Prosecutions Unlikely of Medical Pot Users

Prosecutions Unlikely of Medical Pot Users
Posted by CN Staff on June 07, 2005 at 07:31:59 PT
By Mark Sherman, The Associated Press
Source: Associated Press
Washington, D.C. -- Anyone who lights up a joint for medicinal purposes isn't likely to be pursued by federal authorities, despite a Supreme Court ruling that these marijuana users could face federal charges, people on both sides of the issue say.In a 6-3 decision, the court on Monday said those who smoke marijuana because their doctors recommend it to ease pain can be prosecuted for violating federal drug laws, overriding medical marijuana statutes in 10 states.
While the justices expressed sympathy for two seriously ill California women who brought the case, the majority agreed that federal agents may arrest even sick people who use the drug as well as the people who grow pot for them.The ruling could be an early test of the compassion Attorney General Alberto Gonzales promised to bring to the Justice Department following the tenure of John Ashcroft.Gonzales and his aides were silent on the ruling Monday, but several Bush administration officials said individual users have little reason to worry. "We have never targeted the sick and dying, but rather criminals engaged in drug trafficking," Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman Bill Grant said.Yet Ashcroft's Justice Department moved aggressively following the Supreme Court's first decision against medical marijuana in 2001, seizing individuals' marijuana and raiding their suppliers.The lawsuit that led to Monday's ruling, in fact, resulted from a raid by DEA agents and local sheriff's deputies on a garden near Oroville, Calif., where Diane Monson was cultivating six pot plants."I'm going to have to be prepared to be arrested," said Monson, an accountant who has degenerative spine disease and grows her own marijuana plants.Javier Pena, the DEA agent in charge of the San Francisco field division, said Monday his agency took part in the raid only at the request of local authorities.California Attorney General Bill Lockyer said Monday that "people shouldn't panic ... there aren't going to be many changes."Local and state officers handle nearly all marijuana prosecutions and must still follow any state laws that protect patients.The ruling does not strike down California's law, or similar ones in Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington state. However, it may hurt efforts to pass laws in other states because the federal government's prosecution authority trumps states' wishes.It was unclear whether any medical marijuana users ever have been arrested by federal agents. They typically are involved only when the quantities are substantial.Tom Riley, spokesman for the White House drug policy office, said federal prisoners convicted of marijuana possession had on average more than 100 pounds.Growers of large amounts of medical marijuana and people who are outspoken in their use of it could face heightened scrutiny."From an enforcement standpoint, the federal government is not going to be crashing into people's homes trying to determine what type of medicine they're taking," said Asa Hutchinson, a former DEA administrator. "They have historically concentrated on suppliers and people who flaunt the law. There should not be any change from that circumstance."Allen St. Pierre, executive director of NORML, which favors legalization of marijuana, said the benchmark for federal intervention has been 50 plants.But he said the larger point is that the ruling could stymie efforts in other states to pass laws allowing for the use of medical marijuana.The Bush administration, like the Clinton White House before it, has taken a hard stand against state medical marijuana laws, arguing that such statutes could undermine the fight against illegal drugs. John Walters, director of national drug control policy, defended the government's ban. "Science and research have not determined that smoking marijuana is safe or effective," he said.St. Pierre said the decision points up a large difference between the administration and the public."The disconnect is so wide here," St. Pierre said. "In no circumstance where voters have the opportunity to weigh in have they said no to medical marijuana."Justice John Paul Stevens, an 85-year-old cancer survivor, said the Constitution allows federal regulation of homegrown marijuana as interstate commerce. But he noted the court was not passing judgment on the potential medical benefits of marijuana.And Congress could change federal law if it desires, Stevens said, although that is not considered likely.The case is Gonzales v. Raich, 03-1454.On the Net:The ruling in Gonzales v. Raich is available at: Associated Press (Wire)Author: Mark Sherman, The Associated PressPublished: Tuesday, June 7, 2005Copyright: 2005 The Associated Press Related Articles & Web Sites:NORML Raich v. Ashcroft News, Up in Smoke? Patients Remain Defiant's Users Say Ruling Won't End Their Efforts 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #13 posted by Critto on June 08, 2005 at 09:49:53 PT
When will you ACT?
