The Court and Cannabis

The Court and Cannabis
Posted by CN Staff on June 09, 2005 at 08:21:24 PT
Editorial Opinion
Source: Globe and Mail
Canada -- California and 10 other U.S. states allow people to acquire and use marijuana for medicinal purposes under certain conditions, including a doctor's supervision. Now the U.S. Supreme Court says such state legislation is superseded by federal drug laws prohibiting the cultivation, sale and possession of marijuana for any purpose. It's a bad decision, and it even pained the judge who wrote the majority ruling.
The states were responding to growing public demand for a solution to a humanitarian issue. Seriously sick people had found that marijuana offers some relief from the pain and nausea associated with their illnesses. It has also shown some value for people with glaucoma and epilepsy. These patients were neither drug traffickers nor habitual users, and it made sense to enshrine in law a practice that law-enforcement officials were already ignoring.Then federal drug-enforcement agents arrested two California women on marijuana charges. One, with a degenerative back disease, was growing her own crop of six plants, which the agents destroyed. The other, who has a brain tumour, purchased her cannabis from a state-authorized dispensary. Both were using the product on the advice of their doctors, after prescription drugs had proved ineffective.In theory, the Supreme Court ruling puts these women and thousands of other sick Americans, many suffering from terminal illnesses, at risk of prosecution. Dying patients can legally consume such highly addictive drugs as morphine, OxyContin and cocaine, provided they have a prescription. But under U.S. law, they become criminals if they try to obtain the same effect by smoking cannabis. In practice, the federal authorities will be reluctant to haul sick people into court. But it will be harder for those people to get the supply they need from legitimate sources, and doctors will be more reluctant to recommend it as an alternative remedy.In reversing a lower court ruling, Justice John Paul Stevens expressed sympathy for the ill, but said the only point at issue was whether Congress had the power to regulate the use of marijuana under interstate commerce laws. He cited a 1942 ruling that upheld the right of the federal government to control wheat production even when it was meant only for the farmer's own consumption. Thus the California women were violating federal law because of the remote possibility that their pot would end up in the open marketplace.Plainly, the U.S. Congress has to do what Canada and other countries earlier recognized was the right thing to do for compassionate reasons: legalize marijuana use by patients under medical supervision and enable them to buy or grow limited quantities without fear of prosecution. That will not happen quickly, because of the Bush administration's insistence that marijuana is a dangerous drug with no proven medicinal value. Perhaps that opinion will change once critically ill people start crowding federal court dockets.Source: Globe and Mail (Canada) Published: Thursday, June 9, 2005 - Page A18Copyright: 2005 The Globe and Mail CompanyContact: letters globeandmail.caWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Angel Raich v. Ashcroft News Fight Far From Over Should Push Federal Medical Marijuana Law Congress Have The Guts To Tackle MMJ?
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #11 posted by ngeo on June 10, 2005 at 05:53:51 PT:
Fascists come in all colors, but they love red, white and blue. 'Liberal' judges joined by 'conservative' hatchet men affirmed the federal government's right to regulate any activity in which there is any possibility of any connection to interstate commerce - even plants in a private garden. Does it seem strange to anyone that the judges - and the government - assert power over a prohibited plant grown for medicine because it might bring down the price of the plant in a national market? Fascist economics trumps everything including health freedom.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #10 posted by jose melendez on June 09, 2005 at 14:24:31 PT
National Public Radio OUTED Merck for suppressing Vioxx' safety and efficacy data! Merck Pharmaceuticals is apparently second only to ONDCP in advertising on Public radio, so to me this is a very big deal, especially since they ran it right after Warrren Olney's To The Point story which included a discussion as to whether the government is obstructing cannabis research, while overstating safety concerns." . . . The drug companies will use the language of objective neutral science. but what speaks loudest is "you're for us, or you're agin us."
