Fallout of Marijuana Verdict

  Fallout of Marijuana Verdict

Posted by CN Staff on June 07, 2005 at 11:54:00 PT
By Brad Knickerbocker, Staff Writer of The CSM 
Source: Christian Science Monitor 

Ashland, Oregon -- The US Supreme Court's decision this week asserting federal control over marijuana used for medical purposes would seem to bring that controversial practice to a halt. Uncle Sam - not the states - has the last word here, the court ruled.But the 6-to-3 ruling may have raised more questions than it answered - and not just in the 10 states where medical marijuana has been legally used to treat the pain and nausea of certain illnesses.
For example, will the federal Controlled Substances Act now be enforced more rigorously?Advocates on both sides of the issue say they do not expect to see US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents breaking down the doors and ripping up the plants of medical-marijuana users, especially if state and local cops - not obliged to help federal agencies prosecute people following state law - don't take part. Just a tiny fraction of the 750,000 pot busts made each year in the US are by DEA agents.Will the ruling curb the number of states that allow medical marijuana? (The 10 that do are California, Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Washington, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Maine.)Polls show most Americans support medicinal use, including those opposed to general legalization of the drug.For example, in a poll conducted last December for the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), 72 percent of respondents aged 45 or older agreed that "adults should be allowed to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if a physician recommends it."This can be seen as part of the general public belief that individuals - not government - should be in charge of their medical care, including end-of-life care as was at issue in the Terri Schiavo case.That support is behind the push in several states to legalize the use of medical marijuana, provided a physician recommends it. The Connecticut Senate, for one, is considering a bill that would license medical doctors to certify the use of marijuana for certain debilitating conditions; patients would be allowed to grow up to four plants for personal use.This week's court decision puts added pressure on Congress to deal with the issue. In writing the court's majority opinion, Associate Justice John Paul Stevens "stressed the need for medical marijuana patients to use the democratic process, putting the ball in Congress's court," says Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C."This is especially important now because next week, the US House of Representatives will vote on an amendment that would prevent the federal government from spending funds to interfere with state medical-marijuana laws," says Mr. Kampia, whose organization provided major funding for the case brought by two California women.Another question raised by this week's ruling: What lies ahead for Oregon's unique physician-assisted suicide law? The US Justice Department says that law also violates the Controlled Substances Act, and the Supreme Court has agreed to take up the case this fall.This week's decision also affects a broader debate on the drug. Some advocates had seen medicinal use as a vehicle for building support for marijuana legalization. The Bush administration firmly opposes such a move, and few lawmakers see political advantage in the debate.But a report out last week estimates that replacing marijuana prohibition with a taxation and regulation system - as exists for alcohol - would produce combined savings and tax revenues of between $10 billion and $14 billion per year.The report, by Jeffrey Miron, visiting professor of economics at Harvard University, has been endorsed by more than 500 economists, including well-known conservative Milton Friedman of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.In an open letter to President Bush, Congress, governors, and state legislatures, the economists call for "an open and honest debate," one they believe "will favor a regime in which marijuana is legal but taxed and regulated like other goods." Such a discussion "will force advocates of current policy to show that prohibition has benefits sufficient to justify the cost to taxpayers, foregone tax revenues, and numerous ancillary consequences that result from marijuana prohibition."Still, there's no doubt that this week's ruling is affecting - at least for now - existing state programs and the more than 100,000 people they serve.Oregon, for example, is temporarily halting issuance of medical-marijuana registration cards."We need to proceed cautiously until we understand the ramifications of this ruling," says state public health officer Grant Higginson, a physician who oversees the state's medical-marijuana program. "We have contacted the state attorney general to ask for a formal legal opinion."While advocates of such programs view the ruling as a temporary setback, those who oppose them are encouraged.Calvina Fay, executive director of the Drug Free America Foundation in St. Petersburg, Fla., calls it "an important victory for sound drug policy." Ms. Fay contends that many people falsely claim some medical problem in order to obtain the drug for recreational use.Several medical organizations have advocated the use of marijuana for medical purposes. But the administration remains adamantly opposed, and it recently launched a new antimarijuana publicity campaign."Our national medical system relies on proven scientific research, not popular opinion," says White House drug czar John Walters. "To date, science and research have not determined that smoking a crude plant is safe or effective."Note: This week's high-court ruling nudges legislators into the thick of medical-use debate.Source: Christian Science Monitor (US)Author: Brad Knickerbocker, Staff Writer of The Christian Science Monitor Published:  June 08, 2005 Edition Copyright: 2005 The Christian Science Publishing SocietyContact: oped csps.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:Angel Raich v. Ashcroft News Miron Report Patients Remain Defiant Court Rules Against Pot for Sick People Marijuana Effort Loses at US High Court

