Medical Pot Advocates Speak Out

Medical Pot Advocates Speak Out
Posted by CN Staff on February 08, 2006 at 08:07:30 PT
By Jose Carvajal, Staff Writer
Source: North County Times 
Riverside, CA -- Medical marijuana advocates Tuesday continued to voice their opposition to a proposal by Supervisor Jeff Stone that would have the county join San Diego and San Bernardino counties in challenging the state's 9-year-old "Compassionate Use Act." Stone was not swayed.A handful of activists addressed the county supervisors Tuesday to denounce a lawsuit filed by San Diego County late last month in an attempt to overturn the voter-approved medical marijuana law ---- also known as Proposition 215. San Diego County officials say it flouts federal laws that make all marijuana use illegal.
It didn't take San Bernardino County officials long to decide they wanted to follow suit, and it is believed both lawsuits will be combined. Riverside County, if it ultimately decides to take legal action, would join the San Diego County filing.The lawsuit's contention doesn't jibe with the medical marijuana advocates, who staged a modest rally outside the County Administrative Center after they finished addressing the supervisors Tuesday."Prop. 215 is the voters' will, and to try to overturn that is hypocrisy," Amanda Brazel, a Los Angeles field coordinator for the advocacy group Americans for Safe Access, told the board. "When we are sending our men and women overseas to fight for democracy abroad and we don't uphold it at home, that is blasphemy."Francisco Hernandez, another member of Americans for Safe Access, said the federal government itself hasn't attempted to challenge the law. He also noted that San Diego County officials pulled the suit out of federal court last week in an effort to avoid the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ---- a court they say is more friendly to medical marijuana advocates ---- and filed it instead in San Diego Superior Court."Already, they are seeing the folly of their attempts and I urge the board here not to join the San Diego lawsuit," he said.Stone, a pharmacist, had said last week that he planned to discuss joining the suit with fellow board members during a closed session at the Tuesday meeting. But the item was not placed on the agenda, nor was there an announcement when supervisors reconvened after closed session Tuesday to indicate that any action had been taken on the issue.Verne Lauritzen, Stone's chief of staff, said later in the day that his boss still plans to pursue joining the suit. Lauritzen said Stone is waiting for the dust to settle in the wake of San Diego refiling its suit before proceeding."The plan now is to wait for the fallout of that and reassess where we are," Lauritzen said.Stone, for his part, continued to make his case at Tuesday's meeting that the state law contradicts federal statutes.As medical marijuana advocate Dege Coutee addressed the board, Stone interjected that the federal government classifies marijuana in the same group of harmful drugs in which it classifies heroin."Heroin is basically, in the eyes of the federal government, in the same classification as cannabis," he said.Though Coutee replied that marijuana has been proven to be less dangerous than heroin and that the two shouldn't be compared, Stone pressed on."If the citizens of this state go to the ballot and say that they believe heroin should be bought at a heroin dispensary, is your organization going to stand behind that?" he asked Coutee."No, we're here to support medical marijuana," she replied.Source: North County Times (CA)Author: Jose Carvajal, Staff Writer Published: February 8, 2006 Copyright: 2006 North County Times Contact: letters nctimes.comWebsite:       Related Articles & Web Site:Americans For Safe Access Picket County Over Marijuana Suit Worry About County's Challenge Decry Stone's Call for Medical Pot Suit 
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on February 08, 2006 at 14:43:32 PT
Related Article from North County Times 
Stone Misreads Constitution***By Jeff MorellFebruary 7, 2006Supervisor Jeff Stone's assertion that Riverside County should join a lawsuit against the state of California to end the medical marijuana act is both misguided and asinine. The logic behind the lawsuit is that the Supremacy Clause (Article VI) of the U.S. Constitution prohibits states from creating laws that conflict with federal laws; because federal law prohibits the use of marijuana, any state law that allows its use is unconstitutional.On the surface, this argument seems to have some merit. However, I believe that a major component of Article VI is being overlooked by the lawsuit proponents. Specifically, the section of Article VI being cited states, "This Constitution, and the laws of the United states which shall be made in pursuance thereof ... shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding."The phrase "which shall be made in pursuance thereof" adds a very significant and special meaning to the Supremacy Clause. This phrase is what prevents Congress from overwriting the Constitution with inane laws (as opposed to amendments), because ultimately, only those federal laws which are "in pursuance of" the Constitution are allowed this supremacy. 
Otherwise, Congress could pass a law that every state must have the same state bird, and no state, under any circumstances, could bypass such a law. The phrase "in pursuance thereof" means that any law must support and adhere to the Constitution for the Supremacy Clause to apply.The Constitution does not grant Congress the power to prohibit citizens from using drugs. In fact the powers of Congress are not only limited by the Constitution, they are also specifically defined by the Constitution.Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution lays out the specific powers of Congress. The powers granted by this section allow Congress to print money, raise a military, make rules for the government (not the people), declare war, etc., yet do not allow Congress to prohibit citizens from growing, smoking, wearing, eating, playing with, being near, looking at, thinking about, or in any other way interacting with any type of anything (except money), whatsoever (except in the capital, or except as taxes may be levied or commerce regulated.)In fact, when the Congress desired to outlaw the possession and consumption of alcohol, a constitutional amendment was required, as was the amendment to repeal the prohibition amendment. No such original power or amendment exists to support any federal law prohibiting the ingestion of drugs.One constitutional amendment that does speak to the issue(s) of this lawsuit is the 10th Amendment, which states "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." In other words, if Congress enacts a law which is not "in pursuance" of the Constitution, and that law is counteracted by a state law (i.e. medicinal marijuana law), then the state law shall prevail.Riverside County has no business interfering with the right of the People of California to enact laws, as fully authorized by the constitutions of the United States and California. Furthermore, expending public money in any such effort is a dereliction of duty, and a violation of the public trust.Jeff Morell lives in Murrieta.Copyright: 2006 North County Times
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