When will you, Americans, abolish the authoritarian regime that rules your country now and establish the real DEMOCRACY?
It stopped to be funny. When such a big country as USA has its Supreme Court gone TOTALLY INSANE and dehumanized, it could be REALLY dangerous for other countries and people living there, too. 
One of the ways out is to elect LIBERTARIANS ( to the office. They will abolish the drug laws and other tyrannies altogether, dismounting the current regime and restoring the constitutional order created by the Founding Fathers.In Liberty,
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #12 posted by Hope on June 07, 2005 at 17:49:26 PT
Corporate puppets to keep the people shackled.
"Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., Wisconsin Republican, who has racked up $176,718 in travel paid for by corporations or outside groups during the past five years." The prison and pharm industries may have worn this puppet out. I certainly hope so.Will the corporations rescue them from the wrath of the people, or just buy new ones?
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #11 posted by jose melendez on June 07, 2005 at 17:30:17 PT
#9, #9, #9 . . .
Imagine what a memorial would look like, engraved with all the names of drug war victims and prisoners?I'm pretty much against the lottery as a tax on those who are bad at math and can least afford to be scammed, but I'd be willing to bet there would be many very real tears streaming down the faces of those who have lost loved ones, or been left behind as so much collateral damage in this war against Americans.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #10 posted by Nick Thimmesch on June 07, 2005 at 16:07:30 PT
It may take a bit of reading in between the lines
...but try:, you can go to and find cute pix of Rob Kampia!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #9 posted by dongenero on June 07, 2005 at 14:04:55 PT
list of the arrested
It sure would be interesting to see a list of those who have been arrested by the Federal Government under marijuana possession, cultivation or trafficking in the states that have passed medical marijuana laws.
Does anyone know how to go about compiling tha info?We could start listing and name the highest profile cases but I'm sure there are others. 
I would have to put Tommy Chong in the list just because that was so blatantly egregious.
Then there are the saddest cases like McWilliams. Then there is Epis, Kubby, Lepp, Raich and Monson of course, the Corrals.They say they aren't arresting anyone. I think there are a number of people who would beg to differ. Those that are alive to do so.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #8 posted by goneposthole on June 07, 2005 at 10:48:16 PT
The travel is immaterial
... and pales in comparison to the whys and wherefores of their trip making."DeLay has long fought against imposing immigration restrictions and the federal minimum wage on Saipan, part of a U.S. territory in the Pacific Ocean."Oh, really?"But was DeLay, then the House Republican whip, defending human rights on Saipan?Abramoff, to whom DeLay once referred as “one of my closest and dearest friends,” was employed from 1996 to 2000 by the government of the Commonweath of the Northern Marianas Islands.The commonwealth is a U.S. territory. Saipan is its capital.The territory hired Abramoff to lobby the federal government to fight proposals to impose federal immigration and minimum wage standards.Abramoff was also hired by the Saipan Garment Manufacturers Association, a trade group. The two paid Abramoff’s firm $4.5 million for his representation.Abramoff billed the territorial government more than $350,000 for travel expenses from scores of visits by congressmen in 1996 and 1997, including DeLay.Abramoff even billed the Northern Marianas, which was running huge budget deficits, for arranging congressional tee times at Saipan’s best golf courses, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.Under its 1986 charter, the territory had been allowed to create its own immigration and minimum wage regulations.The idea was to help the Marianas economy to develop by exempting it from the federal minimum wage. Allowing the territory to set its own immigration rules was supposed to help protect its cultural identity.Garment manufacturers, based primarily in China and Korea, found Saipan appealing.They were allowed to import an unlimited amount of textiles from overseas without paying the duties imposed on mainland garment manufacturers.The territory’s lax immigration rules allowed the companies to import workers from China, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and elsewhere in Asia. Its low minimum wage allowed them to pay $3.05 an hour.Despite using foreign workers and foreign cloth, the manufacturers could sew “Made in the USA” labels into the garments they made on Saipan. Meanwhile, mainland garment manufacturers complained that the lower-cost Saipan operations were driving them out of business.Manufacturers on Saipan made clothing for The Gap, Liz Claiborne, Banana Republic, Old Navy, J.C. Penney, Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie and Fitch, Brooks Brothers and others.", Chinese garment manufacturers can import finished goods import duty free?Not all members of Congress have such shameless behavior, but those who do these shameful acts are really not representing the American citizen, they are just taking advantage of them.Why picnic on the Mall when you can play golf anywhere on earth at everyone else's expense?They won't smoke pot or let anyone else smoke pot, especially someone who is sick and dying, but they don't mind going places far and wide on somebody else's dime. They have no shame. Tom DeLay isn't really representing anybody, he is in it for himself and his cronies. The appalling behavior of these nuts has got to come to an end. Tom DeLay doesn't deserve to smoke pot. His maddog tactics should land him in jail. Free a cannabis user, make room for Tom DeLay. Free James Trafficant, make room for James Abramoff. Time has run out. The chickens are roosting. Our 'elected' representatives have done enough damage. They're sick and need some medpot.America's citizens suffer... no wonder 94 million are smoking weed. We need some relief somehow. Good Lord.Enough of their ilk.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #7 posted by Nick Thimmesch on June 07, 2005 at 10:14:51 PT
As I've said before...
...what really irks me about Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. is that he's already a multimillionaire (sperm lottery from family money) AND he won big bucks in DC buying a lottery ticket (thus depriving a more deserving working class lottery player). Check this out:Congressman Wins Big in D.C. Lotto 
By Hamil R. Harris
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 31, 1997; Page A01 A "tightwad" Republican congressman may have a tough time maintaining his reputation for frugality after winning $250,000 from a D.C. Lottery ticket he bought at a liquor store.Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) ended almost two weeks of mystery for lottery officials yesterday when he turned up with the winning ticket at the same place he purchased it, Congressional Liquors on Capitol Hill.When Sensenbrenner presented the ticket, he was a little confused about how much he had won, according to Willie McCoy, the store's manager."When he came in, he thought he had won only $10," McCoy said. "I pulled him aside and said, `Sir, I think you have won more than you thought.' He shook a little bit, and I said, `Don't faint on me.' "Brian Dean, Sensenbrenner's chief of staff, described his boss as "the biggest tightwad in Congress with taxpayer dollars." Sensenbrenner said his own family considers him to be "quite tight." He said his wife, Cheryl, didn't believe he had won until he took a bottle of champagne to their Alexandria home."I have never bought an $85 bottle of champagne in my life," he said.The 54-year-old father of two acknowledged a weakness for playing the lottery."I might play every two weeks," Sensenbrenner said. "It was an impulse purchase. I was purchasing Wisconsin beer for my office's Christmas party, and I paid $2 for two Quick Cash tickets."District officials knew a winning ticket had been sold for the Dec. 18 drawing and wondered when someone would claim the prize. After purchasing the ticket on the day of the drawing, Sensenbrenner went home to Wisconsin to bring his mother back to Washington for Christmas."I've been carrying the ticket around in my billfold," he said. "I didn't think about checking it."Sensenbrenner, who has chaired the House Science Committee since 1979, said there was nothing scientific about choosing 01-02-25-29-37-39.After being elected to Congress for 10 consecutive terms, he said, he is known well enough in Wisconsin that he doesn't need to spend the money on his reelection."My accountant has to first figure out how much money will be taken out for taxes," he said. "Then we will sit down as a family and have a long talk about how to spend the money."McCoy said "quite a number" of congressmen who come into the store at 404 First St. SE play the lottery. He said Sensenbrenner is a regular. The store will get $2,500 for selling the winning ticket.D.C. Lottery spokeswoman Athena Ware said it had been nine months since someone won the $250,000 grand prize for the Quick Cash game. Lottery officials say they believe this is the first time a member of Congress has been a grand-prize winner since the lottery was started in 1982."I asked him what took him so long to cash in his tickets, and he said he had to bring his mother . . . back to celebrate Christmas," said Ware, who screens all contest winners. "I asked him where he was employed, and he said he was a congressman. It was weird. You never know who's playing."Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) said that the next time there is a vote in Congress about funding for the District, "I am going to remind my good friend of his good fortune."
