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Registered: 07/25/04
Posts: 17,561
Supreme Court Outlaws Medical Marijuana
    #4263053 - 06/06/05 10:12 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Supreme Court Outlaws Medical Marijuana
Court OKs Medical Pot Prosecutions
June 6, 2005 - CNN

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. Supreme Court Monday ruled doctors can be blocked from prescribing marijuana for patients suffering from pain caused by cancer or other serious illnesses.

In a 6-3 vote, the justices ruled the Bush administration can block the backyard cultivation of pot for personal use, because such use has broader social and financial implications.

"Congress' power to regulate purely activities that are part of an economic 'class of activities' that have a substantial effect on interstate commerce is firmly established," wrote Justice John Paul Stevens for the majority.

Justices O'Connor, Rehnquist and Thomas dissented. The case took an unusually long time to be resolved, with oral arguments held in November.

The decision means that federal anti-drug laws trump state laws that allow the use of medical marijuana, said CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin. Ten states have such laws.

"If medical marijuana advocates want to get their views successfully presented, they have to go to Congress; they can't go to the states, because it's really the federal government that's in charge here," Toobin said.

At issue was the power of federal government to override state laws on use of "patient pot."

The Controlled Substances Act prevents the cultivation and possession of marijuana, even by people who claim personal "medicinal" use. The government argues its overall anti-drug campaign would be undermined by even limited patient exceptions.

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) began raids in 2001 against patients using the drug and their caregivers in California, one of 11 states that legalized the use of marijuana for patients under a doctor's care. Among those arrested was Angel Raich, who has brain cancer, and Diane Monson, who grew cannabis in her garden to help alleviate chronic back pain.

A federal appeals court concluded use of medical marijuana was non-commercial, and therefore not subject to congressional oversight of "economic enterprise."

But lawyers for the U.S. Justice Department argued to the Supreme Court that homegrown marijuana represented interstate commerce, because the garden patch weed would affect "overall production" of the weed, much of it imported across American borders by well-financed, often violent drug gangs.

Lawyers for the patient countered with the claim that the marijuana was neither bought nor sold. After California's referendum passed in 1996, "cannabis clubs" sprung up across the state to provide marijuana to patients. They were eventually shut down by the state's attorney general.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2001 that anyone distributing medical marijuana could be prosecuted, despite claims their activity was a "medical activity."

The current case considered by the justices dealt with the broader issue of whether marijuana users could be subject to prosecution.

Along with California, nine states have passed laws permitting marijuana use by patients with a doctor's approval: Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. Arizona also has a similar law, but no formal program in place to administer prescription pot.

California's Compassionate Use Act permits patients with a doctor's approval to grow, smoke or acquire the drug for "medical needs."

Users include television host Montel Williams, who uses it to ease pain from multiple sclerosis.

Anti-drug activists say Monday's ruling could encourage abuse of drugs deemed by the government to be narcotics.

"It's a handful of people who want to see not just marijuana, but all drugs legalized," said Calvina Fay of the Drug Free America Foundation.

In its hard-line stance in opposition to medical marijuana, the federal government invoked a larger issue. "The trafficking of drugs finances the work of terror, sustaining terrorists," said President Bush in December 2001. Tough enforcement, the government told the justices, "is central to combating illegal drug possession."

Marijuana users, in their defense, argued, "Since September 11, 2001, Defendants [DEA] have terrorized more than 35 Californians because of medical cannabis." In that state, the issue has become a hot political issue this election year.

The case is Gonzales v. Raich, case no. 03-1454.

Edited by veggie (06/06/05 07:55 PM)

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Registered: 07/25/04
Posts: 17,561
Re: Supreme Court Outlaws Use Of Marijuana For Medical Reasons [Re: veggie]
    #4263272 - 06/06/05 11:31 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Californians appear ready to defy marijuana ruling
June 6, 2005 - Modesto Bee

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - One of the lead plaintiffs in the medical marijuana case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday says she'll defy the ruling and continue to smoke pot, a move likely to be followed by many Californians.

"I'm going to have to be prepared to be arrested," said Diane Monson, who smokes marijuana several times a day to relieve back pain.

The Supreme Court ruled that federal authorities may arrest and prosecute sick people whose doctors prescribe marijuana to ease pain, concluding that state laws don't protect users from a federal ban on the drug.

The Bush administration had argued that states, even the 10 states with popular medical marijuana laws, could not defy the federal Controlled Substances Act, which declares marijuana to be not only illegal, but of no medical value.

Monson, 48, of Oroville, was prescribed marijuana by her doctor in 1997, after standard prescription drugs made her sleepy or were simply not effective.

"I'm way disappointed. There are so many people that need cannabis," Monson said.

Fifty-six percent of California voters approved the nation's first so-called medical marijuana law in 1996, allowing patients to smoke and grow marijuana with a doctor's recommendation.

In 2001, the Supreme Court ruled against pot clubs that distributed medical marijuana, saying they cannot do so based on the "medical necessity" of the patient. The ruling forced the Oakland supplier of Angel Raich, the other plaintiff, to close.

