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Supremes rule against medical marijuana

 
 
Foxfyre
 
Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 11:07 am
The Supreme Court has made its ruling re medical marijuana as the federal law prohibits it. Three of the supremes think this is not a federal issue but should be left to the states to decide. What do you think?

Jun 6, 12:12 PM EDT

Court Rules Against Pot for Sick People

By GINA HOLLAND
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal authorities may prosecute sick people whose doctors prescribe marijuana to ease pain, the Supreme Court ruled Monday, concluding that state laws don't protect users from a federal ban on the drug.

The decision is a stinging defeat for marijuana advocates who had successfully pushed 10 states to allow the drug's use to treat various illnesses.

Justice John Paul Stevens, writing the 6-3 decision, said that Congress could change the law to allow medical use of marijuana.

The closely watched case was an appeal by the Bush administration in a case involving two seriously ill California women who use marijuana. The court said the prosecution of pot users under the federal Controlled Substances Act was constitutional.

"I'm going to have to be prepared to be arrested," said Diane Monson, one of the women involved in the case.

Stevens said the court was not passing judgment on the potential medical benefits of marijuana, and he noted "the troubling facts" in the case. Monson's backyard crop of six marijuana plants was seized by federal agents in 2002, although the California law was on Monson's side.

In a dissent, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said that states should be allowed to set their own rules.

Under the Constitution, Congress may pass laws regulating a state's economic activity so long as it involves "interstate commerce" that crosses state borders. The California marijuana in question was homegrown, distributed to patients without charge and without crossing state lines.

"Our national medical system relies on proven scientific research, not popular opinion. To date, science and research have not determined that smoking marijuana is safe or effective," John Walters, director of National Drug Control Policy, said Monday.

Stevens said there are other legal options for patients, "but perhaps even more important than these legal avenues is the democratic process, in which the voices of voters allied with these (California women) may one day be heard in the halls of Congress."

California's medical marijuana law, passed by voters in 1996, allows people to grow, smoke or obtain marijuana for medical needs with a doctor's recommendation. Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington state have laws similar to California.

In those states, doctors generally can give written or oral recommendations on marijuana to patients with cancer, HIV and other serious illnesses.

"The states' core police powers have always included authority to define criminal law and to protect the health, safety, and welfare of their citizens," said O'Connor, who was joined in her dissent by two other states' rights advocates: Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justice Clarence Thomas.

The legal question presented a dilemma for the court's conservatives, who have pushed to broaden states' rights in recent years. They earlier invalidated federal laws dealing with gun possession near schools and violence against women on the grounds the activity was too local to justify federal intrusion.

O'Connor said she would have opposed California's medical marijuana law if she were a voter or a legislator. But she said the court was overreaching to endorse "making it a federal crime to grow small amounts of marijuana in one's own home for one's own medicinal use."

Alan Hopper, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney, said that local and state officers handle 99 percent of marijuana prosecutions and must still follow any state laws that protect patients. "This is probably not going to change a lot for individual medical marijuana patients," he said.

The case concerned two Californians, Monson and Angel Raich. The two had sued then-U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, asking for a court order letting them smoke, grow or obtain marijuana without fear of arrest, home raids or other intrusion by federal authorities.

Raich, an Oakland woman suffering from ailments including scoliosis, a brain tumor, chronic nausea, fatigue and pain, smokes marijuana every few hours. She said she was partly paralyzed until she started smoking pot. Monson, an accountant who lives near Oroville, Calif., has degenerative spine disease and grows her own marijuana plants in her backyard.

In the court's main decision, Stevens raised concerns about abuse of marijuana laws. "Our cases have taught us that there are some unscrupulous physicians who overprescribe when it is sufficiently profitable to do so," he said.

The case is Gonzales v. Raich, 03-1454.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 9,061 • Replies: 175
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Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 11:09 am
You need a 'marijuana should be legal, period' option on the poll.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 11:10 am
It's there.
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 11:10 am
Duplicate post - sorry
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 11:10 am
Shoot, it didn't take and now it won't let me add another poll option. HELP!!!!
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 11:15 am
My vote would be "The use of drugs, including marijuana, for any purpose whatsoever, including medical use should be regulated by the individual states, as long as the drugs don't cross state borders." So I chose option 3, which came closest to that.
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 11:15 am
It is? I see:

Quote:
By federal law, marijuana for medical use should be legal in all 50 states.

By federal law, marijuana for medical use should be illegal in all 50 states.

Marijuana for medical use should be decided by the individual states.

Marijuana should be illegal, period.


There is an option for legality for medical purposes. My request was for an option for legality for any purpose, which isn't an option on your list; though illegality for any purpose is.

This arbitrary restriction of a plant is ridiculous, and those of us who enjoy it should not be penalized for doing so for any reason regardless of the health benefits or detractions.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 11:16 am
Ah, I see.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 11:19 am
Well I can see I need to add more options if the moderators could allow the additions Smile
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 11:24 am
Never mind foxfyre -- the purpose of the poll is to get us arguing with each other, and your options should do the job nicely. Smile
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 11:31 am
LOL okay. But they really should let us edit our options Smile
0 Replies
 
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 11:32 am
you forgot to put marijuana should be legal period in your poll.
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 11:43 am
And you apparently didn't read the thread before posting Blue
0 Replies
 
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 11:51 am
Foxfyre wrote:
And you apparently didn't read the thread before posting Blue


just making an observation. not picking a fight
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 12:09 pm
lol

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 12:46 pm
Darn, and I was looking for a fight too. Smile
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 12:51 pm
It's been a little slow in the other argument threads lately, eh?

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
woiyo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 01:38 pm
I disagree with the conclusion but do not entirely fault the Court. Congress needs to change that law . It is amazing that Congress can do things "quickly" (see Terry Schiavo) yet ignore most everything else.

Since we have little to argue, I find this quote interesting...
""Our national medical system relies on proven scientific research, not popular opinion. To date, science and research have not determined that smoking marijuana is safe or effective," John Walters, director of National Drug Control Policy, said Monday. "

Yet, this "putz" will ignore testimony from patients who at the least, are no worse off, when they smoke 'grass. Did they leave interviewing patients out of their research???
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 01:40 pm
Part of the reason for this is the difficulty in acquiring marijuana for legitimate research; a chilling effect right at the get-go to many potential studies.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 01:45 pm
I thought musicians love using pot!
0 Replies
 
 

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