Raich Still Fighting for Medi-Pot Rights

Raich Still Fighting for Medi-Pot Rights
Posted by CN Staff on April 13, 2006 at 07:03:52 PT
By Jordan Smith
Source: Austin Chronicle 
California -- Medical-marijuana patient, and its fiercest advocate, Angel Raich, was back in federal court on March 27, where her lawyers argued before a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the Constitution and the common-law doctrine of medical necessity protect Raich's use of medi-pot and make unconstitutional the federal government's attempts to enforce pot prohibition against sick and dying patients.
Raich, who suffers from a host of serious medical conditions – including an inoperable brain tumor and wasting syndrome – began using medi-pot in compliance with the 1996 California law that codified the practice after trying a host of pharmaceuticals that failed to control her symptoms – or that, in some cases, made those symptoms worse. After federal narcos stepped up raids on medi-mari dispensaries and users in California, Raich sued the feds, arguing that they had no right to interfere with her in-state, legal use of medi-pot. The feds countered that the Constitution's Commerce Clause authorized the raids as part of a scheme to maintain the prohibition on pot use outlined by the Controlled Substances Act, which reads, in part, that pot has no medically acceptable uses (a classification the feds have maintained in large part by simply ignoring the growing body of medical research that suggests otherwise.) Raich fought all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where many court watchers – mindful of the Court's recent legal interpretations deferring to state's rights in intrastate matters – thought Raich would prevail. But with Justice Antonin Scalia (usually a stalwart supporter of state sovereignty) defecting to the majority, the court ruled against Raich, opining that the feds may use the Commerce Clause to enforce the CSA in states that legalize and regulate medi-pot. Still, the court did not contemplate any of the other legal questions raised by Raich's suit and sent the case back to the Ninth Circuit for further consideration. On March 27, Raich and her attorneys, Randy Barnett and Robert Raich, told the appeals court that the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment, the Ninth Amendment's granting to the people those rights not specifically identified in the Constitution, and the common-law doctrine of medical necessity prohibit the feds from using drug laws to ban Raich's state-sanctioned medi-pot use. The three-judge panel, however, wasn't sure that Raich could bring such a claim without first having been arrested or prosecuted for her medi-pot use – if she had been arrested, she would likely have a winning case, opined Judge Arlen Beam. "I'd be amazed if the Supreme Court didn't think the evidence would carry the day," he speculated. "The problem is, we don't have standing, in my view, on this particular issue." And, arguing on behalf of the feds, Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Quinlivan told the panel that it would be "incredibly unlikely" that someone like Raich would be arrested solely because she is a patient – unless, he said, a patient was to "flaunt" his or her medi-pot use. Amazingly – and contrary to reports of ongoing raids on small-time medi-mari dispensaries, growers and users – Quinlivan told the judges that the feds are focused on busting "large-scale distributors and growers." Still, Raich attorney Barnett told the judges that the real issue is that federal prohibition puts Raich's life in jeopardy and unconstitutionally threatens her ability to make "life-shaping" choices, to protect bodily integrity and, ultimately, to stay alive – arguments that necessarily give Raich legal standing before the court. In short, he said, "If she obeys the law, she will die." But there's no right for an individual to use any drug the government has banned, Quinlivan said – a contention that Judge Harry Pregerson quickly challenged: "Supposing … a patient faced an unbearable suffering that could only be relieved by a pill that was on the government's black list, would not that patient have a right to use the drug?" No, Quinlivan replied; the patient would not have any right to use a drug that Congress has banned; in explaining his answer, Quinlivan trotted out the age-old drug warrior's assertion that allowing any exceptions to the CSA ban on marijuana rule would only "open the floodgates" to others who want to use a host of other banned drugs. So it is okay to allow Raich to die, Pregerson asked. "Congress has made that judgment," Quinlivan responded. Quinlivan's flippant attitude infuriates Raich, who points out that when it comes to protecting the right to live – which, she argues, is at the heart of her case – the judgments of Congress are cherry-picked and driven by politics – as in the case of Terry Schiavo or in the ongoing quest to restrict and control women's reproductive freedoms. "So, does this mean that my life is less important than a fetus?" she asks. The ongoing fight over legalizing medi-mari – which challenges the feds' illogical drug classification scheme, and thus requires the fed lawyers to perform complicated mental gymnastics in order to build their prohibitionist arguments – angers Raich, who says she doesn't understand why the government won't simply let her live. For Raich, her access to and use of medi-pot is that fundamental: Without access, she would die. And getting herself arrested to ensure legal standing for her claims – as Judge Beam suggested – would likely hasten her death. "If I got arrested and they withheld my medicine, I'd die," she said in a recent phone interview. "So, if they want me to test their argument on 'standing' that's what I'd have to do. It makes me so angry because I don't feel like I should have to [put my life in jeopardy] to survive." Still, she says that if the appeal court rules against her, she may have to do just that. "If the [court] rules against me, I'm taking my gloves off, and you'll see an Angel Raich you haven't seen before," she said. "I want my freedom; I want to live." Source: Austin Chronicle (TX)Author: Jordan SmithPublished: April 14, 2006Copyright: 2006 Austin Chronicle Corp.Contact: louis auschron.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Angel Justice Marijuana Focuses On Right To Life Pot Case Back To Litigation Bid for Medical Marijuana Back in Court 
