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Critical Thinking Exercises
1. Peter owns and operates Pete's Perfectly Organic Bakery, a small local bakery in a small town in California. He uses wheat and other organically grown ingredients in his bakery goods and grows much of the wheat and other ingredients on his adjacent organic farm. Assume that the Federal Congress enacted the Comprehensive Organic Food Act in 2002 (COFA), which regulates any and all production of wheat and other food stuffs grown on organic farms and/or for use in organic foods. Pete does not adhere to the strict requirements of the COFA and has been sued by the federal government to stop growing organic foods. This will have a significant impact on his business as the cost of acquiring similar organic foods is much greater than the cost of growing the foods himself. California has a similar organic foods act, which Pete adheres to completely and even has a "certification" issued by the State of California recognizing him as an organic farmer.
Under what clause of the Constitution can the federal government regulate Pete's activities? What is Pete's best argument against federal regulation of his farm and business? In your answer, please discuss what ability the federal government has to regulate state activity.
More to think about...
Marijuana use and the California Compassionate Use Act
Congress enacted the Controlled Substance Act, 21 U.S.C. §801 (CSA), as part of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. CSA establishes or designates certain drugs as "controlled substances" and makes it unlawful to knowingly or intentionally "manufacture, distribute, dispense, or possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, a controlled substance."
After the 1970 National act, California voters passed a proposition which was codified as the Compassionate Use Act (CaCUA). Among other purposes, the primary purpose of the Act intended "to ensure that patients and their primary caregivers who obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes upon the recommendation of a physician are not subject to criminal prosecution or sanction." The Act creates an exception to California laws prohibiting the possession or cultivation of marijuana for patients and primary caregivers (as defined by California law) who cultivate and dispense.
What power does the federal government have to regulate the State of California and its residents as it relates to the CaCUA, which seems to directly conflict with the CSA?