Government Can Bar Medical Marijuana Use 

  Government Can Bar Medical Marijuana Use 

Posted by CN Staff on June 06, 2005 at 08:51:05 PT
By James Vicini 
Source: Reuters 

Washington, D.C. -- The federal government has the power to prevent sick patients from smoking home-grown marijuana that a doctor recommended to relieve their chronic pain, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday in a setback for the medical marijuana movement.The high court ruled that a federal law outlawing marijuana applied to two seriously ill California women, even though California is one of at least nine states that allow medical use of marijuana.
Justice John Paul Stevens said for the court majority that the federal law, the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, was a valid exercise of federal power by the Congress "even as applied to the troubling facts of this case."By a 6-3 vote, the justices set aside a lower-court decision in favor of the two women.It represented another setback for the medical marijuana movement. The high court ruled in 2001 that California cannabis clubs may not distribute marijuana as a "medical necessity" for seriously ill patients.The latest ruling stemmed from a lawsuit brought in 2002 by Angel Raich, who has an inoperable brain tumor and other medical problems, and Diane Monson, who suffers from severe back pain. Their doctors recommended marijuana for their pain.Monson cultivates her own marijuana while two of Raich's caregivers grow the marijuana and provide it to her free of charge. In 2002, Drug Enforcement Administration agents destroyed six cannabis plants seized from Monson's home.Their attorney, Randy Barnett of Boston, argued that medical use of home-grown marijuana falls outside the power of Congress to regulate trade among the states and that only marijuana provided relief from the pain the two women suffer.The ruling was a victory for the Bush administration, which appealed to the Supreme Court after a federal appeals court in California said that marijuana used for medical purposes was different from drug trafficking.The administration estimated that as many as 100,000 Californians would use marijuana for medical purposes if the Supreme Court ruled for the two women.Government lawyers said it would be difficult to enforce the nation's drug laws if there was an exception for medical marijuana. They said the federal ban trumped the California law, which the voters adopted in 1996 to allow "compassionate use" of medical marijuana.The appeals court said states could adopt medical marijuana laws as long as the marijuana was not sold, transported across state lines or used for nonmedicinal purposes.The Supreme Court set aside that ruling.Stevens said the power of Congress to regulate commerce among the states includes the authority to prohibit the local cultivation and use of marijuana in compliance with California law.Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Clarence Thomas dissented."This case exemplifies the role of states as laboratories," O'Connor wrote."Relying on Congress' abstract assertions, the court has endorsed making it a federal crime to grow small amounts of marijuana in one's own home for one's own medicinal use," she said. "This overreaching stifles an express choice by some states ... to regulate medical marijuana differently." Source: Reuters (Wire)Author: James ViciniPublished: Monday, June 06, 2005Copyright: 2005 Reuters LimitedRelated Articles & Web Site:Angel Raich v. Ashcroft News Medical Marijuana Laws Remain Valid Court Allows Prosecution of Marijuana