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #9 posted by FoM on June 09, 2005 at 13:56:52 PT
Just a Note
I just updated this page and thought it might help people catch up on all the articles posted over the last few days. Here it is.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #8 posted by FoM on June 09, 2005 at 13:45:16 PT
Another Interesting Article
Don't Bogart That Joint!The Supreme Court backs the Feds for their right to continue to prosecute marijuana users even if used for medicinal purposes when will the Fed get a clue.June 9, 2005The true history of marijuana is often overshadowed by misinformation. Even in our own country, the true history of marijuana is not known by most of the general public. At one time, cannabis was cultivated by the likes of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and at a certain point in our history it was even 'illegal' for farmers NOT to grow the stuff. It even served as currency in this country, and for the last 60 years or so the Federal government has demonized it.Not to mention a few thousand years of use abroad for a variety of medicinal, commercial, and yes, recreational uses. In America the big turning point came when a greedy alliance formed between the newspaper magnate William Randolf Hearst, the then Attorney General Harry Anslinger, and the DuPont corporation which sewed the seeds (pun intended) of pot's demise. Hearst had an agenda that had more to do with harvesting trees and demonizing Mexicans and other minorities than with marijuana itself. He used yellow journalism to manipulate the public towards his line of thinking. DuPont had just perfected a chemical process for synthetics, and was very concerned with continuing to make money off of their railroad lines.Ansligner was the legal face, the inside man, to twist the truth to achieve the goals of their agenda. These efforts resulted in the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act, which effectively created prohibition via taxation. Farmers could simply not afford to continue to grow. With this act, all uses of hemp (which has NO recreational use value) went out the window. A plant that could be grown in any climate, could grow to over 20 ft. tall in one season, had medicinal qualities, could be used to make fuel, make rope, and hundreds of other uses had been cut off at the pass. then, on a foundation of what this greedy alliance started, marijuana is considered a schedule 1 drug. Which means it is classified as one of the 'worst' drugs available. Even though aspirin kills more people every year, as a matter of fact, pot has never been linked directly to a death. When is the last time you saw a bunch of stoned people knock over a bank, or commit a drive by shooting???The more things change, the more they stay the same. The 'real' reasons for continuing this unnecessary prohibition now has more to do with protecting pharmaceutical companies than it does with protecting the public from a 'dangerous drug'. And the length that the Fed will go to continue to fan the flames of disinformation knows no bounds. The medical value of marijuana is the 'only' one discussed in the public forum today, and despite the overwhelming evidence to the positive aspects and uses of this 'plant' it is HIGHly :-) likely it will remain in a fuzzy purgatory for a long time to come. AlwaysOn Network, LLC 2005
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #7 posted by FoM on June 09, 2005 at 13:35:04 PT
Exactly. You and I really do think so much the same.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by BGreen on June 09, 2005 at 13:33:11 PT
Home Brewing Beer
I've got a friend who brews beer so good I could probably become a heavy drinker, but NOBODY says that his home brew affects interstate commerce even though he shares it with friends and none of us have to go buy the anheuser busch swill.What's the difference?Beats me.The Reverend Bud Green
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by FoM on June 09, 2005 at 12:58:42 PT
Reefer Absurdity 