Many other cannabis clubs still operate openly in California and other states, but have taken measures - such as not keeping client lists - to protect their customers from arrest.

The Drug Enforcement Administration, often working over the objections of local law enforcement, has periodically raided medical marijuana operations and their clients' pot supplies.

Raich and Monson sued Attorney General John Ashcroft because they feared their supplies of medical marijuana might dry up.

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Registered: 07/25/04
Posts: 17,561
Re: Supreme Court Outlaws Use Of Marijuana For Medical Reasons [Re: veggie]
    #4263455 - 06/06/05 12:33 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Join Angel Raich for a Live Web Chat on the Decision
June 6, 2005 - Drug Policy Alliance

Angel Raich, who suffers from an inoperable brain tumor and several other illnesses, uses medical marijuana to help ease her pain. Last November, she took her case against Attorney General Ashcroft, which would allow patients to cultivate and use medical marijuana upon the recommendation of a doctor, to the Supreme Court. Angel Raich and her husband, Robert Raich will be online to discuss the recent Supreme Court ruling on Raich vs. Ashcroft with Executive Director of the Alliance, Ethan Nadelmann.

When: Wednesday, June 8, 2005 at
Where: Online at Drugpolicy.org

Submit questions to questions@drugpolicy.org before June 8, 2005

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Not an EggshellWalker
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Re: Supreme Court Outlaws Use Of Marijuana For Medical Reasons [Re: veggie]
    #4263548 - 06/06/05 12:55 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)


I hope that when they appeal to Congress, Congress realizes the overwhelming support for medical marijuana in this country. It's practically 90% of people supporting it in many polls.

This is ridiculous, though I did expect it.

So long as you are praised think only that you are not yet on your own path but on that of another.

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Space Monkey
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Re: Supreme Court Outlaws Use Of Marijuana For Medical Reasons [Re: Ravus]
    #4263965 - 06/06/05 02:14 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Another slap in the face for states rights. I saw some dumb fucking bitch on MSNBC representing the Partnership for a Drug Free America and god damn that bitch was hard headed. Where do they get these brainwashed Zombies from? Even Ron Reagen Jr. showed her what a dumb cunt she really was. She wouldn't even answer his questions. Her propaganda is just as bad and the pro-drug propaganda.


Total abstinence is so excellent a thing that it cannot be carried to too great an extent. In my passion for it I even carry it so far as to totally abstain from total abstinence itself.
  -Mark Twain

"The time has come the walrus said, little oysters  hide their heads, my Twain of thought is loosely bound I guess its time to Mark this down, Be good and you will be lonesome
Be lonesome and you will be free
Live a lie and you will live to regret it
That's what livin' is to me
That's what livin' is to me"
Jimmy Buffett

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Human Being

Registered: 10/03/04
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Re: Supreme Court Outlaws Use Of Marijuana For Medical Reasons [Re: veggie]
    #4264570 - 06/06/05 05:05 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

This is a sad day. I hope that if it's taken to Congress, they will not be as short-sighted as the Supreme Court. Although, that's a pretty big hope.

I doubt this ruling will be changed for a while.


"What is in us that turns a deaf ear to the cries of human suffering?"

"Belief is a beautiful armor
But makes for the heaviest sword"
- John Mayer

Making the noise "penicillin" is no substitute for actually taking penicillin.

"This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it." -Abraham Lincoln

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Human Being

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Re: Supreme Court Outlaws Use Of Marijuana For Medical Reasons [Re: dblaney]
    #4264679 - 06/06/05 05:39 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Group: Legalized Marijuana Is Long Shot

WASHINGTON - Federal legislation to allow physicians to prescribe marijuana legally is a long shot, supporters said Monday, though they contended that many lawmakers back it privately.

"I think support is strong, but people are still frightened a little bit by the politics of it," said Rep. Ron Paul (news, bio, voting record), R-Texas. "If you had a secret vote in Congress, I'll bet 80 percent would vote for it."

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that California's state law doesn't protect people who use marijuana under a doctor's approval, the focus shifts to whether Congress will step in.

Don't bet on it, said Rep. Mark Souder (news, bio, voting record), R-Ind., chairman of the House drug policy subcommittee.

"Denying the federal government the power to set and enforce uniform standards would simply open up an alternative route for illegal drug trafficking and abuse," Souder said.

Rep. Barney Frank (news, bio, voting record), D-Mass., first sponsored the States Rights to Medical Marijuana Act in 1995. This year's version has just 30 co-sponsors, relatively few for a bill that is 10 years old.

Frank said many lawmakers don't mind letting the courts have the final say on this particularly thorny issue.

"They wish the courts would make the tough decision, and then they yell at the courts when they do," he said.

Frank said he didn't have high hopes that his bill would pass this year, either, but he said the court's ruling might help its prospects.

"They're not saying it's unconstitutional to pass a bill," he said. "What they're saying is that it's a congressional decision."