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Comment #19 posted by The GCW on June 06, 2005 at 21:15:42 PT
Vote here Should the federal government prosecute medical marijuana users, now that it has been given the OK by the Supreme Court? * 69575 responses Yes 
10% No 
88% I'm not sure 
2%&&&&LOU DOBBS TONIGHT QUICKVOTE Do you believe the federal government should prosecute doctors who prescribe medical marijuana? Current Results: Yes -- 7% No -- 93% Total: 3264 votes
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on June 06, 2005 at 17:18:34 PT
If you all can decide I think it would be a good idea. I haven't been to a chat in a couple of years now.
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Comment #17 posted by jose melendez on June 06, 2005 at 17:12:28 PT
Is this not a chat? Perhaps just a chat window at the bottom of every page would do?
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Comment #16 posted by runderwo on June 06, 2005 at 16:44:01 PT
weekly chat
I agree with the idea of a scheduled weekly chat and would attempt to participate in such. Sunday is the best day for me. How could we organize a poll to find out when we can have the best attendance?
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on June 06, 2005 at 12:07:07 PT
Updated Reuters Article
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Comment #14 posted by jose melendez on June 06, 2005 at 10:16:25 PT
Proof: Wrong, and wrong again.
 - "Prohibiting the intrastate possession or manufacture of an article of commerce is a rational means of regulating commerce in that product."False. Water vapor would not be rationally prohibited to regulate commerce in bottled water.Clement even admits under oath in Raich that marijuana use has skyrocketed to a 10.5 bilion dollar market, compare that to prior to the CSA and it is obvious that prohibiting marijuana is only rational if we intend to concede regulation of sauch articles of commerce to the black market. See: Opposite regulatory - "Congress clearly acted rationally in determining that this subdivided class of activities is an essential part of the larger regulatory scheme."Again, clearly untrue. The wording of this particular statement makes me wonder if he does not in fact know it is untrue.Since the inception of the controlled substances act, more kids are using heroin and more people are dying from legal drugs than ever in history.Therefore, I do seek and will require the sharpening of such issues at trial and invite or otherwise engage the reasoning, intellectual honesty, genuine and good behavior of any Uncompromised Judge or Judges in any Court without prejudice or conflict of interest.
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Comment #13 posted by kaptinemo on June 06, 2005 at 10:15:48 PT:
Max, Pete Guither is in New York
So, he's not available to update the site on a minute by minute basis. But he 'left the light on' in the Comments department.The most dangerous part of this has to do with what Justice Thomas said in his dissent:"By holding that Congress may regulate activity that is neither interstate nor commerce under the Interstate Commerce Clause, the Court abandons any attempt to enforce the Constitution’s limits on federal power. The majority supports this conclusion by invoking, without explanation, the Necessary and Proper Clause. Regulating respondents’ conduct, however, is not “necessary and proper for carrying into Execution” Congress’ restrictions on the interstate drug trade. Art. I, §8, cl. 18. Thus, neither the Commerce Clause nor the Necessary and Proper Clause grants Congress the power to regulate respondents’ conduct.""State's Rights? What State's Rights?" This is what Klinton tried to do with an Executive Order and was prevented by Congress from carrying out. Now, with one SC ruling, the States have, for all intent and purposes, lost their self-regulating ability. The Feds may now interfere in anything, anytime, anywhere.And, given their past behavior, will.The last time we had an SC decision as momentous as this one was, the nation was locked into a course terminating in civil war. That civil war in turn began the devolution of State's Rights and the ascent of Federal power. But the Dred Scott decision was based upon strict adherence to the literal letter of the law. Today, for all intent and purposes, the Feds have completely trumped the States, for good. And based their ruling upon the most specious interpretations of the law. The future has turned very ugly, indeed. 
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on June 06, 2005 at 10:01:26 PT
MPP: Supreme Court Rules on Medical Marijuana 
Supreme Court Rules on Medical Marijuana — Tell Congress to Act!Dear MPP supporter:In an historic decision today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6 - 3 that the federal government can continue arresting patients who are using medical marijuana legally under state law. However, the decision did not overturn the medical marijuana laws in 10 states, which still protect patients from arrest by state and local police.The Marijuana Policy Project's grants program provided the majority of the funding for this litigation, which is only the second medical marijuana case ever to reach the Supreme Court.TAKE ACTION: that the Court has ruled, we need you to spring into action. Please click here to send a free fax or e-mail to your U.S. representative to ask him or her to protect medical marijuana patients, since the ball is now in Congress' court. In fact, a medical marijuana amendment is scheduled to come to the House floor for a vote next week. Our goal is to send 10,000 letters to Congress by the time of the vote, but we won't be able to achieve that goal without your help.Then, please visit to participate in a demonstration outside of your U.S. representative's local district office at noon on Wednesday, June 8.BACKGROUNDIn its ruling in Ashcroft v. Raich ,the Supreme Court said that Congress — not the Court — must be the institution to change federal law to protect medical marijuana patients from arrest.Writing for the majority, Justice John Paul Stevens said that 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 respondents may one day be heard in the halls of Congress."By stressing the need for plaintiffs to use the democratic process, the Supreme Court has clearly put the ball in Congress' court. This makes next week's vote in the U.S. House of Representatives all the more significant. LAWS UNAFFECTEDThe ruling does not affect states' ability to pass new medical marijuana laws; states are free to continue enacting laws that protect medical marijuana patients and their providers from arrest and prosecution by state and local law enforcement officials.What the Supreme Court has done is continue the status quo: Patients in the 10 states with medical marijuana laws are protected under state law but will continue to risk prosecution under federal law. In other words, the Court's decision means that nothing has changed. Click here for more background on the case.WE NEED YOUR HELP TO PROTECT PATIENTS!Since it's now clear that patients cannot count on the federal courts for protection, we must push harder than ever for Congress to change federal law.We need you to lobby Congress to end the federal government's attacks on medical marijuana patients and caregivers. Please visit to learn how you can help pressure Congress to protect medical marijuana patients.Then — if you agree that sick and suffering patients should not have to live in fear of armed federal agents breaking down the patients' doors to take away their medicine — please ensure that MPP has the necessary funds to push hard this week and next for Congress to pass an amendment that would prevent the DEA from arresting medical marijuana patients or providers who are acting legally under state law.Thank you,Rob Kampia Executive Director Marijuana Policy Project Washington, D.C.Take action now! Ask Congress to protect medical marijuana patients from arrest and jail.
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Comment #11 posted by jose melendez on June 06, 2005 at 09:51:31 PT
opposite regulatory