Will Durst - June 9, 2005 In its finite wisdom, the US Supreme Court upheld the Federal Government's ban on Medical Marijuana -- screwing all ten states that legalized it and leaving a lot of folks in those ten states with superfluous Glaucoma diagnoses. Now first off, let me clarify: I don't smoke pot. I don't. Makes me paranoid. No, I'm serious. I am the author of the paranoid trilogy. "What is it? Who are they? Why me?" I get the munchies, go in a restaurant, the waitress says "hi" and I go, "Yes, I am. I'm sorry. Don't tell my Aunt Mary." But you know what, I don't drink Wild Turkey any more, and yet harbor no desire for that vile liquid to be made illegal either. Justice John Paul Stevens said plaintiffs suffering chronic pain should turn to "the democratic process" for comfort. He addressed this opinion to the two plaintiffs who suffer respectively from a brain tumor and a degenerative spinal disease. I'm thinking the 85-year-old liberal Justice needs to bone up on his bedside manner a bit. "Take two democratic processes and call me in the morning." Wonder if this guy has consulted for any HMOs lately? Going to have to revise the new edition of the Physician's Desk Reference by inserting "Activist Judges" next to "Cottonmouth" under possible side effects. Besides, how can they cite an interstate commerce jurisdiction over homegrown, which, according to Justice Clarence Thomas, "has never been bought or sold, that has never crossed state lines, and that has had no demonstrable effect on the national market for marijuana?" That's right, I'm quoting Clarence Thomas. Which means tomorrow all the residents of hell might want to break out the sleds and earmuffs. Who knows? Maybe it was a stem of Maui Wowie and not a pubic hair on that Coke can. That roar from the red states you hear is the orchestrated shout out that conservatives normally toss whenever we godless heathens have been defeated. And one of the ironies can be found in the accompanying sound of millions of brewskies being popped in celebration. What is wrong with these people? Don't they realize that marijuana grows in the ground? They don't call it "weed" for nothing you know. Think of all the different complicated operations you need to perform in order to make liquor. It's not like you can walk into your backyard and pluck a pina colada off the cocktail tree. Pot: you pick it, dry it and smoke it. Hope you're not saying God screwed up here, are you? It's pot. It's not heroin. It's not acid. It's not even Marlboro Lights. For crum's sake, you can bake it into brownies. Brownies! What's more American than that? And another thing, why do politicians always insist on lumping all drugs together? Even a fourth grader can tell you that crack is to pot like an Uzi is to a banana. Crack: kills. Pot: giggles. Say you do run into a crazed pothead: what's the worst thing that's going to happen to you? Okay, you might get fleas, but that's about it. So there's Twinkie Cream on your shirt, wipe it off. Can't get the song, "Stairway to Heaven" out of your head, deal with it. Potheads don't mug, they hug. The same can not be said about the Supreme Court. Political Comic Will Durst restricts his illicit drug activity to mixing Pop Rocks with his Anchor Steam. Oh yeah, two benefits. One at Cobbs, for the North Beach Mural, on Sunday afternoon; the other Monday night at the Punch Line to raise money for Comedy Day. Make your comedy dollar count! Copyright: 2005 WorkingForChange. All Rights Reserved 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by dididadadidit on June 09, 2005 at 11:45:53 PT
Jury Nullification
"That will not happen quickly, because of the Bush administration's insistence that marijuana is a dangerous drug with no proven medicinal value. Perhaps that opinion will change once critically ill people start crowding federal court dockets."Crowding the federal court dockets may be the choice option in fighting back. Every arrestee needs to demand a jury trial. Then the jury pool needs to be corrupted by a highly visible propaganda campaign, much like in the wake of the Ed Rosenthal fiasco trial. With the publicity, I doubt the feds could get another conviction against Ed in court. Since the federal defendants can't even mention medical in their defense, the jury must be reached before going in with the idea that any marijuana case they sit on, may be medical, and therefore, in the interest of justice, demand acquittal. The judges aren’t likely to inform the jury of their right to consider not only the facts, but the law itself, but the propaganda educating the jury pool must point out this right. We have precedent, both with the fugitive slave laws and in the other great prohibition, alcohol, where juries simply had enough and refused to convict, based on the invalidity of the law itself, not the facts of the case.  See fija on a Google search and you will be directed to the Fully Informed Jury Association which details the rights of jurors.Wouldn’t it be wonderful, if persecution of the medical users, causes non-medical federal cases to be lost as well by the prohibitionists, by widespread jury refusal to convict?Cheers?
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by FoM on June 09, 2005 at 11:42:48 PT
News Article from RedNova News
Physicians and Consumers Approve of Medicinal Marijuana UseThursday, June 9, 2005A new national survey of physicians and members of the general public shows that a clear majority approves of using marijuana for medicinal purposes to relieve chronic fatigue and pain. The national web survey was conducted by HCD Research and the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion (MCIPO) during June 7-8, as part of their continuing investigation of the social, political and economic issues confronting the U.S. health care system. The study conducted among 911 physicians and 1,192 members of the general public indicates that both groups share parallel views on this issue. Among the findings: -- The majority of physicians (73%) and members of the general public (78%) report that they approve of marijuana use to alleviate symptoms such as chronic fatigue, nausea and pain commonly associated with AIDS, cancer and glaucoma. -- 75% of physicians and 80% of the general public believe that the federal government should not be able to prosecute people who use, grow or obtain marijuana prescribed by a doctor for chronic fatigue and pain. -- More than three fourths of physicians (76%) and the public at large (82%) approve of state laws allowing the use of marijuana to alleviate chronic fatigue and pain. "As we have seen in earlier studies, physicians' and the general publics' views are generally in accord with one another," noted Glenn Kessler, co-founder and managing partner, HCD Research. "In this poll, physicians expressed a similar level of support for medicinal marijuana use as they did in our previous research relating to issues such stem cell research, physician-assisted suicide and the Terri Schiavo case."MCIPO Director Chris Borick noted, "The survey results indicate that both physicians and the public maintain views on the use of medicinal marijuana that contrast with the recent Supreme Court decision that supports federal restrictions on the use of medicinal marijuana even when a state permits such use."Headquartered in Flemington, New Jersey, HCD Research is a pioneer in Internet health care marketing and communications research. Headquartered in Allentown, Pennsylvania, MCIPO is a respected source of public opinion data on local, state and national issues. For more information on the survey methodology and results access or to schedule an interview with Glenn Kessler, co-founder and managing partner, HCD Research or Chris Borick, Ph.D., associate political science professor, Muhlenberg College, please contact Vince McGourty, M&M Communications, Inc., at 908-638-5555 or vinmcg Business Wire
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by FoM on June 09, 2005 at 11:30:36 PT
Drug Policy Alliance Press Release
Raich Ruling Maintains Status Quo; Fight Moves to CongressThursday, June 9, 2005The Supreme Court's decision Monday in the Raich medical marijuana case is not likely to endanger most individual growers and patients. The court decided 6-3 that the federal government can prosecute medical marijuana patients, even in states where medical marijuana is legal. However, state laws remain unchanged, and with 99% of marijuana arrests taking place at the state or local level, state medical marijuana laws provide enormous protection for patients and their caregivers. 
Angel Raich and Diane Monson, two medical marijuana patients in California, sued the federal government in 2002 in order to end federal raids on sick people. Though the Supreme Court did not rule in their favor, the decision dealt with issues of interstate commerce rather than the legitimacy of using marijuana for medicinal purposes. In fact, the majority opinion expressed sympathy for medical marijuana patients, declaring that it was up to Congress to change federal law to protect sick and dying patients. Justice Stevens wrote, "...the voices of voters allied with these women may one day be heard in the halls of Congress." 
There is an opportunity to make that happen in the form of an amendment before Congress that would prohibit the U.S. Justice department from spending money to undermine state medical marijuana laws. Introduced by Congressman Hinchey, a Democrat from New York, and Congressman Rohrabacher, a Republican from California, the Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment would modify an Appropriations bill to stipulate that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) could not use any funds to raid medical marijuana patients or otherwise interfere with state medical marijuana law. This amendment has been introduced in past years, and will be up for a vote by this year's Congress early next week. You can urge your Member of Congress to support this bill by taking action here. the meantime, most of the 10 states that already have medical marijuana laws are refusing to be cowed. California Attorney General Bill Lockyer said in the wake of the Supreme Court decision, "Nothing is different today than it was two days ago, in terms of real world impact." And just one day after the ruling, the Rhode Island Senate voted 34-2 to make medical marijuana legal. However, the decision could deter other states from passing medical marijuana legislation in the future. The only sure way to protect patients is to remove the possibility that they will be prosecuted at the federal level. “Congress needs to send a clear message to federal bureaucrats that our nation has higher priorities than busting sick people,” said Bill Piper, the Alliance's Director of National Affairs.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by FoM on June 09, 2005 at 08:23:27 PT
New Mark Fiore Animation
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment