Medical Marijuana at a Crossroads 10 Years Later 

Medical Marijuana at a Crossroads 10 Years Later 
Posted by CN Staff on November 03, 2006 at 08:32:35 PT
By David Kravets, Associated Press Writer
Source: Associated Press
San Francisco, CA -- A decade ago Californians passed the nation's first medical marijuana law, but the future of that statute is no clearer now than when voters headed to the polls on Nov. 5, 1996.The federal government still refuses to recognize Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act approved by 56 percent of voters. And U.S. authorities have won nearly every major legal battle over the measure, from the Clinton administration to the Bush administration.
"We refer to it as marijuana, not medical marijuana, regardless of its reported destination or use," said Drug Enforcement Administration spokeswoman Casey McEnry, noting that marijuana is an illegal controlled substance under federal law.The government's war on drugs has also prompted a civil war of sorts within California: three of the state's 58 counties, headed by San Diego County, claim in a lawsuit filed in state court that the measure is illegal.A hearing is set for Nov. 16 in the lawsuit, which threatens to derail the state's legal tolerance for the medicinal use of a drug that federal law places in the same category as heroin, cocaine and LSD. A victory for those renegade counties might also set legal precedent undermining medical marijuana laws in 10 other states -- Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. Voters in South Dakota will consider a medical marijuana measure on Tuesday."The state cannot authorize somebody to do something that breaks federal law," said Thomas Bunton, senior deputy counsel for San Diego County.Medical marijuana is used by thousands of people suffering from AIDS, cancer, anorexia, chronic pain, arthritis, migraines and other illnesses, according to the Marijuana Policy Project. The nation's medical marijuana laws generally allow those with a doctor's recommendation to grow or possess small amounts of the drug.In 1999, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences expressed concerns about the health risks of smoking marijuana, but acknowledged in a report that "there is no clear alternative for people suffering from chronic conditions that might be relieved by smoking marijuana, such as pain or AIDS wasting."Later research suggests it might reduce tumor proliferation and a study this year by the University of California at San Francisco showed marijuana "may offer significant benefit" to those suffering from hepatitis C.The Food and Drug Administration does not recognize marijuana as having medical benefits.California is the epicenter of the federal-state medical marijuana battle.Communities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland and West Hollywood have authorized storefront medical marijuana dispensaries.Proposition 215 does not expressly allow dispensaries, but Americans for Safe Access, a pro-marijuana lobbying group, estimates there are about 200 operating in California. For many backers of the law, it's an imperfect way for patients to get pot."I thought we would have had more of a standardized distribution system by now," said William Panser, an Oakland criminal defense lawyer who was among the handful of attorneys that crafted the proposition.Federal agents have raided more than two dozen California dispensaries over the past decade, according to Americans for Safe Access. Some communities are now assisting in the crackdown, including San Diego, which recently shuttered thirteen.A dozen dispensaries found on the Internet and contacted by The Associated Press declined comment or did not return messages.William Dolphin, spokesman for Americans for Safe Access, said dispensaries are also operating secretly in other states, even though they are illegal. "I know they are operating in Oregon, Washington and Colorado. It's underground," he said.So far, the federal government has taken a piecemeal approach to enforcing federal drug laws, cracking down on a few scattered dispensaries."The dispensary issue is a fascinating study in sociology," Panser said. "It's like the speed limit, and everybody is breaking the law but it's being tolerated."Nowhere is medical marijuana more accepted than in San Francisco, birthplace of the movement. The city's top prosecutor, Kamala Harris, steadfastly supports Proposition 215."Sick people using medical marijuana as it relates to Proposition 215 are not criminals and will not be prosecuted," she said.But she acknowledged that a handful of San Francisco dispensaries raided by federal agents "were out of control" because they were selling pot to customers without a doctor's recommendation."There were some abuses," Harris said.The DEA says it is targeting dispensaries and other large-scale growing and selling operations, whether the marijuana is for medical or illicit use. Federal authorities say they might seize individual users' marijuana, but likely wouldn't arrest medicinal users because they are focused on the supply chain."Our mission is to come into contact with the cultivators and the distributors of marijuana," said the DEA's McEnry. "We don't target users."One such user is Angel Raich, who already lost one case before the U.S. Supreme Court and is likely headed back.The 41-year-old mother of two from Oakland suffers from scoliosis, a brain tumor, chronic nausea and other ailments. On her doctor's advice, Raich uses marijuana every couple of hours to ease her pain and bolster a nonexistent appetite. She smokes it, vaporizes it and cooks it into her food.Last year, the Supreme Court came down against Raich in the court's second ruling against medical marijuana since 2001. Because Congress decided marijuana was illegal under the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, the justices ruled, users and suppliers could be prosecuted for breaching federal drug laws, even if they lived in a state where medical marijuana was legal.With that ruling, the legal issue has narrowed to the so-called right to life theory: that marijuana should be allowed if it is the only viable option to keep patients alive. Raich and her doctor say without marijuana, she would likely die.Ten years after the medical marijuana revolution began, Raich never envisioned that she would still be living with the fear of being arrested, or that her supply chain might be cut off."It's so scary," she said. "I thought that the feds would just leave us alone."Editors: David Kravets has been covering state and federal courts for more than a decade.Source: Associated Press (Wire)Author: David Kravets, Associated Press Writer Published:  November 3, 2006Copyright: 2006 Associated Press CannabisNews Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #11 posted by BGreen on November 06, 2006 at 06:20:23 PT
Texas oil
I tried cooking with that brown stuff you guys treasure down there in Texas but it tasted horrible. Darned near couldn't finish that meal. LOLThe Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #10 posted by Hope on November 06, 2006 at 05:56:52 PT
Whig and BGreen
Oilmen.(That's funny, from my point of view here in Texas.)