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by Hope on June 07, 2005 at 10:09:05 PT
What Bill Grant really was saying...
"We have never targeted the sick and dying, but rather criminals engaged in drug trafficking," Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman Bill Grant said.He sort of just let it be a given that what he meant was, "We have never targeted the sick and dying, but rather criminals engaged in drug trafficking, if those people who are criminals in our eyes happen to be sick and dying, it's not our fault, is it?"What they're not saying out loud, but really mean, is the truth of where they're coming from.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by dididadadidit on June 07, 2005 at 10:00:57 PT
SenselessBrainer, Again
Thanks to Nick in comment 3 for the following:"- - - according to PoliticalMoneyLine. In first place is Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., Wisconsin Republican, who has racked up $176,718 in travel paid for by corporations or outside groups during the past five years.So, not only is SenselessBrainer number one in really stupid cannabis proposed legislation (close contest with Indiana's SenselessSouder) he is also number one in sucking up money from special interests for travel (and meals, lotsa meals, big meals (I've seen his picture)).Can't the Democrats find a decent electable in this bottom suckers district, go dirty, loud and often, use this sort of thing to get this slob out of office? One can only hope so, along with the break of having paper trail generating voter machines to affirm the democratic win.Cheers?
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by dididadadidit on June 07, 2005 at 09:38:09 PT
Arresting medical users? You bet!
“The ruling could be an early test of the compassion Attorney General Alberto Gonzales promised to bring to the Justice Department following the tenure of John Ashcroft."We have never targeted the sick and dying, but rather criminals engaged in drug trafficking," Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman Bill Grant said.It was unclear whether any medical marijuana users ever have been arrested by federal agents.”The above 3 excerpts from the article are pure BS. Number one, there is no compassion from these conservatives in general and the bu$ch torture enabler in particular will not be offering any. Number two, the SOB’s targeted and arrested hospice users leading up to the negation of item number three. How did Raich/Monson vs. Asscroft come to work its way through the courts if arrests of medical marijuana users were not happening? To say nothing of Ed Rosenthal.Another thread (smirking had an article today on the FBI working hard to entrap a couple of “terrorists” with manufactured evidence, as they have hardly captured a “real” terrorist since 911. The remainder of this post was posted there as well."Like the police who find it easier to frame people than to convict them on the evidence, the FBI will find it easier to manufacture "terrorists" with entrapment than to catch real terrorists. “Homeland security and the FBI can ramp up their arrest and conviction rates by simply refocusing their efforts on those evil terrorist medical users of cannabis in the wake of the SCOTUS (Raich vs. Asscroft) green light to turn the jackboots loose on those criminals, who thought they were legal under their state laws. They will be able to ramp up their arrest and conviction rates with ease and with little worry of resistance from these criminals, especially those in hospice care.Buy the private jail stocks, the feds won't have room to warehouse all these criminals. Canada looks better day by day. Canada’s tourism bureau should consider erecting hugh signs along the highways just inside their border, in English, French, German and Russian saying “CONGRATULATIONS, YOU ARE LEAVING THE AMERICAN SECTOR! WELCOME TO CANADA!Cheers?
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by Nick Thimmesch on June 07, 2005 at 08:50:18 PT
Actually goneposthole...
...MOC (Members of Congress) are too busy doing a little CYA (Cover Your Ass) over congressional travel to probably be available for their constituents: this is what they get elected & paid nearly $200,000.00 a year to do (notice it ain't just Tom DeLayed or just Republicans: they're all at the trough).Lawmakers dash to correct records of trips
By Charles Hurt
Published June 7, 2005
More than 200 lawmakers have rushed to correct travel-disclosure statements in recent months as reporters on Capitol Hill discover more discrepancies in the wake of questions about travel by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. 
  ?You're dealing with hundreds,? said Kent Cooper, co-founder of PoliticalMoneyLine, a Web site that compiles the forms after they're filed with the clerk's office and makes it available at ?There's a ton more for staffers.? 
  Mr. Cooper said his figure covered parts of April and May, a period during which the scrutiny of gift travel -- which is funded by corporations and outside interest groups -- heightened on the heels of accusations that Mr. DeLay accepted travel from a registered lobbyist, which is barred under House ethics rules. 