Nine states have laws similar to California's exempting from state criminal penalties those patients who use marijuana for medicinal purposes under a physician's supervision. Rep. Sam Farr (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif., put a positive spin on what he said was a disappointing ruling.

"It gives it a national focus now," Farr said. "People in the states who have worked so hard to get their laws adopted will now focus their attention on Congress."

Frank's bill says that no provision of the Controlled Substances Act shall prohibit a physician from prescribing marijuana for medical use. Nor may it prohibit an individual from obtaining and using marijuana as prescribed. Also, the bill would allow pharmacies to obtain and hold marijuana in those states in which medical marijuana use is allowed.

The great majority of the co-sponsors of the States' Rights to Medical Marijuana Act are Democrats.

Paul, a physician who describes himself and his congressional district as conservative, is an exception. He said he approaches the issue from the perspective that the federal government should not be telling state and local governments what's best for them.

"The whole notion that the Supreme Court is going to allow the prosecution of people who raise a weed in their gardens that may be helpful to them is astounding," Paul said. "It's not very humanitarian as far as I'm concerned."

Souder disagreed, saying federal drug laws were designed to ensure uniform, scientifically based national health and safety standards for drugs and medicine.

"We cannot allow the state initiative process to undermine those standards on the basis of political, not scientific, arguments," he said.

Souder said the ruling would probably not change many minds in Congress when it comes to medical marijuana. However, he did see the potential for far-ranging impact in other areas. For example, he believes the ruling puts state and local governments on notice that they cannot defy federal law by facilitating the reimportation of prescription drugs from countries such as Canada.


"What is in us that turns a deaf ear to the cries of human suffering?"

"Belief is a beautiful armor
But makes for the heaviest sword"
- John Mayer

Making the noise "penicillin" is no substitute for actually taking penicillin.

"This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it." -Abraham Lincoln

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Registered: 07/25/04
Posts: 17,561
Re: Supreme Court Outlaws Use Of Marijuana For Medical Reasons [Re: veggie]
    #4264721 - 06/06/05 05:53 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Calif. AG: Don't panic over medical marijuana ruling
June 6, 2005 - kfor.com

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (AP)- Despite today's Supreme Court ruling, people apparently can still get medical marijuana with a doctor's prescription in ten states. And nobody in law enforcement appears eager to make headlines by arresting ailing patients.

California Attorney General Bill Lockyer says that "people shouldn't panic."

The nation's highest court ruled 6-to-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. In many places over the past years, local authorities have shown 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 isn't commenting.

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Registered: 07/25/04
Posts: 17,561
Re: Supreme Court Outlaws Use Of Marijuana For Medical Reasons [Re: veggie]
    #4267190 - 06/07/05 09:46 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Pot Clubs, Patients Vow Business As Usual
Pot Clubs and Patients Vow 'Business As Usual' Despite High Court's Medical Marijuana Ruling

June 7, 2005 - ABC News

A steady stream of customers filed into the Love Shack, where anybody with a city-issued cannabis card could buy $5 pot brownies or spend up to 20 minutes inhaling premium marijuana that sells for $320 an ounce.

It was business as usual at the medical marijuana club one of dozens in San Francisco even after the Supreme Court ruled Monday that people who smoke pot for medicinal purposes can be prosecuted for violating federal drug laws.

Crime fighters in California and other states with medical marijuana laws insisted they were not about to start looking for reasons to shut down the dispensaries. But Dwion Gates, who was sitting next to a pair of bongs, said he's "a little bit shaken."

"I'm hoping that San Francisco will continue to be the compassionate place it has been in allowing places like this to exist legally," said Gates, 48, who smokes pot regularly to treat the pain from a bullet lodged in his back since 1983.

The ruling does not strike down medical marijuana laws in California, Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont or Washington state. And state and local authorities in most of those states said they have no interest in arresting people who smoke pot because their doctors recommend it to ease pain. (Arizona also has a law on the books allowing medical marijuana, but no active program.)

Oregon, where more than 10,000 residents hold medical marijuana cards, stopped issuing new cards on Monday, but elsewhere officials assured the public the situation was status quo.

"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."

It remains to be seen whether the Drug Enforcement Administration will crack down on medical marijuana users. The Justice Department didn't comment Monday.

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 Schwarzenegger, who has previously supported use of pot by sick people, said only: "It is now up to Congress to provide clarity."

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.

While the Supreme Court justices expressed sympathy for two seriously ill California women who brought the case, the majority agreed that federal agents may arrest even sick people who use the drug as well as the people who grow pot for them.

Dana May, of Aurora, Colo., said he will probably stop smoking pot because of the ruling, even though marijuana eases the debilitating pain of a nerve disease. "It'll change my entire world," he said. "I'm afraid they'll come after me."

Other patients said they were determined to continue smoking.

"I don't care whether it's legal or illegal," said cancer patient Christopher Campbell, 58, of Portland, Ore. Campbell suffers from lymphoma and has had his spleen removed, along with portions of his pancreas and stomach.