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Comment #7 posted by Critto on June 08, 2005 at 09:38:27 PT
Supreme Court WORSE than King George III
could be compared with Hitler and Stalin, with nazi and stalinist courts of "law".
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on June 07, 2005 at 17:24:30 PT
Hawaii's U.S. Attorney
A true monster.
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on June 07, 2005 at 17:08:55 PT
Bravo for the R.I. Senate and House
They still have a bit of that original yank blood in their veins.Not so the lilly livered Governor. Must be a Tory snuck in under the color of Old Glory.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on June 07, 2005 at 15:40:58 PT
Rhode Island: News Article from News Channel 10
R.I. Senate Approves Medical Marijuana BillGovernor Has Promised Veto June 7, 2005PROVIDENCE -- The state Senate approved a medical marijuana bill on Tuesday, aiming to make Rhode Island the 11th state to shield from prosecution those who use the drug to treat health problems.*** 
Survey:Should Rhode Island pass a law legalizing the use of marijuana for certain medical conditions? Percentage of 778 Votes Yes -- 712 -- 92% No -- 49 -- 6% I'm not sure -- 17 -- 2% ***Senate lawmakers approved the bill 34-2. The measure would allow those licensed by the state to possess up to 12 marijuana plants or 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana. The vote came a day after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that people who use marijuana for medical purposes can still be prosecuted under federal law even if their home states permit their marijuana use.Gov. Don Carcieri has said he will veto the bill if it makes it to his desk."This bill would give Rhode Island citizens a false sense of security and would place them in danger of federal prosecution," said Carcieri's spokesman, Jeff Neal.Neal said additionally, the governor does not believe the bill has enough safeguards to make sure the marijuana would not be misused."This bill would allow virtually anyone in Rhode Island to grow and distribute marijuana to anyone they pleased," Neal said.The state Department of Health and law enforcement officials have also come out against legalizing the medical use of marijuana.One of the two senators who voted against the measure said he would favor it, but he would like to see a measure passed first on the federal level."I think the state of Rhode Island should become one of the first states to ask our congressional delegation to make medical marijuana legal. I think this way it's a clear black-and-white issue. Here, we define a gray issue," said Sen. Leonidas Raptakis, D-Coventry.But Sen. Rhoda Perry, the bill's sponsor, said protecting patients with conditions like AIDS and cancer who have a doctor's recommendation that they use marijuana is the right thing to do.Perry, D-Providence, said she was moved to submit the legislation six years ago when her nephew, who has since died, was suffering the complications of AIDS and lymphoma.Perry said she was pleased the measure passed the Senate by a veto-proof margin. Sponsors of a companion bill in the House, which has already held a committee hearing, predicted it would pass in their chamber.The Senate approved an amendment Tuesday naming the bill for Perry's nephew, Edward O. Hawkins. But senators rejected a proposed amendment that would have allowed medical marijuana users to be prosecuted for driving or operating a boat or plane under the influence if they were found to have traces of the drug in their blood.Raptakis, the amendment's sponsor, said it was needed to prevent impaired driving. But other senators argued medical marijuana users could still be prosecuted for operating under the influence if they showed other evidence of impairment.Since it takes all traces of marijuana a long time to leave the bloodstream, Sen. Charles Levesque, D-Portsmouth, argued it did not make sense to allow prosecution solely on the basis of a blood test.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on June 07, 2005 at 13:52:27 PT

News Article from
Hawaii's U.S. Attorney Says Medical Marijuana 'Finished'Authorities Prepared To Prosecute Medical Marijuana UsersJune 7, 2005HONOLULU -- The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a setback to the medical use marijuana Monday, ruling that federal laws criminalizing marijuana supersede state laws that allow the drug to be used for certain illnesses. In Hawaii, physicians have prescribed more than 2,500 people marijuana for medical purposes. U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo said the ruling will end that. 
"I believe medical marijuana is dead in Hawaii. It's finished. It's gone forever. Congress has decided, according to the court, to make marijuana illegal for all purposes except FDA testing and federal law will preempt state law under those circumstances," Kubo said.Medical marijuana users are stunned by the ruling and hopeful that Congress will pass something that will legalize what they consider to be their medicine. "Of course it was sort of a disappointment, but we don't, haven't lost hope. We know there's some bills going through Congress right now for medical marijuana, and hopefully we can go through that avenue," medical marijuana user Rhoda Robinson said. 
 " I believe medical marijuana is dead in Hawaii. It's finished." - Ed Kubo, U.S. Attorney 
Most marijuana arrests are made by state -- not federal -- agencies. Because of that, Jeanne Ohta of the Drug Policy Forum claims the state program will continue, even though the feds could crack down on it."The ruling does allow them to do so, but the question is: Will taxpayers want their money, and there are huge budget deficits, to be spent prosecuting sick people?" Ohta said.The U.S. attorney said federal prosecutors have been waiting for the ruling and now that it's come down in their favor, he said they're ready to begin prosecuting medical marijuana users and the doctors who write the prescriptions.Kubo said the Supreme Court's ruling may also allow federal authorities to shut down the state's needle-exchange program. He said the ruling also applies to drug paraphernalia. He said the needle-exchange program may violate federal laws. Copyright 2005 by
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Comment #2 posted by AOLBites on June 07, 2005 at 12:22:49 PT

so is this what you have? it is nevermind then =) don't know how i never found that before ... not by looking i would guess *shrug*
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Comment #1 posted by AOLBites on June 07, 2005 at 12:18:13 PT

could you send a copy of you cannabis research library to these news outlets that blindly post stupid quotes like..."Our national medical system relies on proven scientific research, not popular opinion," says White House drug czar John Walters. "To date, science and research have not determined that smoking a crude plant is safe or effective."and could you post it somewhere we could reproduce it from?
how about puting the list of studies at least on wikipidia?PLEASE?
Citations of modern medical reports on marijuana
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