Justice Clarence Thomas says federal marijuana laws ‘may no longer be necessary’
(Gray News) - Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said federal policies on marijuana have undermined the reason for laws on its sale or use.
“A prohibition on intrastate use or cultivation of marijuana may no longer be necessary or proper to support the Federal Government’s piecemeal approach,” he wrote.
The conservative justice shared his thoughts in the court’s denial of a petition to hear an appeal for a Colorado medical marijuana dispensary, released Monday.
The dispensary case centers on an IRS investigation into whether it illegally deducted business expenses. Current tax code does not allow companies dealing in controlled substances to deduct costs the way other businesses can.
“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.
Thomas pointed out that 36 states allow medical marijuana use, and 18 allow recreational use. The U.S. Department of Justice policy has for several years been against interfering in those states’ policies, despite the federal law.
“Once comprehensive, the federal government’s current approach is a half-in, half-out regime that simultaneously tolerates and forbids local use of marijuana,” he wrote. “This contradictory and unstable state of affairs strains basic principles of federalism and conceals traps for the unwary.”
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