities" that have a substantial effect on interstate commerce.
Congress can regulate purely intrastate activity that is not itself "commercial", if it concludes that failure to regulate that activity would undercut the regulation of the interstate market in that commodity.
The diversion of homegrown marijuana to the interstate market tends to frustrate the federal interest in eliminiating commercial transactions in the interstate market in their entirety.
Congress needs only a rational basis for concluding that the activities of medical marijuana patients in the aggregate substantially affect interstate commerce, and, given their concern about diversion to the interstate market and the difficulty of distinguishing between homegrown marijuana and marijuana grown elsewhere, we think they have a rational basis for that conclusion.
The Court distinguishes Lopez by saying that the gun statute didn't have anything to do with commerce or any sort of economic enterprise, where the Controlled Substances Act is part of a framework to regulate the production, distribution, and possession of controlled substances, i.e. regulating economic activity.
The Court distinguishes Morrison because the statute at issue there (Violence Against Women Act) also did not regulate economic activity.
The Court rejected the idea that the state law carved out for exception a narrower class of activities (i.e. intrastate noncommercial cultivation, possession and use of marijuana for personal medical purposes on the advice of a physician and in accordance with state law). They point out that the dispensing of new drugs, even when doctors approve their use, must await federal approval.
As alternative avenues of relief, the Court mentions the possibility of the medical necessity defense, which it declines to reach; going through the procedure for reclassification of Schedule I drugs; and going through Congress to change the law.
Stevens wrote for the majority (Stevens, Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer).
Scalia filed a separate concurring opinion.
Dissenters were O'Connor, Rehnquist, Thomas.