Medical Marijuana Laws Going Up in Smoke

Medical Marijuana Laws Going Up in Smoke
Posted by CN Staff on August 06, 2006 at 20:29:04 PT
By Dick Dahl 
Source: International News Service
USA -- Although the medical marijuana movement received a devastating blow last year when the U.S. Supreme Court negated legal protections in 11 states, lawyers involved in several pending actions say the issue is far from dead. There is a high level of political support for medical marijuana, and clearly that affects the feds, said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the New York-based Drug Policy Alliance. They've been changing their message from, 'There's no such thing as medical marijuana' to 'We're not going to harass the sick and the dying.' That's been an important evolution.
According to attorney Joseph Elford, the DEA has limited its dispensary crackdowns to two situations - facilities that have a connection to other drug investigations and instances where local authorities have requested a federal bust. It's actually played out in somewhat of a comfortable fashion, said Elford, chief counsel for San Francisco-based Americans for Safe Access. In San Francisco, where there are about 30 dispensaries and a city ordinance that regulates them the feds have not made any effort to bust them. But when the federal government does prosecute, the Supreme Court has eliminated any defense based on state medical marijuana laws. In June 2005, the Court ruled in Gonzales vs. Raich, 125 S. Ct. 2195, that state medical marijuana laws pose no barrier to federal drug enforcement. As a result, lawyers who champion the medical use of marijuana are fighting on several fronts to regain their legal footing. The battle is being played out most prominently in California, where the DEA has cracked down on storefront cannabis dispensaries that were legalized under state law in 1996 and arrested several individuals who had permission under state law to use the drug for medicinal purposes. In 1996, California became the first state to allow residents to possess and cultivate marijuana if doctors recommended the drug. Since then, 10 more states - Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington - have passed similar laws. (Arizona also passed a medical marijuana law in 1996, but it has been hung up in legal battles ever since.) Nadelmann believes a statute would pass in every state if put on the ballot, and his confidence is supported by a 2005 Gallup poll that found 78 percent of Americans support making marijuana legally available for doctors to prescribe in order to reduce pain and suffering. Of the eight states that have put the issue on the ballot, all eight have passed the measure. But in the wake of Raich those laws are virtually meaningless, since the court clearly ruled that federal agents have the right to arrest and prosecute users, regardless of how sick they are or whether they have documented permission to use marijuana under state law. Fresno lawyer Robert Rainwater represents Dustin Costa, a man who legally uses medical marijuana under California law, but faces federal criminal charges for cultivation, possession with intent to distribute, and possession of a firearm. Rainwater told Lawyers USA that medical marijuana is pretty much dead as an issue that he can use at trial. I'll try to put it in medical evidence, he said, but the feds don't allow it. It's as simple as that. Elford, of Americans for Safe Access, has several pending cases, including that of Ed Rosenthal, a California man who was arrested by federal authorities in 2002 and convicted by a federal jury of growing marijuana. But only days after rendering their decision, seven of the 12 jurors held a press conference after reading in newspapers that the man they'd convicted was a legal grower who was providing marijuana for people who relied on it for medical purposes. The seven jurors denounced their own verdict. Although U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer had ordered the medical evidence withheld from the jury, he sentenced Rosenthal to just one day in jail. Several press accounts quoted the judge as saying that the extraordinary, unique circumstances of this case were not covered by the usual sentencing rules, so he imposed the lightest term possible. The 9th Circuit heard the case on appeal, and on April 26 overturned Rosenthal's conviction based on evidence that two jurors had learned about the medical marijuana angle during trial, contacted a lawyer to ask if they could refuse to convict on conscientious grounds, and were advised not to do so. The government has 90 days from April 26 to file an appeal. But in the meantime, Elford said his client was not satisfied with merely getting off - he wants to address the issue head on. In keeping with his client's wishes, Elford has petitioned the court for en banc review to reexamine the exclusion of the medical marijuana evidence. In another closely watched case, County of Santa Cruz vs. Ashcroft, a 250-member hospice group, the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM) is facing charges of growing and distributing marijuana to its members. In 2002, the DEA raided WAMM's facilities and seized plants. WAMM sued, becoming the first public entity to file a legal action against the federal government over medical marijuana. The Raich