Clarence Thomas, one of the Supreme Court’s most conservative judges, said the contradicting policies on marijuana in the United States make it difficult to understand federal laws against the cultivation and use of the drug.

The judge believes the federal laws regarding the possession of marijuana, following the precedent of the 2005 Supreme Court’s ruling, are outdated with how the legal system approaches the drug today. Thomas wrote, “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 pointed out that the federal government “simultaneously tolerates and forbids local use of marijuana” – exemplified by the fact that federal prosecutors are now instructed to not go after marijuana businesses that follow state laws, even if federal laws are broken.

Eighteen states allow the recreational use of marijuana and 36 allow medical use, however, the IRS, based on the federal tax code, does not allow marijuana businesses to deduct their business expenses. Thomas describes this and the rest of the circumstances the government considers surrounding marijuana on the federal level as “more episodic than coherent.”

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