Medicinal Marijuana laws going back to Federal Court

by oldflame 9 Replies latest jw friends

  • oldflame
    the justices have come down against allowing the sick and dying to use the drug to ease their symptoms and possibly prolong life.

    However, the door has never been fully closed, and now a federal appeals court is set to hear arguments in the latest round of legal wrangling over the issue.
    The case to be argued Monday before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco narrows the matter to the so-called right to life theory: that marijuana should be allowed if it is the only viable option to keep a patient alive or free of excruciating pain.
    It would apply only to the sickest patients and their suppliers, regardless of whether they live in one of the 11 mostly Western states that allow medical marijuana.
    "A victory would affect people who are very seriously ill, facing death or great physical suffering," said Randy Barnett, a Boston University law school professor working on the case.
    The case was brought by Angel Raich, a 40-year-old mother of two from Oakland who suffers from scoliosis, a brain tumor, chronic nausea and other ailments. She uses marijuana every couple of hours to ease her pain and bolster her appetite.
    "She'd probably be dead without marijuana," said her doctor, Frank Lucido, who has recommended marijuana for some 3,000 patients. "Nothing else works."
    The Bush administration says the lawsuit is without merit.
    "There is no fundamental right to distribute, cultivate or possess marijuana," Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Quinlivan, the government's lead medical marijuana attorney, wrote to the appeals court.
    Voters in 1996 made California the first state to authorize patients to use marijuana with a doctor's recommendation. Ten other states have since followed suit but the federal government insists there is no medical value to the drug.
    In 2001, the Supreme Court ruled that Raich's supplier, the Oakland Cannabis Buyer's Cooperative, could not lawfully dispense marijuana despite the California voters' action.
    Two years later, in a small victory for medical marijuana backers, the high court let stand a 9th Circuit decision saying doctors have a First Amendment right to discuss or recommend the drug to patients without the threat of federal sanctions.
    But last June, the Supreme Court ruled the federal government could prosecute medical marijuana users and their suppliers.
    In some states, federal agents have been sporadically arresting users and raiding so-called pot clubs that dole out the drug to patients. Raich herself was arrested this month for disorderly conduct while demonstrating outside the federal courthouse in Oakland over a recent raid on a medical marijuana dispensary.
    However, a footnote by Justice Clarence Thomas in his 2001 ruling left the legal questions surrounding medical marijuana unsettled and helped open the door to Monday's hearing.
    Thomas wrote that important underlying constitutional questions remain unresolved, such as Congress' ability to interfere with states experimenting with their own laws and whether Americans have a fundamental right to marijuana as a vehicle to help them stay alive and ease pain.
    The justices answered the first part of that footnote in June, ruling in another case brought by Raich that patients living in states with medical marijuana laws could be prosecuted because Congress has classified marijuana as an illegal controlled substance.
    That prompted Reps. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., and Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., to propose legislation that would have blocked federal prosecution of medical marijuana users in states where it is legal. The House voted against the measure, 264-161. Hinchey will resurrect the proposal this summer, a spokesman said.
    Raich's latest action is a bid to settle the second part of Thomas' footnote.
    Even if it is successful, the case would be unlikely to stop the federal raids on pot clubs or protect most users and suppliers.
    Regardless of the outcome, Raich said she will continue using marijuana to treat her symptoms, and will keep fighting to do so without the threat of prosecution. She expects her case to go from the 9th Circuit to the Supreme Court no matter what the outcome.
    "I am going to keep doing this until they stop me because this is not a medical cannabis case but a right to life case," she said. "The federal government can say who can live and who can die if I lose in the Supreme Court."

    Above the Bush Administration was qouted saying there is no medicinal value in Marijuana. Well just what the hell is Marinol ?

  • OpenFireGlass
  • oldflame

    Hell I thought this would be a hot thread. That's what I get for thinking again

  • JeffT

    Clarence Thomas wrote a brilliant opinion on the limits of federal power the last time this went to the supremes. Unfortunately, he was outvoted. We can hope that the rest of them listen to him this time.

  • gumby

    Don't fret too much over threads not moving to quickly OldFlame.....the boards been slower than a pioneer on valium doin the "pioneer shuffle" who's low on hours

    I'm stayin up till midnight on my knees to jehovah tonight and prayim me arse off that jehovah will move these Satan inspired, heathen like, federal official asswipes, to quit lying about the benifits of this drug and to make them quit worrying about the money they won't get if people are not dependent on using THEIR marijuana that is controlled by them ( marinol). Ever known a government that didn't want their hand in the cookie jar? Bastards!

