Supreme Court Medical Pot Case Has Pueblo Link

Supreme Court Medical Pot Case Has Pueblo Link
Posted by CN Staff on January 17, 2005 at 18:13:30 PT
By Patrick Malone, The Pueblo Chieftain
Source: Pueblo Chieftain
The feds can't touch Angel Raich. They know she's got marijuana. They know she's smoking it. And there's not a thing they can do to stop her.Angel Raich, 39, and her husband, Pueblo native Robert Raich, 48, hope to spread that protection beyond their Oakland, Calif., home to the rest of the nation. They've taken their campaign to compel the federal government to recognize individual states' medical marijuana laws all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Robert Raich, a graduate and student body president of Central High School's class of 1975, is part of the legal team that argued the merits of his wife's case before the Supreme Court in November. A ruling could come as early as next month or as late as May.Angel Raich's privileges come at a cost - her health. She has never recreationally used marijuana, and initially objected to a nurse's suggestion that she try it for relief of her myriad medical conditions."I was offended and angry that she would suggest a mother of two might use cannabis," Angel Raich said. "A lot of us are preconditioned to view it as a criminal thing."Her husband said the difference is obvious once she has taken marijuana."It's miraculous," Robert Raich said. "Within a few minutes, the life starts returning to her body. She can function again. She's able to be there for me and for her two teenage children. If it wasn't for medical cannabis, she wouldn't be able to get out of bed, much less be the loving, caring mother and wife that she is."Angel Raich ingests marijuana orally, smokes it and uses a vaporizer to inhale it.She suffers from medical conditions that include a benign, inoperable brain tumor, wasting syndrome, several chronic pain disorders, seizure disorder, chronic nausea, scoliosis, asthma, endometriosis, a uterine tumor and others.Her severe sensitivity to chemical pharmaceuticals rendered the medicines counterproductive and left Angel Raich despondent and confined to a wheelchair for four years before she turned to cannabis."The cure was worse than the disease," she said. "I couldn't hold my children because I was so ill, and the medications only made things worse. I felt totally hopeless and helpless."When she was still reliant on pharmaceuticals, Angel Raich felt so powerless that she admits to a failed attempt at suicide. One week later, a nurse suggested she try marijuana to help restore her appetite, cope with pain and mitigate nausea."Nothing else was working," she said. "I could hear my daughter staying up at night whimpering and crying because I couldn't do the things I used to do anymore, like coaching teams and rollerblading with her and my son or baking or even doing arts and crafts."That's when I had to stop and rethink my conservative viewpoints. I was not a political person back then. I was a typical, traditional mom. But I had to reassess my beliefs on the subject of cannabis."In late 1997, Angel Raich sent relatives on a mission to buy her marijuana illegally from a street dealer, and she's glad they did."I tried it and I noticed the difference immediately," she said. "It wasn't a cure, but since I'm unable to take synthetic drugs, it was the only thing that helped."In early 1998, Angel Raich convinced her physician, who initially objected to the prospect of prescribing marijuana, to recommend her for a card entitling her to obtain medical cannabis.She stopped sending relatives to street dealers and began getting high-grade medicinal marijuana from the Oakland Cannabis Buyers Cooperative, which later took center stage before the U.S. Supreme Court with Robert Raich arguing on its behalf in 2001.Robert Raich specializes in business law. He had represented the cooperative since its inception on business matters, and his involvement with the cooperative grew with the political movement it represented.By 2000, Robert and Angel had been communicating by phone and e-mail for almost two years during their mutual support of the OCBC while it was in a legal fight to stay open. When they finally met in person during a court hearing where Robert was arguing and Angel was observing, there was no question that they belonged together."She put her hand on my shoulder, and we felt that magical energy and never looked back," Robert Raich said. "Once we finally physically touched, the sparks flew."They were married in July 2002 in a fairy-tale ceremony conducted by Robert's father, Pueblo rabbi Abe Raich.Between their meeting and their marriage, developments shaped the medical marijuana movement in California and nationally. First, there were the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, which were followed over the course of the next year by 35 federal raids on recognized California medical marijuana users, growers and cooperatives.Although voters in the state of California legalized medical marijuana in 1996, the federal government hasn't, and the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (passed under the U.S. Constitution's commerce clause), which classifies marijuana as an illegal drug, remained in effect.It was the dozens of raids in the wake of 9/11 that motivated Angel Raich to take legal steps to guard the protection her state's medical marijuana patients enjoyed."This case was built for the Supreme Court," Robert Raich said. "What we're talking about is allowing patients to have legal access to a medication with proven benefits pursuant to their doctors' recommendations and state law."In short, the case seeks to protect patients whose treatment includes a recommendation for medical cannabis from federal legal intervention. Eleven states, including Colorado and California, have passed laws approving the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.While the case between Raich and the U.S. Department of Justice has played out in U.S. District Court in California, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court, a temporary injunction has been in place forbidding the federal government from harassing Angel Raich, a co-defendant and two anonymous medical cannabis farmers in California in the course of the medicinal pot practices.Conversely, the injunction forbids them from engaging in certain activities, such as transporting marijuana across state lines or in any way infringing on interstate commerce