decision scuttled that effort, but in February WAMM filed an amended complaint asserting a Tenth Amendment claim, arguing that the states have the right to regulate the health and welfare of their own citizens. To strengthen that claim, the city of Santa Cruz established an Office of Compassionate Use last fall that will provide marijuana to qualified users, but only if the plaintiff prevails. According to Allen Hopper, senior staff attorney at the ACLU Drug Law Reform Project, the city's direct involvement in the distribution of medical marijuana gives it the right under the Tenth Amendment to opt out of federal drug enforcement. The federal government has engaged in a policy of using its criminal-enforcement powers in a way that violates the Tenth Amendment, Hopper said. They're trying to force California to re- criminalize medical marijuana. And you can't do that. On the other side of the country, a University of Massachusetts scientist has filed suit against the DEA seeking the right to grow marijuana for research purposes. Currently, the federal government holds a monopoly on research marijuana; the National Institute of Drug Abuse produces the only supply of legal marijuana in the country at the University of Mississippi. Hopper, who is representing plaintiff Lyle Craker, contends that DEA has choked off research that could definitively answer questions about marijuana's medical use. The suit claims that a tightly controlled independent research operation like the one Craker has proposed is badly needed. The federal government is very concerned that if marijuana is found to be useful as medicine, that their propaganda campaign about marijuana being an evil, deadly drug will lead people to see that the emperor has no clothes, Hopper said. The Craker case has been fully briefed by both sides before an administrative law judge. The judge's opinion will only be advisory. In addition to the conflict between state and federal law, the medical marijuana issue has also given rise to workplace disputes, where employees' legal ingestion of marijuana runs afoul of employers' policies. The California Supreme Court will hear one of the preeminent cases, Ross vs. Ragingwire Telecommunications. Plaintiff Gary Ross suffered back injuries during his service in the U.S. Air Force and a doctor recommended marijuana to ease his pain. When Ross was hired as a computer hardware technician at Ragingwire, he provided the company with his doctor's recommendation that he use marijuana to ease the pain, according to his lawyer, Stewart Katz of Sacramento. But Ross was fired on his eighth day on the job when a pre-employment drug test came back positive for marijuana. It's sort of perverse when someone is protected by the Compassionate Use Act, but it's not enough for him to keep a job, Katz said. Ross filed suit for employment discrimination, but a trial court and intermediate appellate court focused on the illegality of marijuana under federal law and told Ross he had no cause of action. In December 2005 the state supreme court agreed to hear the case. This article was originally published in Lawyers USA, a sister publication. (c) 2006 St. Louis Daily Record / St. Louis Countian. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning.  Source: International News Service (Australia)Author: Dick Dahl Published: August 6, 2006Copyright: 2006 International News Service Website: CannabisNews Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #26 posted by Wayne on August 08, 2006 at 18:09:30 PT
I just ran the calculation again. Assuming that weed was primo, they might have gotten $2.5 million worth. And they probably spent that much on the airlift.
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Comment #25 posted by Wayne on August 08, 2006 at 18:07:13 PT
OK guys, time for a math quiz... 920 pounds of marijuana, worth $80 million. That's 14,720 ounces, including the stalks. That comes out to...$5,435 per ounce, including the stalks. Yeah, I've got some nice beachfront property I'd like for the chief to take a look at.And....AIRLIFTING marijuana. Wow. There it is, America, YOUR tax dollars at work. Rescuing marijuana from certain doom on a remote hillside.
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Comment #24 posted by FoM on August 08, 2006 at 15:19:14 PT
I See The Cows Grinning Now
Marijuana Gardens with 20,000 Pot Plants Eradicated in South Bay***By Ilene Lelchuk, Chronicle Staff WriterTuesday, August 8, 2006 
 (08-08) 14:37 PDT SAN JOSE -- Santa Clara County Sheriff's deputies on Monday seized and destroyed five marijuana gardens hidden on Mount Hamilton that yielded more than 20,000 pot plants. Authorities said that at maturity, the plants would have had a street value of more than $80 million. The gardens, spread about a half-mile apart, appeared to be tended by cultivators who camped out there, Deputy Serg Palanov said. Deputies found cooking utensils, food and a tent. They also found a loaded .22-caliber rifle at one campsite -- but no caretakers. The camp was hidden among acres and acres of woods. Because of the steep and wooded terrain, authorities had to airlift out the 920 pounds of marijuana plants, Palanov said. Snipped:Complete Article:
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Comment #23 posted by FoM on August 08, 2006 at 15:10:37 PT
Too much! LOL!
