Medical Pot Users Deal With Legal Setbacks

Medical Pot Users Deal With Legal Setbacks
Posted by CN Staff on January 21, 2006 at 07:20:05 PT
By Brian Seals, Sentinel Staff Writer
Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel
Santa Cruz -- Everyday about 2 p.m. Hal Margolin puts a small amount of marijuana into a pipe, then takes a few puffs. Slowly, the pain he feels no longer preoccupies his thoughts, he says, and he can get on with his life."It distracts me from obsessing," said Margolin, 73. But while his body may be taking comfort, the same can't be said of his mind.
The medical marijuana movement in California has faced setbacks during the past year. Many users say they are leery of federal raids and other challenges to state medical pot policy.Six months after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling essentially saying the federal government could enforce its drug regulations even in states that have medical marijuana laws, another challenge of California's law is brewing.On Friday, San Diego County said it would file a federal suit challenging the validity of the state's medical marijuana law that was approved by voters in 1996 under Proposition 215. Whatever the outcome of the San Diego case, concerns are heightened among an already distraught group who use medical pot.Since June's Supreme Court ruling, Santa Cruz County medical marijuana users say they are conserving their medicine, not knowing what the future holds. Valerie Corral, co-founder of the Santa Cruz-based Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana, said group members are using more pharmaceutical medications instead of marijuana, which is pinching them financially.The group has also changed the way it operates, Corral says. It no longer has a collective garden, fearful of a federal raid like one that happened in September 2002, and now individual members grow for themselves and others."We're asking community members to be caregivers and grow for our patients," she said. Margolin, for example, said he has cut back to about 5 grams per week compared with up to 8 grams per week before the ruling. That means living with the pain and nausea through the morning and waiting until the afternoon to smoke, he says."I worry about it almost every day," Margolin said. "I don't know what we are going to do once we run out of medicine."In November, San Diego County said it would not abide by a state identification care program mandated by state law. That has sparked yet another debate about the state's decade-old law."It's the will of the people," said Corral. "Really it's just short of fascism to go around the will of the people."San Diego County officials say they are simply seeking an order freeing them from having to comply with state law requiring counties to issue medical marijuana identification cards."The Board of Supervisors here did not believe the state should be mandating them to issue these cards when federal law says marijuana is illegal," said John Sansone, San Diego County counsel.The federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 considers marijuana to be a drug with no medicinal value.A ruling in favor of San Diego County could apply to other jurisdictions who didn't want to follow the state's medical pot laws, he said.The American Civil Liberties Union plans to intervene in the federal suit filed by San Diego County, said Anjuli Verma, spokeswoman with the group's Drug Law Reform Project in Santa Cruz. "We think San Diego County is hiding behind this false fear about the identification cards because they politically disagree with medical marijuana," Verma said.Whether it would overturn the state's law altogether  affecting places like Santa Cruz County where officials have readily accommodated patients who use pot  remains to be seen. "It really depends on how the court is going to rule," Sansone said.The San Diego suit names the state of California and state Department of Health Services Director Sandra Shewry.The department had no comment on the suit, said spokeswoman Lea Brooks. The department has issued 779 medical marijuana identification cards in 15 counties, she said. That does not include Santa Cruz County, which has its own medical marijuana ID card program. Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA)Author: Brian Seals, Sentinel Staff Writer Published: January 21, 2006 Copyright: 2006 Santa Cruz SentinelContact: editorial santa-cruz.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:ACLU Raid: News and Pictures Files Suit To Overturn Med Marijuana Law Diego Fights Medical Marijuana Law
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Comment #2 posted by unkat27 on January 21, 2006 at 08:35:33 PT
Drug War Profiteers: Vampires and Vultures
"Valerie Corral, co-founder of the Santa Cruz-based Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana, said group members are using more pharmaceutical medications instead of marijuana, which is pinching them financially."Yep, herein lies the real reason why cannabis is being continually demonized and users continually criminalized: corporate profiteering, specifically, the profits of Big Pharma. They don't give a damn about the medicinal value of cannabis and how it helps people, they care much more about their millions in annual profit from pharmaceuticals, which are the only legal alternative available to most medicinal cannabis users. They are so obsessed with their millions in annual profit, that they all get together to finance lobbies against cannabis legalization in DC every time the bill goes to Congress. Vampires, that's what they are. Blood-suckers of the worst kind, determined to make people weak and dependent upon them, to keep the profit rolling in.
Vampires and Vultures: Drug War Profiteers
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Comment #1 posted by mayan on January 21, 2006 at 08:06:05 PT
Here to Stay
Medical Cannabis is out of the bag and here to stay. Those who oppose it will find their efforts to be futile and their political careers cut short. Attention, prohibitionists! You are the vast minority and getting lonelier every single day! 
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