Apparently, they bought the argument that medmj may affect _illicit_ commerce:from google's cache of CLEMENT: Well, I think there's some truth to that, Justice Scalia, but let me say this. I think what I'm saying is, I'm taking the rational that this Court accepted in Wickard, and I'm applying it to a different regulatory regime. Here, Congress -JUSTICE STEVENS: But you're applying it to the opposite kind of regulatory -- you're applying it to a regulatory regime in which the government wants to prohibit this subject -- substances from being sold or - in interstate commerce.Reggae is playing on npr, now I feel better. Perhaps that will be prohibited also?
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Comment #10 posted by Max Flowers on June 06, 2005 at 09:49:52 PT
Here it is in all its tortured logic 
SyllabusNOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued.
The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been prepared by the Reporter of Decisions for the convenience of the reader.
See United States v. Detroit Timber & Lumber Co., 200 U.S. 321, 337.SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUITNo. 03—1454.Argued November 29, 2004–Decided June 6, 2005California’s Compassionate Use Act authorizes limited marijuana use for medicinal purposes. Respondents Raich and Monson are California residents who both use doctor-recommended marijuana for serious medical conditions. After federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents seized and destroyed all six of Monson’s cannabis plants, respondents brought this action seeking injunctive and declaratory relief prohibiting the enforcement of the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to the extent it prevents them from possessing, obtaining, or manufacturing cannabis for their personal medical use. Respondents claim that enforcing the CSA against them would violate the Commerce Clause and other constitutional provisions. The District Court denied respondents’ motion for a preliminary injunction, but the Ninth Circuit reversed, finding that they had demonstrated a strong likelihood of success on the claim that the CSA is an unconstitutional exercise of Congress’ Commerce Clause authority as applied to the intrastate, noncommercial cultivation and possession of cannabis for personal medical purposes as recommended by a patient’s physician pursuant to valid California state law. The court relied heavily on United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549, and United States v. Morrison, 529 U.S. 598, to hold that this separate class of purely local activities was beyond the reach of federal power.Held: Congress’ Commerce Clause authority includes the power to prohibit the local cultivation and use of marijuana in compliance with California law. Pp. 6—31.  (a) For the purposes of consolidating various drug laws into a comprehensive statute, providing meaningful regulation over legitimate sources of drugs to prevent diversion into illegal channels, and strengthening law enforcement tools against international and interstate drug trafficking, Congress enacted the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, Title II of which is the CSA. To effectuate the statutory goals, Congress devised a closed regulatory system making it unlawful to manufacture, distribute, dispense, or possess any controlled substance except as authorized by the CSA. 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), 844(a). All controlled substances are classified into five schedules, §812, based on their accepted medical uses, their potential for abuse, and their psychological and physical effects on the body, §§811, 812. Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance, §812(c), based on its high potential for abuse, no accepted medical use, and no accepted safety for use in medically supervised treatment, §812(b)(1). This classification renders the manufacture, distribution, or possession of marijuana a criminal offense. §§841(a)(1), 844(a). Pp. 6—11.  (b) Congress’ power to regulate purely local activities that are part of an economic “class of activities” that have a substantial effect on interstate commerce is firmly established. See, e.g., Perez v. United States, 402 U.S. 146, 151. If Congress decides that the “ ‘total incidence’ ” of a practice poses a threat to a national market, it may regulate the entire class. See, e.g., id., at 154—155. Of particular relevance here is Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111, 127—128, where, in rejecting the appellee farmer’s contention that Congress’ admitted power to regulate the production of wheat for commerce did not authorize federal regulation of wheat production intended wholly for the appellee’s own consumption, the Court established that Congress can regulate purely intrastate activity that is not itself “commercial,” i.e., not produced for sale, if it concludes that failure to regulate that class of activity would undercut the regulation of the interstate market in that commodity. The similarities between this case and Wickard are striking. In both cases, the regulation is squarely within Congress’ commerce power because production of the commodity meant for home consumption, be it wheat or marijuana, has a substantial effect on supply and demand in the national market for that commodity. In assessing the scope of Congress’ Commerce Clause authority, the Court need not determine whether respondents’ activities, taken in the aggregate, substantially affect interstate commerce in fact, but only whether a “rational basis” exists for so concluding. E.g., Lopez, 514 U.S., at 557. Given the enforcement difficulties that attend distinguishing between marijuana cultivated locally and marijuana grown elsewhere, 21 U.S.C. § 801(5), and concerns about diversion into illicit channels, the Court has no difficulty concluding that Congress had a rational basis for believing that failure to regulate the intrastate manufacture and possession of marijuana would leave a gaping hole in the CSA. Pp. 12—20.  (c) Respondents’ heavy reliance on Lopez and Morrison overlooks the larger context of modern-era Commerce Clause jurisprudence preserved by those cases, while also reading those cases far too broadly. The statutory challenges at issue there were markedly different from the challenge here. Respondents ask the Court to excise individual applications of a concededly valid comprehensive statutory scheme. In contrast, in both Lopez and Morrison, the parties asserted that a particular statute or provision fell outside Congress’ commerce power in its entirety. This distinction is pivotal for the Court has often reiterated that “[w]here the class of activities is regulated and that class is within the reach of federal power, the courts have no power ‘to excise, as trivial, individual instances’ of the class.” Perez, 402 U.S., at 154. Moreover, the Court emphasized that the laws at issue in Lopez and Morrison had nothing to do with “commerce” or any sort of economic enterprise. See Lopez, 514 U.S., at 561; Morrison, 529 U.S., at 610. In contrast, the CSA regulates quintessentially economic activities: the production, distribution, and consumption of commodities for which there is an established, and lucrative, interstate market. Prohibiting the intrastate possession or manufacture of an article of commerce is a rational means of regulating commerce in that product. The Ninth Circuit cast doubt on the CSA’s constitutionality by isolating a distinct class of activities that it held to be beyond the reach of federal power: the intrastate, noncommercial cultivation, possession, and use of marijuana for personal medical purposes on the advice of a physician and in accordance with state law. However, Congress clearly acted rationally in determining that this subdivided class of activities is an essential part of the larger regulatory scheme. The case comes down to the claim that a locally cultivated product that is used domestically rather than sold on the open market is not subject to federal regulation. Given the CSA’s findings and the undisputed magnitude of the commercial market for marijuana, Wickard and its progeny foreclose that claim. Pp. 20—30.352 F.3d 1222, vacated and remanded.Stevens, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer, JJ., joined. Scalia, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment. O’Connor, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Rehnquist, C. J., and Thomas, J., joined as to all but Part III. Thomas, J., filed a dissenting opinion.
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Comment #9 posted by Max Flowers on June 06, 2005 at 09:41:59 PT

