Light 'Em Up

Light 'Em Up
Posted by CN Staff on June 06, 2005 at 15:43:52 PT
By James Ridgeway
Source: Village Voice
Washington, D.C. -- To many, the Supreme Court ruling Monday against medical marijuana spelled the end of the movement for compassionate use. Federal laws against it trumped state provisions for it, the justices said, and that was that. But quickly, a leading advocate for medical marijuana began arguing that the case, which reversed a ruling from the Ninth Circuit on a California state measure, wouldn't affect permissive state laws elsewhere. That Ninth Circuit had found that federal prosecution of patients who cultivate and process medical marijuana for their own medicinal use is unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause.
Today's ruling struck down an injunction barring the Justice Department from arresting two California patients for violating the federal Controlled Substance Abuse Act. "While we are disappointed with the court's decision, the bottom line is that state and local laws protecting medicinal cannabis patients and their physicians remain in place and are unaffected by this ruling," NORML executive director Allen St. Pierre said. The states of Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington have passed laws allowing patients some leeway with the medicical use of marijuana. Congress is now considering two bills that could legalize it at the federal level. One House bill, sponsored by New York Democrat Maurice Hinchey and California Republican Dana Rohrabacher, would keep the federal government from prosecuting people who are in compliance with their state marijuana laws. Another bill, sponsored by Hinchey and Rohrabacher along with Democrat Barney Frank, libertarian-minded Texas congressman Ron Paul, and Democrat Sam Farr, from California, has 31 co-sponsors. It would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana to their patients. In a Voice interview, St. Pierre said that some form of medical cannabis, whether in a dermal patch or smoked or as a sublingual spray, would be on the way in the next decade. He cited advances for the cause in other nations. "In Canada, this is all legal, no question. Canada, the Netherlands have made the distinction between nonmedical access to marijuana and not, hands down. Here, there's a huge disconnect between federal lawmakers and the citizens." In an interesting twist, a campaign more usually associated with progressives got its only backing from conservative members of the court. Writing her dissent, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said, "The states' core police powers have always included authority to define criminal law and to protect the health, safety, and welfare of their citizens." She was joined by two other states' rights advocates: Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justice Clarence Thomas. Following the lead of the three-person minority, David Michael, co-counsel for the two California patients, called the decision a great leap backward. "Where the Supreme Court has failed, it is now up to Congress to protect the citizens of this country and their states from an overreaching federal government," he said. Note: Advocates for medical pot look beyond a Supreme Court bummer. Additional reporting: Halley Bondy, Natalie WittlinSource: Village Voice (NY)Author:  James RidgewayPublished: June 6th, 2005 Copyright: 2005 Village Voice Media, Inc.Contact: editor villagevoice.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:NORML Raich v. Ashcroft News AG: Don't Panic Over Pot Ruling Legalized Marijuana is Long Shot'No' On Medical Marijuana Use
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Comment #4 posted by The GCW on June 06, 2005 at 21:08:09 PT
Vote here Should the federal government prosecute medical marijuana users, now that it has been given the OK by the Supreme Court? * 69575 responses Yes 
10% No 
88% I'm not sure 
2%&&&&LOU DOBBS TONIGHT QUICKVOTE Do you believe the federal government should prosecute doctors who prescribe medical marijuana? Current Results: Yes -- 7% No -- 93% Total: 3264 votes
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Comment #3 posted by global_warming on June 06, 2005 at 16:27:36 PT
From Yahoo
Marijuana Plaintiffs to Defy Court Ruling
AP - Mon Jun 6, 2:04 PM ETSAN FRANCISCO - One of the lead plaintiffs in the medical marijuana case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday says she'll defy the ruling and continue to smoke pot. "I'm going to have to be prepared to be arrested," said Diane Monson, who smokes marijuana several times a day to relieve back pain. The Supreme Court ruled that federal authorities may arrest and prosecute people whose doctors prescribe marijuana to ease pain, concluding that state laws don't protect users from a federal ban on the drug. ---Who will protect them from the federal ban? Who will protect the doctors? Not the statue of liberty..
Marijuana Plaintiffs to Defy Court Ruling
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on June 06, 2005 at 16:13:49 PT
News Article from Bay City News Wire
Raich Asks Congress To Pass Medical Marijuana Amendment June 6, 2005OAKLAND (BCN) -- Angel Raich said she's "a little in shock'' today after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against her in a closely watched medical marijuana case. But Raich, a 39-year-old Oakland woman who uses marijuana to deal with pre-cervical cancer, an inoperable brain tumor and other medical problems, said, "Just because we lost this little battle doesn't mean the war is over.'' Speaking at a crowded news conference at the state building in Oakland, Raich, dressed in black pants and a purple blazer, called on Congress to approve a proposed budget amendment that would bar the U.S. Justice Department from spending money to interfere with state medical marijuana laws, such as the California law that allows marijuana to be used for medicinal purposes. She said that despite her poor health, Raich will go to Washington, D.C., on June 14 to ask Congress to pass the amendment. Her voice breaking, Raich said her message to Congress is simple: "Pass the Hinchey Amendment and save the government's money for fighting terrorism and for homeland security.'' Raich said she told her two children recently that she considered leaving the country to go someplace where it would be easier to get medical marijuana, but after talking with them she decided, "I want to stay in the U.S. and continue to fight'' for the right to use marijuana for medicinal purposes. Robert Raich, Angel's husband and attorney, called today's 6-3 Supreme Court ruling "a split decision on a very narrow legal issue,'' that being an interpretation of whether the interstate commerce clause allows Congress to regulate marijuana in individual states such as California. Raich said the ruling doesn't affect other legal issues in his wife's case in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. He said he might decide to go back to that court to seek rulings on those issues. Raich said, "This case does not in any way whatsoever affect the laws that protect patients,'' such as the California law that allows his wife to use medical marijuana. Joining the Raiches at the news conference was Bruce Mirken, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project. The group calls itself the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States, and Mirken said today's ruling "is not a setback'' because it doesn't overturn any state medical marijuana laws and doesn't take away any of the protections those laws provide. Mirken said, "It's important to remember that federal authorities make only 1 percent of all U.S. marijuana arrests, while state and local police make 99 percent, so patients like Angel Raich still have 99 percent protection from arrest.'' He said, "While that's not perfect, that 99 percent protection is the reason Angel is alive today.'' Mirken said the Supreme Court "effectively kicked the ball to Congress'' to pass a law authorizing medical marijuana and he joined Angel Raich in supporting the Hinchey Amendment. He said the Bay Area's congressional representatives have been "supportive'' in the medical marijuana battle but he criticized U.S. Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein for being "missing in action.'' Mirken said, "It's time for leadership in the Senate.'' State Attorney General Bill Lockyer said in a statement today he's "disappointed'' by the Supreme Court ruling, but he added, "Legitimate medical marijuana patients in California must know that state and federal laws are no different today than they were yesterday.'' Lockyer said Congress and President Bush "have the power to reform and modernize federal law in order to bring relief to medical patients and still punish those who illegally traffic in substances.''
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on June 06, 2005 at 15:51:33 PT
AP: Dutch To Reevaluate Medical Pot Program
June 6, 2005AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - The Dutch Health Ministry, unhappy with legal sales of medical marijuana through pharmacies, will reevaluate its program later this year and may close it, a spokesman said Monday.In a country where unauthorized marijuana has been easily available for decades, the government was surprised to find that prescription marijuana produced under stringent quality controls has been far less successful than predicted, said Health Ministry spokesman Bas Kuik.Complete Article:
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