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on April 13, 2006 at 17:02:33 PT
E-Mail from Angel Raich
DPFCA: Audio Transcript to Raich v. Gonzales, March 27, 2006 Oral Argument   
Hello Everyone, Here is the link were you will find the audio to my Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals March, 27, 2006 oral argument. After our oral argument the government then filed another 28(j) letter to the court, and we filed our response shortly after. Compassion and Justice,Angel Raich 
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Comment #14 posted by global_warming on April 13, 2006 at 16:48:56 PT
shake the dust off my feet, that is how I feel
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on April 13, 2006 at 16:45:18 PT
New Science of Cannabinoid-Based Medicine
The New Science of Cannabinoid-Based Medicine: An Interview with Dr. Raphael Mechoulam By David Jay Brown Raphael Mechoulam, Ph.D., is the Lionel Jacobson Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he has been working on cannabinoid chemistry (a term he coined) for over forty years. Throughout this time Dr. Mechoulam and colleagues have made some of the most important contributions to the field of cannabinoid research. His lab was the first to identify and synthesize delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis. This discovery in 1964 (with Dr. Yehiel Gaoni) opened the door to a whole new field of medical research that began exploring, not only the therapeutic potential of THC (marketed as Marinol in America), but other natural and synthetic cannabinoids as well, and offered exciting new insights into how the brain functions. 
 Dr. Mechoulam, along with pharmacologist Dr. Habib Edery and colleagues, went on to isolate and elucidate the structures of most members of the cannabinoid group of compounds in the cannabis plant. Twenty-eight years after discovering THC, in 1992, Dr. Mechoulam, along with Dr. William Devane and Dr. Lumir Hanus, identified the brain's first endogenous cannabinoid (or endocannabinoid)—the brain's natural version of THC—which they called "anandamide," from the Sanskrit word "ananda," which means "eternal bliss" or "supreme joy." It turns out that the brain actually has a whole family of cannabinoid neurotransmitters and receptors. Just as the active compound in opium (morphine) led to the discovery of the endorphin (endogenous morphine) system in the brain, the active compound in cannabis (THC) led to the discovery of the brain's endocannabinoid system. Later Dr. Mechoulam and colleagues identified the THC metabolites and, more recently, along with Dr. Lumir Hanus and Dr. Shimon Ben-Shabat, he discovered a second endocannabinoid known as 2-arachidonylglycerol (2-AG). These findings have profoundly advanced our understanding of cannabinoid systems.Endocannabinoids function as neuroprotective agents. They are part of the brain's reward system, and they help with the reduction of pain. Vigorous exercise stimulates the release of anandamide, and the sense of euphoric well-being that comes with a healthy workout—what jogging enthusiasts refer to as a "runner's high"—is due to elevated levels of endocannabinoids. The endocannabinoid system in the brain is also believed to help mediate emotions, consolidate memory, and coordinate movement. In fact, cannabinoid receptors are found in higher concentrations than any other receptor in the brain, and the endocannabinoid system acts essentially in just about every physiological system that people have looked into.While the political controversy over medical marijuana continues in America, pharmaceutical companies—such as G.W. Pharmaceuticals in the United Kingdom and Sanofi-Synthélabo Recherché in France—are busy researching and developing a wealth of new medications based on compounds found in the cannabis plant. Controlled studies have revealed therapeutic utility of cannabinoids in the treatment of multiple sclerosis and other spasticity ailments, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer chemotherapy side-effects, glaucoma, AIDS wasting syndrome, and seizure disorders such as epilepsy. Analgesic action and tumor retardation have also been shown.But even more exciting is the wave of new drugs that are currently being developed from cannabinoid analogs—both agonists and antagonists, meaning drugs that both activate and deactivate cannabinoid receptors in the brain. From new types of pain killers and neuroprotective agents for head trauma and stroke victims, to appetite stimulants and appetite suppressants. Most recently, one of the synthetic compounds (HU-211) from Dr. Mechoulam's lab has completed phase 2 clinical trials against head trauma with evidence of a neuroprotective effect. The pace of cannabinoid research has certainly been accelerating over the past few years, and Dr. Mechoulam—who has been at the forefront of this research since the beginning—thinks these new drugs are just the tip of the iceberg.Dr. Mechoulam is recognized as one of the world's experts on cannabinoid-based medicine. In addition to his groundbreaking discoveries, he