Cannabis Interrupted 

Cannabis Interrupted 
Posted by CN Staff on July 13, 2005 at 10:41:08 PT
By Herman Schwartz
Source: Nation
USA -- The Supreme Court's medical marijuana decision this past June was a minor defeat for the so-called states' rights cause but a major setback for compassion and common sense. It marked one of the few defeats suffered by retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in her long campaign against federal regulation of the national economy and for the enhancement of individual rights. This time, she should have won. Although the decision temporarily halted the conservative assault, it allowed federal authorities to deny a locally grown and marketed drug with proven therapeutic value to people who desperately need it.
In Gonzales v. Raich, the Court told California and ten other states that if they allowed their residents to use marijuana to relieve their illnesses, those people would be violating the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA), even if the drug were taken solely for serious medical conditions under a doctor's supervision, state law allowed it, and the growth and usage were entirely within the same state. A unique combination of the four liberal justices plus the ultraconservative Antonin Scalia and the occasional swing vote Anthony Kennedy decided that the commerce clause was broad enough to reach these purely local transactions; Justice O'Connor, Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justice Clarence Thomas dissented. Plaintiffs Angel Raich and Diane Monson did not challenge the CSA itself but only the way it was being applied to people in their circumstances, what the lower court described as a "separate and distinct class" of users and noncommercial activities that were never involved directly or indirectly in interstate trade. The amount they used, the plaintiffs argued, was too small and too localized to "substantially affect interstate commerce," the standard for application of the commerce clause. Sensing a rare victory in a commerce clause case, Justice John Paul Stevens issued an opinion that authorized the federal government to prohibit use of even the tiniest amounts of marijuana if Congress had a "rational basis" for thinking that federal drug laws would be undermined if exceptions were made. That could happen if the medically authorized marijuana were diverted to the illicit interstate market, although, as Stevens admitted, there was no evidence of any such diversion in the Raich case. General Accounting Office studies show that registered medical marijuana users are too few to have any substantial effect on the interstate market. Crafting a medical exception would not have been difficult, for as Stevens recognized, the medical users' challenge to the CSA was "actually quite limited." In fact, the therapeutic exemption actually reduced demand for illegal marijuana, which is the primary federal concern, because it kept desperate AIDS sufferers, cancer patients and others from turning to criminal drug dealers. There have indeed been abuses. Two weeks after the decision, it was reported that drug dealers and crooked doctors had used three medical marijuana dispensaries as a front to peddle massive amounts of marijuana and other illegal drugs. But as Kevin Ryan, the US Attorney for the Northern District of California, said, this case was not "about ill people who may be using marijuana [but]...about a criminal enterprise" involving a multimillion-dollar international conspiracy. Many medical dispensaries operate properly, and both California and federal law are available to deal with the truly criminal. The Supreme Court decision may actually encourage abuses. Those who need marijuana to ease their suffering will still manage to get it from illegal sources, and federal officials have indicated they are not likely to prosecute individual users. But California will no longer be able to justify continuing its current efforts to tighten dispensary regulation and to restrict access to the truly needy, for how can a state justify regulating and implicitly approving what the Supreme Court has found illegal? The decision will discourage more states from permitting medical use of the drug, no matter how carefully controlled. This small victory for federal authority will do little to stem the right-wing campaign to shrink federal power and undermine the welfare and regulatory reforms initiated by the New Deal. Instead, the vital state experimentation on a common problem, which the federal system is supposed to encourage, will be choked off. More people will be forced into the illegal market, and victims of cancer, AIDS and other serious illnesses will be made even more miserable. Source: Nation, The (US)Author: Herman SchwartzPublished: July 13, 2005 Copyright: 2005 The Nation Company Contact: letters thenation.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #7 posted by ekim on July 14, 2005 at 06:30:58 PT
 Farm Aid 2005 Chicago Sept. 18
Willie Nelson 
Neil Young
John MellencampWhere- Tweeter Center in the Chicago suburb of Tinley ParkTickets on sale July 30
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Comment #6 posted by mayan on July 13, 2005 at 20:55:37 PT
Some folks here might find tonight's show on 'Coast to Coast AM' interesting..."Dr. Robin Falkov, Dr. Terry Grossman and journalist Jon Rappoport join together to discuss the implications of pending legislation that may regulate the distribution of over the counter dietary supplements." Tonight's Show Info:
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on July 13, 2005 at 20:47:49 PT
Shepherd Express: The Politics of Pot
Shepherd Express
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Comment #4 posted by mayan on July 13, 2005 at 19:49:08 PT
On Our Dime!