during the medication process.Since the injunction was issued, Angel has not visited her father-in-law, Abe Raich, in Pueblo."In October they had a family event in Pueblo and I couldn't go because I don't know anybody there that has cannabis that hasn't come across state lines," Angel Raich said. "I'd love to get back out there because I love Abe. He's a spiritual, intelligent man who I love greatly."Before the injunction was ordered, Abe allowed Angel to medicate at his Pueblo residence, she said."I try to be discreet and respectful of the people around me," she said. "Abe was kind enough to understand. A lot of families may not feel comfortable having me as a part of it, but Robert's family has been very accepting and kind."While his son and daughter-in-law tackle the question of medical marijuana from the legal angle, Abe Raich, 82, approaches the issue from a humanitarian standpoint."The power of organized crime is still left over from prohibition of alcohol," the rabbi said. "I think the illegality of (marijuana) is keeping the drug culture in America alive. People have to be open-minded enough to listen to the good it can do before they condemn a medicine that can help people."Robert Raich, too, said an open mind is the key to acceptance of medical marijuana in mainstream America. His case before the Supreme Court has elicited the support of the California Medical Association, the California Nurses Association and other reputable factions of the medical establishment.He said they recognize the case for what it is - an endorsement of the medical use of the drug, not a blanket legalization that would open the door for recreational use."With that argument, people are insulting the intelligence of voters who approved this law in Colorado, California and everywhere else it's been on the ballot," Robert Raich said. "Just as morphine can be prescribed by a physician, it doesn't mean they support an addictive drug like heroin. In our case, what we're talking about is allowing patients to have legal access to a medication with proven benefits pursuant to their doctors' recommendations and state law."People who say there's a slippery slope don't understand the issues in this case. The real issue is that people who suffer from illnesses should not live in fear of arrest over taking medicine that helps them survive."In November, when Robert Raich argued before the highest court in the land, he sought to prove that government intervention against sick people seeking medical relief through marijuana is unconstitutional. He's been around long enough to know that speculating about how the court might rule is futile, but he remains optimistic."The ramifications of winning this case could help patients everywhere, including in my hometown," Robert Raich said. "This case is really about the authority of the federal government vis-a-vis the states. The federal government should be doing things like fighting terrorism. It should not be a priority to go after sick and dying patients whose only goal is to seek relief from their suffering."RAICH TIMELINE Here is a timeline of the Ashcroft v. Raich medical marijuana case that awaits a U.S. Supreme Court decision expected this year: 2002 Oct. 9 Angel McClary Raich and three others file a complaint and motion for preliminary injunction in U.S. District Court against U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and the DEA administrator, seeking exemption from arrest and prosecution and from seizing medically prescribed marijuana. 2003March 5: Raich's request denied by court, despite its finding that "the equitable factors tip in plaintiff's favor."March 12: Plaintiffs appeal to 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.Oct. 7: First hearing in San Francisco.Dec. 16: Court supports patients and caregivers, saying federal action against them is unconstitutional. n 2004Feb. 25: 9th Court denies Ashcroft a rehearing of case.March 5: 9th Court of Appeals rules that original U.S. District Court finding is reversed and sends the case back to that court.April 20: Ashcroft seeks to move case to U.S. Supreme Court, which makes Raich the defendant in the action.May 14: An injunction in the U.S. Court of Appeals prohibits the arrest of Raich and her cohorts in the case or the seizure and confiscation of their medically prescribed marijuana.Aug. 11: A joint appendix was filed with the Supreme Court by both parties. Ashcroft also files his merits brief in the case.Oct. 13: Raich files her own merits brief.Nov. 29: Oral arguments before the Supreme Court. Source: Pueblo Chieftain (CO)Author: Patrick Malone, The Pueblo ChieftainPublished: Monday, January 17, 2005Copyright: 2005 The Star-Journal Publishing CorpContact: newsroom chieftain.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Angel Raich v. Ashcroft News'I Really Consider Cannabis My Miracle' Expectations - San Francisco Bay Guardian and The Constitution
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Comment #2 posted by jose melendez on May 24, 2005 at 18:31:24 PT
Raich is a champion, 
You go, girl! - - -Food for thoughtCannabis research gets 2m boost of cannabinoids and antagonism of cannabinoid receptors have shed more light on the complex neurochemistry of selective appetite. In addition, research on satiety or appetite control mechanisms residing in the gastrointestinal tract has led to the identification of an entire spectrum of gut neuropeptides with elaborate central nervous system feedback.\Pharmos Corporation to Present at the Bio-Tech Israel 2005 Conference
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on January 17, 2005 at 19:40:48 PT
News Brief from The Associated Press
Group Looking for Lawmakers to Sponsor Medical Marijuana Bill January 17, 2005 The Associated Press BOISE, Idaho -- A pro-marijuana group is looking for a sponsor for legislation that would allow Idaho doctors to prescribe medical cannabis.Tim Teater is the state coordinator for The National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Laws. He wants legislation to allow doctors to give patients a prescription allowing them to grow their own medical marijuana. The idea is that users of the drug are better able to breed the plant to their specific needs.Teater acknowledges his proposal comes with "cultural baggage."But he says 1some conservative lawmakers are coming around to the idea, particularly those with a Libertarian bent. Copyright 2005 Associated Press
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