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

Associated Press writers Alicia Chang in Los Angeles, Kim Curtis in San Francisco and William McCall in Portland, Ore., contributed to this story.

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Registered: 07/25/04
Posts: 17,561
Re: Supreme Court Outlaws Use Of Marijuana For Medical Reasons [Re: veggie]
    #4268149 - 06/07/05 01:56 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Medical Experts Disagree on Marijuana Ruling
Debate hinges on whether data backs use of cannabis for pain relief.

June 7, 2005 - Health Central

(HealthDay News) -- Before becoming the medical consultant to the Hospice Foundation of America, Dr. William M. Lamers worked for three decades with terminally ill cancer patients, helping to ease their pain.

When asked for his opinion on Monday's 6-3 U.S. Supreme Court decision supporting a nationwide ban on medicinal marijuana, he didn't mince words.

"I think it's a tragedy that a drug that's apparently safe and is effective as an analgesic, a real pain reliever, isn't available to patients who need it," he said from his home in Malibu, Calif. "The law is totally out of touch with reality -- it's inappropriate, and the result of an uniformed bureaucracy."

Lamers stressed that he and all responsible doctors "have to respect the law. It's just too bad it turned out this way," he said.

Monday's decision in Gonzales vs. Raich means federal laws banning the use of medicinal marijuana now supersede any state legislation allowing the plant or its derivatives to be used for pain relief when recommended by a physician. Ten states had passed such legislation: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. Arizona also enacted similar legislation, but with no formal program to administer pot by prescription.

But supporters of medical marijuana noted the state laws remain in effect, so it's unlikely state officials would prosecute patients who use the drug. And the likelihood of federal enforcement is fairly remote. Allen Hopper, a lawyer with the Drug Law Reform Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the federal government handles only about 1 percent of marijuana prosecutions, the Associated Press reported.

Another expert in dealing with terminally ill patients offered up a somewhat more cautious response to the court ruling.

Dr. Perry G. Fine is vice president for medical affairs at the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization, the nation's largest and oldest hospice organization. Referring to Monday's decision, he said, "This is just such a complicated issue; it has tremendous political overtones and public health overtones."

But Fine, who is also a professor of anesthesiology at the University of Utah's Pain Research Center in Salt Lake City, agreed with Lamers that available research seems to support marijuana's effectiveness as a pain reliever.

"From a purely medical standpoint, there seems to be ample evidence for efficacy in a variety of symptoms that plague patients or cause distress for patients with a variety of chronic, progressive illnesses," he said. "Also, there's increasing scientific evidence that leads us to understand why the active ingredients -- various cannabinoids -- do have therapeutic value."

That statement is at odds with the view of John Walters, director of National Drug Control Policy at the White House. He told the Associated Press Monday that, "to date, science and research have not determined that smoking marijuana is safe or effective."

Some of the nation's largest medical groups agree with Walters, stressing that more data is needed before cannabinoids can be approved as treatment.

In its official policy paper, the American Medical Association (AMA) calls for "further adequate and well-controlled studies of marijuana and related cannabinoids" for conditions where anecdotal evidence suggests the drug might prove useful, such as cancer patients. The AMA also urges the National Institutes of Health to fund research into "a smoke-free inhaled delivery system" for marijuana or its active ingredient, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Patients with the progressive and debilitating nerve disorder multiple sclerosis (MS) are among the most frequently cited users of medical marijuana. Television host Montel Williams has been an outspoken advocate for its use, claiming it helps ease his MS-related pain.

However, in a statement released Monday, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society agreed with the AMA that "we still do not have the necessary scientific information to determine the safety and efficacy of marijuana for medical use in MS."

It points to numerous studies where physicians were unable to find the drug effective in reducing symptoms they could measure, such as spasticity. On the other hand, data on a synthetic THC and an oral derivative of marijuana, cannabis oil, "did confirm that people using marijuana feel better in ways that cannot be measured by their physicians," such as their own perception of pain, according to a society statement.

The bottom line? "More research is needed to determine the potential role of cannabinoids in MS treatment," the society concludes.

Monday's high court decision stems from the 2001 arrest of two California residents -- Angel Raich, who suffers from brain cancer; and Diane Monson, who grew marijuana in her garden to combat chronic back pain. At the time, their use of home-grown marijuana was legal under the state's Compassionate Use Act. Both women were arrested, however, during raids conducted by officers from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, sent to enforce the federal ban.

Lawyers for the two women contended that state law protected them from federal prosecution, but Monday's ruling effectively gives the thumbs-down to that argument. Writing for the majority, Justice John Paul Stevens specified that Congress could change federal law to allow medical marijuana use, should it ever choose to do so. In her dissent, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote that states should be able to set their own rules on this issue.

Next week, the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on an appropriations bill that would prohibit the Justice Department from spending money to enforce federal drug laws against patients using medical marijuana. While a similar amendment failed last year, 19 Republicans voted for it. The bill was not brought to a vote in the Senate, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

John Radulovic, a spokesman for the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, stressed that the vast majority of patients in serious chronic pain do have analgesic alternatives besides marijuana and its derivatives.