From the DPA update FoM posted in comment #2...So the Sacramento Sheriff saw to it that thousands of dollars in human resources and administrative expenses were committed to go after someone for a $500 fine. Go figure.So they're using the taxpayer's money while they thumb their noses at the law that the taxpayers voted for. Sickening.It's interesting that Sgt. Davis didn't mention "marijuana" but "controlled substances". It looks like many state LEO's will see the Raich decision as a green light to go after medical cannabis patients. Both they and the feds are out of bounds and we must put them back in their place before it's too late. Sorry if these have been posted...New marijuana group shuns 'potheads': patient seeks to open S.C. pot shop: requires permits for pot clubs:,1413,206~22097~2962512,00.htmlTHE WAY OUT IS THE WAY IN...Two More WTC Workers Come Forward Claiming Massive Explosion Took Place In Lower Levels Of North Tower On 9/11: WTC Janitor Comes Forward: Big Shots at NBC and New York Times 'Hush Hush And Evasive' About Why WTC Janitor Story Never Appeared: Truth: A Story On the Verge of Breaking Through: IGNORING 9/11 AND THE PROJECT FOR A NEW AMERICAN CENTURY: Underground Exercises and the Magically Exploding Terrorists: Important Questions: Patsies: A Replay Of The Pristine 9/11 Passport: LONDON ATTACKS: Britches Falling Down: Convenient Malfunction Of The London Bus Camera:
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on July 13, 2005 at 15:46:12 PT
Off Topic
I don't know if anyone is interested but this site might be gone tomorrow so if you want to see a video from Live 8 I guess you should check it out soon.
Live 8
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on July 13, 2005 at 14:25:53 PT
DPA: Witness to the Prosecution
Wednesday, July 13, 2005Nikos Leverenz, Deputy Director of the Alliance's California Capital office, was on-site at a DEA raid of a medical marijuana dispensary earlier this month. He describes the experience below.On Thursday, July 7, I received word from our allies at Americans for Safe Access that the Sacramento County Sheriff was involved in a raid on a medical marijuana dispensary in Rancho Cordova, a community just outside of Sacramento.The involvement of state and local law enforcement in DEA raids on medical marijuana dispensaries violates the express will of the voters, who placed the Compassionate Use Act into California law in 1996 (Prop. 215). The Raich decision from the United States Supreme Court last month did not strike down the Act. Further, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer has issued two bulletins to California law enforcement agencies on their duty to comply with the Act. The first directs that they should not “change their current practices for the non-arrest and non-prosecution of individuals who are within the legal scope of [the Act].” The second goes a bit further, finding that “Raich imposes no mandatory duty on California peace officers to enforce the federal Controlled Substances Act against individuals whose possession, use or cultivation of marijuana is lawful under California law.”As it turns out, the Sacramento County Sheriff isn’t listening. When I arrived on the scene, a sheriff’s motorcycle was displayed conspicuously in front of the dispensary, with media representatives from all three local network affiliates, The Sacramento Bee, and Capital Public Radio. In plain view inside the dispensary were several deputies talking with the Sheriff’s spokesman, Sgt. R.L. Davis. I gave a television interview with a news reporter from the ABC affiliate, and after talking with some patients and advocates, I somehow became the de facto spokesperson for the advocates there. Sgt. Davis stated that the Department was there only to investigate the unlawful operation of a business without a license, and that they had nothing to do with suspected “controlled substances” violations. He did say that the Drug Enforcement Agency had been informed about the discovery of “controlled substances,” and that they would have nothing further to do on that part. Demonstrating a high degree of PR savvy, he intentionally left out any mention of marijuana. After Sgt. Davis gave his briefing, I stated that the Raich (previous mention was in italics---should be consistent) decision did not overturn Prop. 215, and that state and local law enforcement could not act in violation of that law. On the question of the operation of a business without a license, I noted that Board of Equalization (BOE) was now working on that very issue. The week prior, I attended a stakeholder meeting at the BOE’s Sacramento office on the subject.Having already been stunned by the terrorist bombings in London earlier that day – the Tavistock Square bus bombing was two blocks from where I attended law school in the Summer of 1998 – I was saddened that I had to become essentially a “first responder” to a different sort of crisis near my hometown. What compounded my sadness was the fact that I could do nothing, beyond my advocacy on behalf of patients and their care providers. That night and the next morning, I felt further invalidated – as the news accounts and the Bee article didn’t see fit to put me into the coverage. Perhaps an articulate multi-racial 31-year old in a dress shirt and slacks did not make for a good image compared to those wearing “Jamaica” shirts and the like.Later, I found out the penalty for operating a business without a license in Sacramento County: a misdemeanor that carries a fine of up to $500. So the Sacramento Sheriff saw to it that thousands of dollars in human resources and administrative expenses were committed to go after someone for a $500 fine. Go figure.
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Comment #1 posted by Richard Zuckerman on July 13, 2005 at 11:00:15 PT:
CNN Lou Dobbs interviewed a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a couple of months ago, who said that a group of unelected members are planning on eliminating the U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico borders BY THE YEAR 2010!! No more State Constitution. No more U.S. Constitution. All we would have would be the United Nations "Universal Declaration of Human Rights." Sounds like Bush will have his perpetual war, after all!
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