High Court Signals No Room for Medicinal Use 

High Court Signals No Room for Medicinal Use 
Posted by FoM on September 02, 2000 at 11:23:22 PT
Marijuana Gridlock? - Bee Editorial
Source: Sacramento Bee
As researchers in California were announcing plans for a center to study whether marijuana has medicinal uses, the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court were dampening hopes that there was room in federal law for such a use of the substance. The two events exemplify how our judicial and electoral systems have yet to resolve the conflict over marijuana. The public in eight states, including California via Proposition 215, have approved initiatives to legalize marijuana as medicine. But federal judges don't obey the will of the voters, but the letter of a federal law that bans marijuana, period.
Is there wiggle room in the federal law? U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer didn't see any back in 1998 when he barred the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative from "engaging in the manufacture or distribution of marijuana." Yet the jurists of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals saw things differently, and they floated a legal balancing act of sorts. Yes, federal law bans marijuana. But the law doesn't over-ride "medical necessity," said the appellate justices. So the ban doesn't apply "to seriously ill individuals who need cannabis for medicinal purposes."The high court has quickly stepped in, however, to keep the outright ban on marijuana use intact. By a 7-1 vote, the Supreme Court has issued an emergency order that sets aside the 9th Circuit's legal theories until arguments from both sides are heard later this year. While the high court hasn't issued its final ruling in the case, issuing this emergency order gives a strong signal about their thinking.The tidiest legal solution would be for Congress to allow every state to regulate marijuana's medicinal use for itself. States already have great authority to regulate the practice of medicine. In many respects, delegating the marijuana decisions to states would be consistent with this existing division of powers. Yet Congress would have to relinquish control of marijuana rules to the states. That is not likely any time soon. At least new research through centers such as the new one in California will help resolve just how medicinal marijuana truly is. In the meantime, the will of the public and the law of the land will continue to collide. Published Sept. 2, 2000Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)Copyright: 2000 The Sacramento BeeContact: opinion Address: P.O.Box 15779Sacramento CA 95852Website: Articles & Web Site:Oakland Cannabis Buyer's Cooperative Supreme Court on Medical Marijuana Reefer Madness' Needless Pot War Medical Marijuana Archives: 
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