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Comment #9 posted by BGreen on November 06, 2006 at 05:28:10 PT
Oops, we don't use hemp oil in cooking
I meant we consume hemp oil on salads. Heat destroys hemp oil so you should never cook with it.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #8 posted by BGreen on November 06, 2006 at 05:20:38 PT
Make sure you consume only extra virgin olive oil
We buy high quality Greek cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO.) We use so much of it that we buy it in 3 liter cans.Avoid "light," "pure" or "pomace," because they are manufactured using chemicals to extract the oil remaining after the extra virgin oil is extracted by cold-pressing. Cold-pressing uses no chemicals whatsoever.We only use hemp oil, extra virgin olive oil and extra virgin coconut oil in our cooking, and rarely eat out so we can control the quality of the oils we consume. We even fry foods in EVOO, contrary to some who say it isn't suitable for frying. You just have to watch the temperature of the oil to keep it from overheating.We absolutely love the taste of all three types of oil we use, so we're not missing out on ANYTHING by cutting all of the crap oils out of our diet.We have to use mail order in order to get this quality oil where we live, but it's worth paying the shipping costs to eat healthy.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on November 06, 2006 at 04:32:32 PT
Thanks, ElPatricio.
I'm looking forward to reading your work.Thank you.
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Comment #6 posted by whig on November 06, 2006 at 00:06:31 PT
good oils
Cannabis hemp oil (of course) is ideal for humans because it is our natural staple food, coevolved to provide complete nutrition to early humans -- cannabis is Gaian mother's milk. oil has a long tradition of association with peace and goodness, and it is monounsaturated. I have nothing bad to say about olive oil, and humans have coevolved a long and beneficial relationship with the olive plant too. I wonder if it might be a second mother plant in some sense, perhaps as bees may substitute a different flower when taken away from their origin.
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Comment #5 posted by whig on November 05, 2006 at 23:50:13 PT
Canola is also called rapeseed. That wasn't a very good marketing name, so they renamed it. 75% of the rapeseed crops are genetically modified.Good luck with that.
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Comment #4 posted by ekim on November 05, 2006 at 19:41:09 PT
 the full article will run in the next edition of O'Shaugnessy's, the journal of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians. ( i tried to punch this up but got a no find on my server error page.are you going to cover the 13th Hemp convention in San Francico on Nov 8-9 good book on omega 3s --The Queen of Fats 
whig she was saying that canola oil is not that bad for us and that we need more of the 3s as we are getting to much of the 6s --- The Queen of Fats -- Susan Allritch (sic) wonder what has become of herb doc and the other herb dr ethandid anyone hear sen grassly--- talken about
 Bio-Chemicals Industry-- seems the old factory worker has kept his good ol fasion American Can Do --- alive--and has written a letter asking about the tech used in making the industral enzymes for cellulose ethanol distilling. he wants to know how much and what process needed to make this industry happen now.this should be huge story in CA hemp bill campain --seeing that it was genencore that led the way for the DOE
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Comment #3 posted by elpatricio on November 05, 2006 at 16:15:07 PT:
User123's Solid Observation
Hi Cannabis News readers,User 123's right. Not much new in the tenth anniversary article by the AP's very able David Kravets. But my writing partner, Martin Lee, and I will be breaking significant new ground about the battle over California's Compassionate Use Act. We wrote an expose for The Nation, which decided they weren't interested in the "details."However, the full article will run in the next edition of O'Shaugnessy's, the journal of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians. ( describe the campaign by federal authorities to recruit California law-enforcement officials, and the secret opposition of state prosecutors to the cooperative dispensaries that opened after SB 420.Be sure and ask for a copy of O'Shaugnessy's at your physician's office or a dispensary.Until then, Cannabis News readers should appreciate the opinion piece I published in the Sacramento Bee today on the 10th anniversary of the Compassionate Use Act. While the Bee was not interested in the details, either, the column paints a far different picture of the current scene.Thanks to all those who've shared their stories.Pat (ElPatricio) McCartney
Auburn, California
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Comment #2 posted by user123 on November 03, 2006 at 20:54:21 PT:
Yeah, Yeah
This article is one bullet point after another. Sure it makes a point, but nothing new.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on November 03, 2006 at 13:06:13 PT
Officials Raid Palm Springs Pot Dispensary, Again
November 3, 2006(CBS) PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -- Drug enforcement officials executed another search warrant at Palm Springs' only medical marijuana dispensary, seizing "a large quantity" of the drug in plant and edible form.Agents with the Palm Springs Narcotics Task Force and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Adminstration served a warrant Thursday at Palm Springs Caregivers at 2100 N. Palm Canyon Drive."This search warrant was the result of an investigation into the illegal sale and distribution of marijuana by PSCG," said Sgt. Mitch Spike of the Palm Springs Police Department."PSCG is alleged to be operating as a storefront marijuana business, selling marijuana for profit in violation of California law," Spike said.Complete Article:
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