has written hundreds of scientific papers on his cannabinoid research, and he is the author of the book Cannabinoids as Therapeutic Agents, an early review of the research in this area. Dr. Mechoulam has received numerous honors and awards for his outstanding contributions to the field, and he was the president of the International Cannabinoid Research Society. Dr. Mechoulam is a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences, and among the numerous prizes that he has received for his work, is the highest national scientific prize in Israel—the Israel Prize.Dr. Mechoulam is mentally energetic, kind, and generous. We spoke about how he came to discover THC and anandamide, the role that endocannabinoids play in the brain, natural ways to increase the brain's production of anandamide, and the vast array of new cannabinoid-based drugs that are being developed.Complete Article:
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Comment #12 posted by lombar on April 13, 2006 at 15:10:06 PT
"They may point guns at me with their hired thugs with badges and little brains, and force me to bow to their superior armament, but that will not change the moral imperative of the TRUTH."Cannabis prohibition is maintained by deception and enforced with coercion, physical force to stop it, physical force and violence for the black market to enforce its rules (pay or suffer.. sounds familiar). The US citizens have the DOI and the notion that the government derives its just powers from the consent of the governed.Without that consent, there is no just power, only tyranny. Since it is impossible to get people to agree just about anything, it is easy for the students of Machiavelli to continue their machinations and intrigues, setting groups against each other and profiting from conflict.Why is it that the bar for achievement always rises at that same time the tolerance for not making that bar decreases?Perhaps we need to create a site that makes a database of public officials, open to anyone with a web browser, based on their statements and voting records. List known affiliations and cross reference them. Map out all connections between the companies and the politicians, associations, groups, non-profits, think-tanks. Would that be 'illegal'? That way we can rake them over the coals when necessary ( or praise should they deserve it). Citizens over Government. We can use the CoG to really turn the wheels of social progress. Groups from each riding/district could track the various stuff. Be a lot of work....I have been pondering something like that for a while... The government is supposed to serve the people, not just the people with too much money. What can we do to effect change?
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Comment #11 posted by Dankhank on April 13, 2006 at 14:18:14 PT
Souder ...
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Comment #10 posted by Sam Adams on April 13, 2006 at 14:06:43 PT
This is very nice, well-researched article. I wonder if we could use the word "cannabis" from now on? I use many different herbs for medicine, and none of them is called "medi-pot". None of them is called medi-anything. Ok, one of them is called "Sweet Annie" (instead of artemesia annula) but that sounds a hell of a lot better than "medi-pot". Medi-pot sounds an awful lot like a bedpan, and I don't think we need that negative connotation!
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Comment #9 posted by whig on April 13, 2006 at 13:17:02 PT
"If you tell a monkey he is the president then give him the power to destroy the world, whose fault is it really?"Something about absolute power...
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Comment #8 posted by museman on April 13, 2006 at 13:11:20 PT
You're not the boss of me
If you tell a monkey he is the president then give him the power to destroy the world, whose fault is it really?As long as we continue to defer to false authorities propped up by nothing other than sheer wealth and clout, as long as we continue to BELIEVE in a system as corrupt and far gone as this one, they will always prevail.They are not constrained by honesty, ot true integrity, they only have to work within the narrow definitions, so carefully crafted by the lawyer class (same as the rich class) that are known as 'The Law.'They do not need to consider the humanity of compassion, or forgiveness, charity, or most specially PEACE. They have the rote of law. They are all wrong. THEY DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO "GOVERN" me, or my family. They may point guns at me with their hired thugs with badges and little brains, and force me to bow to their superior armament, but that will not change the moral imperative of the TRUTH.Their 'rights' are upheld through gross actions and criminal activities against peoples, nations, and eco-systems, and at a cost that only God is qualified to avenge.Though they may include shards of truth in their library of lies and subterfuge, that in itself is just another in a growing list of crimes against all life as we know it.Have pity on the poor fools for they know not what they do, and when they actually find out, it'll probably be too late for them.A congress of idiots. Republicrats. Judges who cannot discern anything right and good, and a bevy of upper-middle-class ass-kissers saying yes to bondage and servitude, while saying a loud NO to freedom , liberty, and justice.Kind of like the response Pilate got when he asked the crowd what to do with Y'shua (Jesus).Y'shua is my only superior, and God is my only authority. If you 'politicians' think you can do a better job than God (and obviously you do) then there is nothing for us to do but shake the dust off our feet of your existence because YOU ARE DOOMED!