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Comment #22 posted by Wayne on August 08, 2006 at 14:47:01 PT
And happy people eating those cows. "Wow, Vladimir, this burger sure is tasty!"
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Comment #21 posted by FoM on August 08, 2006 at 13:28:10 PT
The least they could do is give the pot to the cows like they do in Russia. They would be happy cows then. 
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on August 08, 2006 at 13:25:40 PT
Riverside Medical Marijuana Advocates Frustrated
August 8, 2006 (CBS) RIVERSIDE, Calif. A dozen medical-marijuana advocates abruptly ended a meeting with county planners Monday, saying their concerns were falling on deaf ears, it was reported Tuesday. The group, who ended talks Monday, objected to a land-use ordinance passed in July that prohibits cultivation of the controversial crop in unincorporated Riverside County areas, according to the Riverside Press-Enterprise. County Supervisor Roy Wilson told the Press-Enterprise he had hoped planners would work with medical-marijuana patients to form suitable guidelines before voting on the ordinance. Opponents say that had their input been heeded, the ordinance wouldn't have been forwarded to the Board of Supervisors as is, the Press-Enterprise reports. The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to discuss the issue on Sept. 12Copyright: 2006 CBS Broadcasting Inc.
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Comment #19 posted by Wayne on August 08, 2006 at 08:34:54 PT
FoM: Here's another one
$16 MILLION POT HAUL GOES UP IN SMOKE-- cops seem to be contradicting each other in this one:"The campsite looked like it hadn't been visited for a few days, with sleeping bags dusty and cooking equipment showing no sign of recent use, [Lt. Lee Blackmon] added. 'It is more than likely a lost cause,' he said.""Even if no one is arrested, they figure they've put a dent in area pot-smoking, along with the farmers' profits. 'This is a major victory in our fight against the drug trade in Lancaster County,' said Lt. Paul Harrison, who heads the county's Drug Task Force." it a lost cause or a major victory? There it is right there. Hunting down the growers is a lost cause, but we've put a dent in the pot-smoking! They're only targeting users... and the proof is right here in print! It's not a major victory against the drug trade, Lieutenant, it's a victory against your fellow Americans. Congratulations!
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Comment #18 posted by afterburner on August 08, 2006 at 00:19:59 PT
RE #17
Oh, yeah, I almost forgot: better close all the liquor stores, cigar stores, taverns, pubs, bars, night clubs, distilleries, vintners, breweries, wine shops, coffee shops, cafes, and remove all those offensive drugs (colas, chocolate, tea, beer, wine, whiskey, rum, gin, vodka, cigarettes, cigars, coffee) from vending machines, gas stations, convenience stores, donut shops, restaurants, take-outs and supermarkets. Oh, and let's get that wine out of the churches and synagogues. Only then, can Torrence be saved from the scourge of drugs!
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Comment #17 posted by afterburner on August 07, 2006 at 23:02:20 PT
Dim-bulb of the Week
"I just don't want to see drugs in our city for whatever reason," said Spencer Chan, 59, of Torrance. --US CA: Torrance Council Rejects Medical Marijuana Shops
(Wed, 02 Aug 2006)
Daily Breeze (CA)Fine, let's just close all the Drug Stores (Pharmacies), Medical Supply Companies, and Hospitals in Torrance. Just to be on the safe side better run all the doctors and nurses out of town on a rail, and we'd better raid the medicine cabinet in each and every house or apartment in the community. That should do the trick!
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on August 07, 2006 at 20:29:45 PT
They don't bust people for possession around this area that I know of. It has been decriminalized since the 70s. You can possess anything under 100 grams and only get a $100 fine. It is treated like a traffic ticket basically. We don't have drug violence around this area of the country. 
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on August 07, 2006 at 20:24:43 PT
No she thought it was a waste of time and money. She has been retired a long time now. 
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Comment #14 posted by Wayne on August 07, 2006 at 20:16:54 PT
Yes, but that begs the question: Does she feel that busting users for minor possession IS worth the time and effort? THAT'S the key.