This site (when it gets updated---the folks behind it are asleep at the wheel this morning of all mornings! maybe they are in shock) has good analysis and I assume will continue with a detailed analysis, including the written opinions by each of the "justices" for their "rulings" 
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on June 06, 2005 at 09:41:20 PT

I totally forgot we have our own chat too! You're post reminded me!
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Comment #7 posted by kaptinemo on June 06, 2005 at 09:37:51 PT:

There's always DrugSenseChat will get you to the VERY basic client; for serious people, you should download and install MUSH from
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Comment #6 posted by OverwhelmSam on June 06, 2005 at 09:34:02 PT

Thanks FOM
That's a great idea. At this point I think we need to start working together as a Team. There's no "I" in TEAM, but there's an "I" in WIN!
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Comment #5 posted by dongenero on June 06, 2005 at 09:06:55 PT

interstate commerce...explain please?
They contend that Federal law trumps State law, predicated on the Interstate Commerce Clause.I've yet to see anything that explains their decision on this interstate commerce level. So far everything is just indicating "okay, Federal trumps State."The only comments regarding interstate commerce in the articles are in reference to the dissenting opinions. Nothing has yet explained how the majority opinion managed to find it's way around the fact that this involves NO interstate commerce.Well? How so, based on interstate commerce?!! Inquiring minds want to know!!!
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on June 06, 2005 at 09:02:35 PT

That's a great idea. Maybe Ron Bennett could help out there. He mentioned something about doing that on
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on June 06, 2005 at 09:01:08 PT

Heads Up: On MSNBC's Show Connected
They will be talking about the Supreme Court decision!
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Comment #2 posted by OverwhelmSam on June 06, 2005 at 09:00:30 PT

Coordinate, Cooperate, & Initiate
FOM, Your site is such a think tank, and I would really like to talk to everyone here about the issues at hand from time-to-time. Is there some way we can set up a weekly or monthly internet conference or something similar? 
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Comment #1 posted by dididadadidit on June 06, 2005 at 08:56:37 PT

No Surprise Here, Unfortunately
Is anyone truly surprised? Disappointed, sure. Surprised? No way.Cheers NOT?
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