    Gumby.....goes off to his dark cold garage and prays like a bastard

  • Low-Key Lysmith
    Low-Key Lysmith

    Juuuuuust legalize it already.

  • Mary

    Here in Canada, if you're suffering ill effects from chemotherapy or radiation, it's legal to smoke marajuana for relief of the nausea and a doctor will prescribe it for you but you still have to go to a drug dealer to get it for you.

  • oldflame

    I understand that in Canada the law does not go after the pot smoker because it takes the cops away from more serious crimes. This is one reason why our prisons here are so over loaded because they fill them up with pot smokers which in turn cost Americans millions to house these people.

    I think Canada has it right. Go after those who steal and murder instead of the one who is doing nothing but smoking weed.

  • Mary


    understand that in Canada the law does not go after the pot smoker because it takes the cops away from more serious crimes.
    That's right. Why do you think Gumby wants to move from California to Canada? In reality, it's not that you can't be charged for possession of marijuana because you certainly can and they do. However, in recent years, they have adapted a far more relaxed attitude about casual pot smoking. If some police officer catches you smoking a joint, it's highly unlikely that he's going to waste his time charging you when, as you say, there are far more serious crimes that they have to contend with.

  • Abaddon

    It is such a waste of time...

    Here in Holland Cannabis has been decriminalised for two decades now.

    If you're over 18 and want some you go to a Coffee Shop. It costs from $7 a gramme.

    The Netherlands is still a peaceful country, and such social ills as there are aren't caused by the availability of pot.

    For example, whilst a Dutch teenager is more likely to have tried pot than an English one, more English teenagers use pot on a weekly basis. There is no ''dealer-on-dealer" crime to speak of, and few people would need to steal to support a pot habit. Smoking too much/often, in a public place or ordinary club or bar are all viewed as sad by the vast majority (and most Ducth people don't smoke pot). You will not be offered hard drugs in a Coffee Shop (unlike a normal dealer), and prehaps most convincingly of all, the average age of Heroin addicts has risen steadily for years, as so few young people become addicts most addicts are getting on a bit now.

    Why, of all people, should sick people be denied what may well be a drug of benefit that you cannot overdose on and has few side effects and has been in use for thousands of years?

    Even if the US still thinks (as most of Western Europe) that the sky will fall if you have controlled supply of pot, surely the USA can withstand some sick people sparking up? It is sad.

    Of course, no profit for drug companies (as there's a lot less to be made in making a drug based on a chemical in the public domain) ... less jobs for the boys in Law Enforcement, a whole US Agency with not a lot to do... hell the War on Drugs (cost billions, has lead to wider availability and lower prices of all recreational drugs) has too many vested interests benefiting from it to call a ceasefire. It didn't work during Prohibition and it doesn't work now.

    Start with pot, wait a couple of decades (if that), realise that;

    1/ People will get drugs even if they are illegal

    2/ The supply of illegal drugs which inevitably follows their being made illegal leads to crime (other than that of supply), massive profits for criminal enterprises which then diversify their criminal activites, and the creation of thousands upon thousands of government jobs.

    3/ Uncontrolled supply of illegal drugs leads to greater risks of progression to harder drugs.

    4/ Illegal drugs (not especially pot) are often adulterated and this and their ad hoc manner of use can lead to health problems over and above those of a user in a drug tolerant environment.

    ... after pot being freely available doesn't make the sky fall on everyone's head, just remove the whole idea of illegal drugs and create controlled supply, backed by decent drug education on the lines of "Just Say Know". Educated use is safer than ignorant use.

    We will always have sucessful users of recreational drugs (I include alcohol) and abusers of recreational drugs. The legality of the drugs doesn't change this.

    If we will always have sad little drunks/stoners/junkies, why base law around them? They will happen ANYWAY. Make the law about minimising the damage through controlled supply and drug education, and allowing those who can take or not take and live a normal life despite that (I include alcohol) to have the freedom to pursue a recreational pastime without being criminalised.

    Think of it as enlightened self interest; if Heroin were legal, junkies would not need to steal my VCR, as Heroin is not expensive, it is only expensive because it is illegal.

    If someone on drugs breaks a law that matters, such DWI laws, theft or assault, a crime against the person, there are already laws to put them in jail.

Share this