"I think most hospice and palliative care physicians are very experienced, so I've heard that in about 95 percent of cases professionals trained in pain management can bring pain under control with legal means," he said. He added that his organization "doesn't support illegal drug use. We do, however, recognize the right a patient has for self-determination. We certainly wouldn't deny care to a patient based on any [treatment] choice they would make."

For Lamers, the Court's decision remains disheartening. "The law must be changed," he said. "I can't support breaking the law and I can't advise others to do it. All I can say is that as a doctor who does an awful lot of work with patients in pain, marijuana is a very effective, safe and relatively inexpensive pain reliever."

More information
For more on controlling pain, visit the American Pain Foundation (www.painfoundation. org).

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Registered: 02/15/05
Posts: 1,296
Re: Supreme Court Outlaws Use Of Marijuana For Medical Reasons [Re: veggie]
    #4268852 - 06/07/05 05:11 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

madness.  :frown: :confused:

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Dead Man
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Re: Supreme Court Outlaws Use Of Marijuana For Medical Reasons [Re: moog]
    #4268998 - 06/07/05 05:53 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Way to fuck with peoples minds.. I guess they're good at that

its legal go do it, I hope your brain cancer feels better for it.. muahaha you fell for it.. now you're fucked druggy


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Re: Supreme Court Outlaws Use Of Marijuana For Medical Reasons [Re: faslimy]
    #4269147 - 06/07/05 06:29 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

No logic while Bush is in office. 3 1/2 years to go.

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fuck this site
Registered: 05/13/04
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Re: Supreme Court Outlaws Use Of Marijuana For Medical Reasons [Re: Circlesongs]
    #4269464 - 06/07/05 08:12 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

I just got back from a protest in Santa Cruz California, I was standing in the middle of the road with an R.I.P sign with someones picture on it who died and was a WAMM member. I also handed out tons of fliers to passing cars about the supreme courts ruling. This is seriously a fucked up issue.

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The Duk Abides

Registered: 05/16/03
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Re: Supreme Court Outlaws Use Of Marijuana For Medical Reasons [Re: Circlesongs]
    #4269816 - 06/07/05 09:35 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)


Superfreek said:
No logic while Bush is in office. 3 1/2 years to go.

God. Don't remind me....  :frown:

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Registered: 07/25/04
Posts: 17,561
Re: Supreme Court Outlaws Medical Marijuana [Re: veggie]
    #4270563 - 06/08/05 02:19 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

U.S. must turn to Congress after ruling
June 08,2005 - The Monitor

The first thing to keep in mind when considering the U.S. Supreme Court's 6-3 ruling that federal law still prohibits any possession of marijuana, even for medical purposes, is that the decision does not invalidate state laws allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes with a physician's recommendation.

The second point is that even the court's majority decision conceded a great deal to proponents of legitimizing the medical use of marijuana. Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for the majority, rather explicitly challenged reform advocates to work on Congress if they want the law changed.

The facts in the case are simple. Angel Raich and Diane Monson, two women with serious illnesses who use cannabis under medical supervision, as is legal under California law, either grow their own cannabis or have friends grow it and give it to them. No money changes hands. This all occurs within the borders of the state of California.

The U.S. Constitution allows for - even encourages - some creative friction between how state governments and the national government approach certain issues. A system that gives the central government certain limited enumerated powers and reserves other powers to the states and to individuals permits states to function as "laboratories of democracy," trying different approaches to see how they work.

A high court genuinely devoted to federalist principles and limited government should easily have come to a different conclusion than it did Monday. Four of the six majority justices in the Raich case apparently believed that allowing Angel Raich and Diane Monson to use cannabis under a doctor's supervision would undercut congressional authority.

The three justices who dissented - Sandra Day O'Connor, William Rehnquist and Clarence Thomas - are generally viewed as part of the court's conservative or moderate wing.

The decision leaves the complex laws surrounding medical marijuana where they were before. Laws in 10 states allow people with a doctor's recommendation to use marijuana medicinally. State, county and local officials are sworn to uphold state law.

Federal law is different. The decision reaffirms the fact that federal authorities have the power under federal law to go after medical marijuana patients and perhaps caregivers who supply cannabis - but not doctors who write recommendations. The open question now is how aggressively they will use that power.

Congress is likely to take up the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment, which would deny the Department of Justice funds to surveill, arrest or prosecute medical marijuana patients in states that have passed medical marijuana laws. That might not be precisely the congressional remedy Justice Stevens had in mind, but it would be a good start.

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Registered: 07/25/04
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Re: Supreme Court Outlaws Medical Marijuana [Re: veggie]
    #4283665 - 06/11/05 02:11 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

If you missed the interesting interview with Angel Raich discussing the recent Supreme Court ruling, the Drug Policy Alliance has made it available through Real Audio or you can download the mp3 file.