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Comment #7 posted by whig on April 13, 2006 at 11:25:00 PT
OT: Huge news
Some of you who might be familiar with the procedures of the courts in this country might know that most cases appealed are disposed of with "unpublished", so-called memorandum opinions, and that these rulings have been held to be unciteable, of no precedential value whatsoever, in future cases.This has just been overturned.
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Comment #6 posted by whig on April 13, 2006 at 10:47:37 PT
What is going on
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Comment #5 posted by whig on April 13, 2006 at 10:02:59 PT
"We don't have any control at the moment."Since you're feeling like being very candid, let's be totally honest here... you never really had any control, at any time. And that's the point. You can't have any control unless you have total control, as in a police state. And since you don't want that kind of society, it's time to legalize and regulate. Congratulations Scot cops for being smart.I'll try to answer this candidly from their viewpoint. They want control. They need control. Loss of control is loss of power. No power. They lose. Because what they are trying to do, what they have always done, is control. Empower themselves by disempowering everyone else. You are bargaining with them. You are saying, you can keep some control if you act now. Regulate, control for awhile longer. Forever, they might hope.We are saying, because we are who we are and we know what we do, that power is corruption, and we would have none but freely chosen relationships. In our family none could harm another without being driven out until the lesson is learned. And this is what has happened, we drove them out. They are going to have to learn this lesson.
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Comment #4 posted by Max Flowers on April 13, 2006 at 09:50:28 PT
Scottish horse-sense emerging
"We don't have any control at the moment."Since you're feeling like being very candid, let's be totally honest here... you never really had any control, at any time. And that's the point. You can't have any control unless you have total control, as in a police state. And since you don't want that kind of society, it's time to legalize and regulate. Congratulations Scot cops for being smart.
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Comment #3 posted by BHicks on April 13, 2006 at 09:27:36 PT:
Great News
Quoting from the Daily Mail Scotland front page exclusive:SCOTTISH POLICE IN CALL TO LEGALISE ALL DRUGSThursday April 13 2006POLICE officers are calling for all drugs to be legalised in Scotland . In a hugely controversial move, an influential group of frontline officers is demanding a radical change in the law. They say that even Class A drugs such as cocaine and heroin should no longer be illegal. The call comes from rank and file police in the country's biggest force who say radical measures are essential to tackle the spiralling drug problem.Strathclyde Police Federation which represents nearly all 7,700 officers in the area, says all drugs should be licensed for use by addicts. The Association says millions of pounds are wasted on futile efforts to tackle the issue, with resources diverted from other police duties.…Inspector Jim Duffy, chairman of the federation, said the approach to drug abuse must be transformed in order to cut the death toll. He said: ”We should legalise all drugs currently covered by the Misuse of Drugs Act – everything from class A to C, including heroin, cocaine and speed.“We are not winning the war against drugs and we need to think about different ways to tackle it. Tell me a village where they are drug-free?”He added: “Despite the amount of resources and the fantastic work our girls and guys do, we are not making a difference. We don't have any control at the moment.…Strathclyde Police Federation plans to table a discussion motion at the body's forthcoming national conference to garner support from officers across Scotland.
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Comment #2 posted by siege on April 13, 2006 at 09:22:19 PT
C S A out line
So it is back to the C S A, go read it!!! you will find there are Many action intended to nullify the effects of some previous action, IN IT... I have counted 4 so far, and still reading... so the man that wrote it did not do a good job of it, and told them so. it was just a (( out line of what is there )) not to be made law...
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Comment #1 posted by whig on April 13, 2006 at 08:41:30 PT
Black and White
Here it is, in black and white.So it is okay to allow Raich to die, Pregerson asked."Congress has made that judgment," Quinlivan responded.Indefensible.
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