  The widespread scrutiny -- aided by opposition researchers from both parties -- has prompted amended reports from top leaders in both parties and even from members of the ethics panel. The most intense scrutiny has focused on the most frequent travelers. 
  Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr., a Tennessee Democrat who is running for the Senate, holds first place as Congress' most prolific traveler since 2000. While his travel reports have been trouble-free in recent years, that has not always been the case. 
  From 1998 to 2003, he took 61 privately funded trips. During that period, he failed to file a single travel-disclosure form with the House clerk, as required by the chamber's ethics rules. 
  While he listed the trips on his financial-disclosure forms at the end of each year, Mr. Ford did not make public the purpose or value of the trips paid for by companies and outside groups, since the financial-disclosure form -- unlike the travel form -- does not require such information. 
  When Mr. Ford learned he had failed to file the required travel forms, spokesman Zac Wright said, Mr. Ford rushed to fill out and file dozens of travel-disclosure forms -- some as many as five years late -- on Aug. 19, 2003. 
  "It was a simple oversight," Mr. Wright said. "It was cleared up [almost] two years ago proactively by the congressman. It was a minor thing." 
  The lapse by Mr. Ford highlights the pitfalls members of Congress say are associated with gift travel and the rules that govern it. 
  In recent months, dozens of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have been snared in controversies over improperly funded trips, insufficiently disclosed details and simple clerical oversights. House ethics rules permit travel by members to be paid for by companies and outside special-interest groups, as long as the travel is reported to the clerk. 
  Scrutiny has focused mostly on Mr. DeLay, who has accepted 14 trips during the past five years totaling $94,568, according to PoliticalMoneyLine. 
  In terms of travel at the expense of others, Mr. DeLay is far from top of the heap, ranking 30th in value of trips taken, according to PoliticalMoneyLine. In first place is Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., Wisconsin Republican, who has racked up $176,718 in travel paid for by corporations or outside groups during the past five years. Mr. Ford ranks 78th in terms of travel costs, having racked up $60,545 in gift travel. 
  Mr. DeLay is among 11 representatives tied at 120th place with 14 trips each since 2000. At the top of that list is Mr. Ford, with 62 trips since 2000. 
  Mr. DeLay has invited the House ethics committee to investigate his travel and said the rules governing gift travel are confusing and should be cleared up by the House ethics committee. 
  One of the late filers was Rep. Melissa A. Hart, Pennsylvania Republican and member of the ethics committee. She recently discovered that she had failed to report a trip she made in November to Hungary and Germany, a problem she corrected. 
  House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, and Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Ohio Democrat and member of the ethics panel, took a 2001 trip to Puerto Rico but filed slightly different travel-disclosure forms. Mrs. Pelosi reported that an outside advocacy group paid for the trip, while Mrs. Jones reported that a Washington lobbying firm had paid for the trip. 
  When the discrepancy was raised, Mrs. Jones said it was a clerical error and that the firm was listed only because the lobbyist had arranged the trip, but did not pay for it. 
  According to the Associated Press, the recent late filers have included House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, who recently disclosed 12 trips dating back to 1997. Rep. Ellen O. Tauscher, California Democrat, filed late for 21 trips, Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, Illinois Democrat, reported 20 past trips, and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Maryland Democrat, reported 13. 
  Rep. John Linder, Georgia Republican, belatedly filed for nine trips, as did Rep. Maxine Waters, California Democrat.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by Nick Thimmesch on June 07, 2005 at 08:45:27 PT
DRUDGE REPORT... featuring this AP story as its lead feature: the funny thing is that one of the ads above the captioned photo of someone smoking features roaches running across the screen: gotta get your humor where you can these days I guess.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by goneposthole on June 07, 2005 at 08:11:54 PT
I would hope
... that yesterday, a little after 5:00 PM EDT, all members of Congress met on the Mall with the members of the Supreme Court and picnicked for a while. With any luck, a truck load of cannabis was parked nearby so they could all partake in some cannabis and get over their 'cannabinophobia'. George Bush can smoke some, also. It's ok.It's ok if they smoke some pot, too. It's ok. Get over it. 'K?
It's OK
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment