Justices Uproot Medical Pot

Justices Uproot Medical Pot
Posted by CN Staff on June 07, 2005 at 08:01:00 PT
By Sylvia Smith, The Journal Gazette
Source: Journal Gazette
Washington, D.C. -- Using marijuana to ease pain or nausea caused by diseases has no protection from the federal ban even if state laws allow its medical use, the Supreme Court ruled Monday.In a 6-3 decision, the court said federal drug laws trump state drug laws. It was a setback for the medical marijuana movement and the 10 states that have passed laws saying doctors can prescribe marijuana to sick people. Indiana has not passed a law allowing marijuana to be prescribed by doctors.
The justices said Congress’ authority over interstate commerce is broad enough to allow it to outlaw all marijuana even when it is locally grown, used for medical purposes and does not cross state lines.“We have no difficulty concluding that Congress had a rational basis for believing that failure to regulate the intrastate manufacture and possession of marijuana would leave a gaping hole” in federal drug laws, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote for the majority.But the three dissenters said states have rights that the federal government shouldn’t trample.“This case exemplifies the role of states as laboratories,” Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote. “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 said the majority’s ruling “has endorsed making it a federal crime to grow small amounts of marijuana in one’s own home for one’s own medicinal use. This overreaching stifles an express choice by some states, concerned for the lives and liberties of their people, to regulate medical marijuana differently.”The case began when federal drug agents seized and destroyed marijuana that had been grown for use by two California women who were in pain from diseases. The women sued, saying the federal government didn’t have authority over their home-grown marijuana because California had passed a law saying doctors may prescribe it.Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington have similar laws.But the court ruled Congress does have that power.“If there is any conflict between federal and state law, federal law shall prevail,” Stevens wrote.Rep. Mark Souder, R-3rd, one of a group of Republican lawmakers who filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, said he was pleased with the decision because it is a slap at what he said was the “shadow fight over a much bigger issue, which is legalization.”The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, which advocates for legalizing marijuana, said the ruling was disappointing.“With this ruling, Congress and the Justice Department have a choice: They can choose to waste taxpayers’ dollars and undermine states’ rights by arresting and prosecuting seriously ill patients who possess and use medical cannabis in compliance with state law, or they can choose more worthwhile priorities, like protecting national security and targeting violent criminals,” said the group’s executive director, Allen St. Pierre.President Bush’s drug czar, John Walters, said the ruling “marks the end of medical marijuana as a political issue.”“Marinol – the synthetic form of THC and the psychoactive ingredient contained in marijuana – is already legally available for prescription by physicians whose patients suffer from pain and chronic illness,” he said.The court did not overturn California’s medical marijuana law and does not require state and local police to enforce the federal ban on marijuana. But the ruling means people in the 10 states with medical marijuana laws won’t be protected from federal prosecution, and it will not allow state and local police to prevent federal drug agents from raiding home gardens or doctors’ offices.But Souder suggested that federal agents wouldn’t focus on a person who has a pot plant for her own use. “Nobody’s going to go after random sick patients,” he said. “They’ll go after people who grow (marijuana) in large numbers, doctors who are flagrantly legalizing marijuana through these huge numbers.”Note: Decide federal power trumps 10 states’ laws.Source: Journal Gazette, The (IN)Author: Sylvia Smith, The Journal GazettePublished: June 7, 2005Copyright: 2005 The Journal GazetteContact: letters jg.netWebsite: http://www.journalgazette.netRelated Articles & Web Sites:NORML Raich v. Ashcroft News Medical Pot Users Disheartened by Decision Patients Remain Defiant's Users Say Ruling Won't End Their Efforts 
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Comment #3 posted by Critto on June 09, 2005 at 10:40:20 PT
They should be rather called "NAZIS". They have NOTHING to do with justice.
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Comment #2 posted by Critto on June 09, 2005 at 10:31:27 PT
schizophrenic SC?
yes, they have upheld the doctor's right to recommend cannabis. They've also upheld, that mere citation of the commerce clause isn't enough to make someone federally liable: the real interstate commerce is required. Now they are overturning this ruling?? It seems really mad. the worst thing is, that those 6 bastards DO NOT care a damn for the sick, suffering people. Their way of thinking is "if there are some harmful laws, let's go on with them, and let them harm people as ever", while it should be "if there are harmful laws, they should be at least suspended for now, to ease the suffering of the people, before new, better and more humane laws are established". The SC's way of thinking is cold-blooded, nazi-like tyranny.In Liberty,
Libertaryzm=Libertarianism (PL/EN)
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Comment #1 posted by TecHnoCult on June 07, 2005 at 08:11:39 PT
“They’ll go after people who grow (marijuana) in large numbers, doctors who are flagrantly legalizing marijuana through these huge numbers.”Someone needs to remind Souder that the SC already upheld a doctor's right to recommend cannibis.THC
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