View Full Version : Supreme Court says no to medical marijuana

06-06-2005, 12:54 PM
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/scotus_medical_marijuana;_ylt=AkxTlkVcL_k2yShUI_hh GKcDW7oF;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCUl

By GINA HOLLAND, Associated Press Writer 39 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - 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.

06-06-2005, 01:07 PM
Stuff like this is unreal, I dont see why people fear weed so much.

Chip R
06-06-2005, 01:18 PM
Bummer, man.

Michael Allred
06-06-2005, 04:00 PM
Yet another victory for the drug companies.

06-06-2005, 04:06 PM
Stuff like this is unreal, I dont see why people fear weed so much.

Rest easy, people can still destroy their livers and brains with alcohol. The fact that marijuana is illegal just blows my mind.

06-06-2005, 04:07 PM
Stuff like this is unreal, I dont see why people fear weed so much.

Because it makes a bad Gin and Tonic I guess.

Ban Drugs from Canada, ban medicinal herbs and allow drug company advertising on TV.

This bus is being driven by big corportations.

Really quite sad.

06-06-2005, 04:18 PM
What ever happened to state's rights?

I never thought I'd sound so Republican, but seriously.

06-06-2005, 05:02 PM
I don't see how anyone could support this unless it is because of there ondying blind faith in George Bush and their trust that what is good for GM is good for America.

I never thought I'd sound so Democrat, but seriously. :D

06-06-2005, 05:07 PM
Wow - Thomas dissented but Scalia agreed with the majority. :eek:

The apocalypse must be near!

06-06-2005, 05:10 PM
What ever happened to state's rights?

I never thought I'd sound so Republican, but seriously.
but republicans don't seem to be pro state's rights anymore anyway :)

The Baumer
06-06-2005, 05:49 PM
Does doing crack take pain away?

Falls City Beer
06-06-2005, 06:09 PM
Does doing crack take pain away?

Let's hope so.

But they'd have to make it non-addictive and essentially non-lethal, like that marijuana stuff.

06-06-2005, 06:22 PM
but republicans don't seem to be pro state's rights anymore anyway :)

This isn't the party of Lincoln anymore.

Falls City Beer
06-06-2005, 07:12 PM
I wonder if Rush Limbaugh wants medical marijuana? :devil:

Or will he just take it from his housemaid? The side effects of oxycontin, after all, are WAY worse and more dangerous than marijuana. And it's 100% legal. Just ask Rush.

06-06-2005, 07:26 PM
Note to self: cancel doctors appointment

06-06-2005, 08:56 PM

The Associated Press
Monday, June 6, 2005; 7:42 PM

SAN FRANCISCO -- Oregon stopped issuing medical marijuana cards after Monday's Supreme Court ruling, but people could apparently still get pot with a doctor's prescription there and in nine other states. And nobody in law enforcement appeared eager to make headlines arresting ailing patients.

"People shouldn't panic. There aren't going to be many changes," California Attorney General Bill Lockyer said. "Nothing is different today than it was two days ago, in terms of real-world impact."

The high court ruled 6-3 that people who smoke marijuana because their doctors recommend it to ease pain can be prosecuted for violating federal drug laws.

The ruling does not strike down medical marijuana laws in California, Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont or Washington state. State and local authorities in most of those states said they have no interest in arresting people who smoke pot for medical reasons.

It remains to be seen whether the federal Drug Enforcement Administration is planning a crackdown. The Justice Department was not commenting.

In Oregon, state officials said they would temporarily stop issuing medical marijuana cards to sick people.

"We want to proceed cautiously until we understand the ramifications of this ruling," said Grant Higginson, a public health officer who oversees Oregon's medical marijuana program.

Medical marijuana dispensaries have proliferated despite a 2001 Supreme Court ruling that rejected the "medical necessity" defense in marijuana cases.

Paul Armentano of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws said arrests of ailing patients have been rare, but the government has arrested more than 60 people in medical marijuana raids since September 2001.

Most of those arrests have been in California _ the first state to allow medical marijuana, in 1996. On Monday, Gov. Arnold Schwarznegger, who has previously supported use of pot by sick people, said only: "It is now up to Congress to provide clarity."

Still, the ruling makes Valerie Corral nervous. Corral operates a 150-plant pot farm in Santa Cruz County, providing marijuana for free to about 165 seriously ill members. Her farm was raided by the DEA in 2002. The high court's decision "leaves us protecting ourselves from a government that should be protecting us," she said.

It was "business as usual" at the San Francisco health department, spokeswoman Eileen Shields said. The county issues medical marijuana identification cards, valid for two years, to residents with a doctor's prescription. Currently, 8,200 residents have the cards.

In Colorado, where 668 people hold certificates that let them use and grow marijuana for pain relief under a constitutional amendment voters approved in 2000, federal prosecutors will continue to focus on large drug rings, but if investigators come across marijuana in the possession of certified state users, they will seize it _ just as they have always done, said Jeff Dorschner, a U.S. Attorney's spokesman.

In Montana, the 119 residents who paid $200 to get on the state's confidential registry won't face state prosecution, said state Attorney General Mike McGrath. He said the state is not obligated to help federal authorities prosecute people following state law.

In Nevada, medicinal pot users are already warned that the state law offers no protections from federal prosecution, Attorney General Brian Sandoval said.

2005 The Associated Press

06-06-2005, 11:55 PM
What ever happened to state's rights?

I never thought I'd sound so Republican, but seriously.

States rights only comes out when the other guys are in control of the Federal government ;)

06-07-2005, 12:26 AM
States rights only comes out when the other guys are in control of the Federal government ;)

Nah, I'm just for states rights when it comes to laws that have to do with "morals" like drug laws, pornography, etc. I don't really appreciate the federal government legislating morality, but then again that's a big part of why I'm a Democrat.