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Registered: 07/25/04
Posts: 17,561
Re: Supreme Court Outlaws Medical Marijuana [Re: veggie]
    #4301123 - 06/15/05 07:57 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Medical Marijuana Ruling Stands
June 15, 2005 - MSNBC

Effort to stop federal prosecution for prescription use falls short

WASHINGTON - Yes, the government can make a federal case out of medical marijuana use, the House said Wednesday.

Less than a week ago, the Supreme Court ruled that the government can prosecute medical marijuana users, even when state laws permit doctor-prescribed use of the drug. In response, the House rejected a bid by advocates to undercut the decision.

By a 264-161 vote, the House turned down an amendment that would have blocked the Justice Department from prosecuting people in the 10 states where the practice is legal.

Advocates say it is the only way that many chronically ill people, such as AIDS and cancer patients, can relieve their symptoms.

"It is unconscionable that we in Congress could possibly presume to tell a patient that he or she cannot use the only medication that has proven to combat the pain and symptoms associated with a devastating illness," said Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., who sponsored the amendment.

Opponents said the amendment would undercut efforts to combat marijuana abuse. They said Marinol, a government-approved prescription drug that contains the active ingredient in marijuana, offers comparable relief.

"Marijuana has never been proven as safe and effective for any disease," said Rep. Mark Souder, R-Ind. "Marijuana can increase the risk of serious mental health problems, and in teens, marijuana use can lead to depression, thoughts of suicide, and schizophrenia."

Oregon Democratic Reps. Peter DeFazio and Earl Blumenauer supported the amendment. Oregon is one of 10 states that permit doctors to prescribe medical marijuana.

This is about states' rights
"This provision is not about legalizing marijuana, or preventing law enforcement from carrying out their mission. This is about states' rights, plain and simple," DeFazio said.

Far from condoning drug abuse, the amendment was "about helping people who are suffering from debilitating pain," added Blumenauer. "Imposing harsh sentences for those who are legitimately trying to control their own pain makes no sense at all."

The vote came as the House debated a $57.5 billion bill covering the departments of Commerce, Justice and State.

Proponents of medical marijuana had hoped to gain momentum following the high court's ruling. A poll commissioned by the Marijuana Policy Project found that respondents, by a 68-18 percent margin, believe that medical marijuana users should not face federal prosecution.

The poll, conducted June 8-11 by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, also found that 65 percent of those surveyed favored doctor-prescribed medical marijuana, with 20 percent opposed.

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Re: Supreme Court Outlaws Medical Marijuana [Re: veggie]
    #4308263 - 06/17/05 04:41 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Oregon resumes medical marijuana cards
June 17, 2005 - katu.com

SALEM, OR (AP) - Oregon resumed issuing medical marijuana cards Friday, after a review by Attorney General Hardy Myers.

Myers concluded that a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on June 13 does not invalidate the state's program.

The nation's top court held that federal authorities can prosecute marijuana possession under federal drug laws, even in states like Oregon, where medical use of the drug is legal.

The Human Services Department had continued processing applications - but discontinued issuing registration cards - after the Supreme Court's decision.

"Starting today, we will mail 100 to 150 cards per day until the 547 applications that the program approved since June 13 have been mailed," Grant Higginson, administrator of the DHS Office of Community Health and Health Planning, said Friday. "We are resuming standard operations in the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program."

Higginson said, however, that Myers' opinion also says the state law can't protect marijuana plants from seizure nor individuals from prosecution if the federal government chooses to take action against patients or caregivers.

The state will alert applicants and card holders that, although the state law protects them from state prosecution, it does not protect them from federal prosecution under the federal Controlled Substances Act.

More than 10,000 qualified patients now have registration cards through the state program, one of 11 in the nation.

Patients qualify for the program if a state-licensed physician stipulates that they suffer from one of nine conditions such as cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, severe pain, or persistent muscle spasms, and that the patient may benefit from the use of marijuana.

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Re: Supreme Court Outlaws Medical Marijuana [Re: veggie]
    #4312896 - 06/19/05 01:46 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Despite an unfavorable Supreme Court ruling, the co-founders of a Colorado medical marijuana club are standing by their rights - and their patients.

June 19, 2005 - boulderweekly.com

Thomas and Larisa Lawrence have overcome many unforeseen obstacles since starting the Colorado Compassion Club, an organization that provides information and medical marijuana to licensed patients. They've faced a drug raid by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), a scary visit from a recreational pot-smoking stranger and a drive-by shooting.

Despite these past trials, the largest challenge for Thomas and Larisa may be just ahead. On June 6, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6 to 3 on Raich vs. Ashcroft, which affirmed the federal government's ability to prosecute medical marijuana users, even if they live in a state like Colorado where medical marijuana use is legal. While the DEA says it won't actively pursue smokers of medical marijuana, the decision opened the door for federal prosecution of medical marijuana use, which raises questions for members of the Colorado Compassion Club and for the Lawrences—who have unfinished business with the DEA.

Since last Monday's ruling, the phone in Thomas and Larisa's Denver dwelling has been ringing off the hook with calls from members and non-members alike. While some callers were confused about what exactly the ruling meant, many more were concerned about Thomas and Larisa disappearing as a result of it.

"People just needed to hear that we're not really going away, that we're not hiding," says Larisa. "Everybody just wants us to continue."

Club members who have contacted Thomas and Larisa have had varied responses to the ruling. Some of the Lawrence's patients were discouraged by it and have chosen to discontinue using marijuana for medicinal purposes. As demonstrated by their most recent weekly Wednesday meeting, which an estimated 100 people attended, a somewhat larger contingent plans to continue using the drug but needed a bit of affirmation from Thomas and Larisa.

The two aren't afraid to go to bat to preserve their pot. In January, Thomas was stopped by a Denver police officer who was more than skeptical that his marijuana was for medicinal purposes and confiscated an ounce of his "medicine" and two pipes. After a failed attempt to regain his belongings with a court property disposition, Thomas successfully repossessed his drugs this March, making him the first to do so with the Denver cops.

But while the Lawrences have successfully fought and won one court battle, there may be a more difficult one looming on the horizon. Last year on June 1, the DEA raided Thomas and Larisa's house. In addition to taking between $5,000 and $10,000 worth of equipment and lighting, the DEA confiscated 12 ounces of loose marijuana and all 84 of the Lawrence's marijuana plants, which are estimated at $1,000 a piece. Colorado law allows licensed marijuana patients to possess no more than six marijuana plants and two ounces of usable marijuana.

Even though they exceeded the state legal limits, Thomas and Larisa filed a petition with the DEA, attempting to get their equipment returned. They have not yet received a response.

"We've done all of the requests that we can to get our equipment back, and they haven't responded to our last request," says Thomas. "We're stuck in limbo until they respond to that."

When reached for comment regarding the Lawrences' case, Jeff Dorschner, spokesperson for the U.S. attorney's office in Denver, said there is currently no deadline for returning the Lawrences' belongings.

"I can simply cite that there is an ongoing investigation as the reason for it not being returned," he said.

And that's not the only thing that's up in the air. According to Thomas and Larisa, the federal government has seven years to decide whether they will press charges against them for the items confiscated by the DEA. Under the best-case scenario, Thomas and Larisa could get their belongings returned, while the worst-case scenario could mean life in prison.

But until the feds come knocking at their door, the Lawrences will continue the Colorado Compassion Club. According to Larisa, the stakes are too high right now for their patients, who have few alternatives.

"We have zero margin of error in what we do," she says. "The majority of our patients have exhausted all other resources in their lives."

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Feds launch raids on California medical marijuana providers [Re: veggie]
    #4327531 - 06/23/05 03:03 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

Feds launch raids on California medical marijuana providers
June 23, 2005 - statehornet.com

SACRAMENTO - Federal drug agents launched a wide-ranging crackdown on medical marijuana providers Wednesday, charging a husband and wife in Sacramento and raiding more than 20 San Francisco dispensaries.

In San Francisco, drug agents conducted searches of three pot clubs and more than 20 homes and businesses, capping a more than two-year investigation into an alleged marijuana trafficking ring.

Officials with the Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. attorney's office would not say how many people were arrested or give other details, pending a news conference Thursday.

In Sacramento, Dr. Marion Fry, 48, and her husband, attorney Dale C. Schafer, 50, were arrested on a sealed indictment handed down a week ago. It charged them with conspiracy to grow and distribute marijuana between August 1999 and September 2001 from their storefront California Medical Research Center in Cool, a Sierra foothill community northeast of Sacramento.

"Marijuana was legal in this part of the United States until this month, so any attempt to hold them as serious criminals would have been, I think, inappropriate," said their attorney, Laurence Lichter. "They are charged with violating the old marijuana laws, which are now back in effect, and I'm hoping that the jury will see ... that Dr. Fry was acting as a physician."

Law enforcement officials in Sacramento and San Francisco said the actions were unrelated and were part of independent, long-running investigations.

Lichter, however, said he believed Wednesday's arrests and sweep may have been prompted by the U.S. Supreme Court's medical marijuana ruling two weeks ago. The high court said federal law prohibiting the sale and distribution of narcotics supersedes state medical marijuana laws.

First Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence Brown in Sacramento said the Supreme Court ruling "lays to rest any question whether federal authorities have jurisdiction."

California is one of 10 states that allow the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

State Attorney General Bill Lockyer supports the state's medical marijuana law, but his Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement was involved in the San Francisco investigation, spokeswoman Teresa Schilling said.

"It's more than medical marijuana. This was an illegal marijuana operation," she said.

Gordon Taylor, the assistant special agent in charge of the Sacramento DEA office, alleged that Fry and Schafer also crossed that line. The indictment states the couple was growing more than 100 plants during the period in question.

"They were taking their (medical) clients and turning them into their customer base" for illegal marijuana sales, Taylor said.

Both were freed without posting bond after an initial court hearing Wednesday.

That investigation has been pending since December 2000, when drug agents said they seized several United Parcel Service packages containing marijuana.

In September 2001, the DEA seized 28 filing cabinets full of patient records from the Medical Research Center, which doubled as Fry's doctor's office. That raid triggered a legal battle over patient privacy.

The DEA ended Fry's registration to dispense controlled substances in December 2002 based on the investigation, but no charges were filed until the indictments last week.

Elsewhere Wednesday, the Rhode Island House passed a bill that would allow certain patients to grow and smoke marijuana. A similar bill passed the state Senate two weeks ago.

Gov. Don Carcieri has threatened to veto the legislation, but lawmakers said they are confident the bill had enough votes to override a veto.

"For me, it has always been a matter of compassion - simple compassion," said Democratic Rep. Steven Costantino. "And I've always been amused by the fear that this is going to cause all of a sudden" an out-of-control use of marijuana.

Edited by veggie (06/23/05 04:14 AM)

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Re: Feds launch raids on California medical marijuana providers [Re: veggie]
    #4329675 - 06/23/05 06:18 PM (18 years, 11 months ago)

I'm glad to see that states are still passing medical marijuana laws in spite if the federal laws. It's very encouraging.


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Re: Feds launch raids on California medical marijuana providers [Re: Ekstaza]
    #4331062 - 06/24/05 12:28 AM (18 years, 11 months ago)

I'm sad to see Oaksterdam and The City getting raped so hard by the DEA :frown:

:spliff: for all of us in Cali that may need the apparently weakened medical system.


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Re: Supreme Court Outlaws Medical Marijuana [Re: veggie]
    #4438568 - 07/22/05 02:45 PM (18 years, 10 months ago)

Alaskans can continue medicinal marijuana use
July 22, 2005 - adn.com

Policy clarified in light of Supreme Court ruling last month.

Alaskans can continue to register with state health authorities to smoke marijuana for medicinal reasons despite a U.S. Supreme Court decision last month that upheld federal laws banning the drug.

The state attorney general, David Marquez, has advised the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services that the court's June 6 decision does not forbid the agency from registering medical marijuana users, according to a statement Marquez issued Thursday.

In the immediate wake of the high court's decision, the state was contemplating suspending the medical marijuana registration program, among a range of actions it could have taken in response, Alaska Department of Law spokesman Mark Morones said Thursday.

The administration of Gov. Frank Murkowski is known to be hostile to another category of legal use under Alaska laws, in which recreational users can have up to four ounces of the drug within their homes. That limited legal use was reaffirmed in 2004 by the state's Court of Appeals, which cited the Alaska constitution's privacy provision.

Medical users envisioned the court's decision as new ammunition for states that wanted to suppress all use of the drug.

At least two states with medical marijuana programs, Oregon and California, suspended their registration programs after the court issued its ruling. Both states recently resumed the programs after their legal authorities reviewed the court's action.

All use of marijuana is banned under federal law everywhere in the country.

Alaska is one of 10 states that authorize marijuana use for medical reasons, providing the user provides a doctor's prescription and registers with the state. That exception to state law was authorized by a voters' initiative in 1998. About 200 people are now registered in the program, according to Morones, the Law spokesman. About 570 have been registered since the beginning.

The case before the Supreme Court, Gonzales v. Raich, was brought by California users of medical marijuana trying to assert a state's right to regulate such use over federal prohibition.

The court decided that the Commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution trumped state laws, asserting federal authority to ban use of the drug despite its legality within a state in certain circumstances.

Within the Supreme Court's ruling, Alaska found its legal haven in what Marquez called a "narrow constitutional question."

"We start with the presumption that our state statutes are valid," he said. "Absent a clear statement in Raich that federal law pre-empts a state's ability to regulate the possession and use of marijuana for medical purposes, Alaska's registration scheme should continue to remain in effect."

Marquez warned Alaskans, however, that any possession, distribution or use of dope remains a crime under U.S. law.

Federal law enforcement authorities in Alaska said last month that the court's ruling would not lead to increased prosecution of minor users; they're interested in major traffickers. They reiterated that posture Thursday.

Marquez's statement "is not going to change anything," said FBI Special Agent Eric Gonzalez.

The Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, which had threatened to sue Alaska and Oregon if they suspended their medical-marijuana registration, said the state's decision was welcome, though not surprising.

"What Alaska and now all 10 of the medical marijuana states have said essentially is the Supreme Court decision does nothing on the state level," said Bruce Mirken, a Marijuana Policy Project spokesman. "It's essentially business as usual. ... This was a real clear-cut decision, and the question is why a couple of states took so long."

Marquez also issued a "talking points" memorandum, listing reasons why marijuana should be illegal under all circumstances except authorized medical use. Those reasons include the drug's high potency today compared with 30 and 40 years ago and its increasing use among students as young as 11.

Murkowski's proposed legislation, which did not advance in the last legislative session, would make possession of any amount of non-medical dope at home illegal under state law. The proposal would not affect registered medical marijuana users.

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