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on August 07, 2006 at 20:08:11 PT
I was told by my sister when she was a police woman that after they changed the laws in my state they don't look for who grows the plants. They just destroy them. She said it was just too hard to get a conviction and wasn't worth the time and effort. 
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Comment #12 posted by Wayne on August 07, 2006 at 19:46:32 PT
disturbing trend
I saw these two articles on NORML:US CA: Clandestine Pot Gardens Cause Ecological Damage-- Pot Farm Could Set Record For Arizona--'ve been noticing a very disturbing trend this year. Whenever police turn up these grow ops, the people are long-gone, and the cops and feds make no effort to go after them. They'll just relocate to somewhere else. Where I'm at in Florida, we've had quite a few sizeable grow houses get busted this year. (The sizes of some of their crops actually made my jaw drop, even in this day and age). But the cops aren't busting anyone for them, they're just taking the weed and leaving. I've seen that result in just about every related article I've read this year.I think this is proof positive that national AND local law enforcement doesn't give a rat's ass about the dealers anymore. They know that it's hopeless to go after the producers, so they'll just pick off the pot-smokers because they're easy targets. The likes of John Walters will claim that they're trying to "reduce demand". But the truth is, it's becoming painfully obvious to everyone that chasing traffickers and growers is like chasing cockroaches. And busting small-time users is the ONLY way they can propagate their usefulness anymore. It's no longer a War on Drugs, it truly is a war on people. And if anyone you know doesn't believe it, show these articles to them. Then ask how our "drug problem" is going to be solved if we don't catch the "bad guys"?
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Comment #11 posted by mayan on August 07, 2006 at 17:13:14 PT
FoM, Afterburner
It's alright. You don't have to give me credit for newshawking!I agree Afterburner, I'd rather the voters decide medical questions than crooked cops,judges and politicians!
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Comment #10 posted by lombar on August 07, 2006 at 15:17:59 PT
It's funny where inspiration comes from sometimes.
He was blasting the US for the Iraq war, defending himself from allegations of profiting by the oil-for-food program.
we need more like him...
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Comment #9 posted by afterburner on August 07, 2006 at 07:26:10 PT
mayan #6
From the link:"And, however well-intentioned, medical marijuana advocates might want to think about whether ballot measures really are the best way to decide medical questions." --Clarity on medical marijuanaYeah, right! You want us to back down, to give up the fight, like many did in the late 1970s, early 1980s. Ain't gonna happen! Ballot initiatives work better than any other method currently available. Sure, we'll stop... when pigs fly.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on August 07, 2006 at 07:19:56 PT
That is a good video. Mayan I'm sorry I didn't see you had posted the links to the articles.
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Comment #7 posted by Max Flowers on August 07, 2006 at 07:06:53 PT
Galloway video
Oh god that was beautiful!! Leave it to a Scot! THAT is what we need done to every bimbo and bimbo-man newscaster on nearly every "news" show that exists. THEN we might start getting some reality back into the world.He put her and her major-media bias in her place so brutally and neatly, it was a wonder to behold. You could hear in her voice how he shook her to her core, though she did a decent job of trying to hide it.That was pure poetry of truth. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, more of the same, in ever-increasing doses.
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Comment #6 posted by mayan on August 07, 2006 at 04:22:20 PT
Medical marijuana dilemma: on medical marijuana:
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Comment #5 posted by billos on August 07, 2006 at 04:03:37 PT
For President !!!
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Comment #4 posted by lombar on August 07, 2006 at 00:53:02 PT
OT - Remember George Galloway?
I am certain this fellow was damning the drug war not so long ago but BOY does he wallop this newscaster! 
British MP blasts media bias on current lebanon/israel conflict.
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Comment #3 posted by Shishaldin on August 06, 2006 at 23:31:09 PT
F*$%ing devious Rethuglicans in Fresno!
They'll do anything to win, except be honest and upfront...Legalizing Marijuana - A New Republican Strategy?
By Mike RhodesThe attractive young woman says to me, "would you sign our petition to legalize marijuana?" I donít have to think twice and say "sure, where do I sign?" That is when it got interesting. She says, "Do you have your ID with you?" "Well, yes I do, but what does that have to do with..." I say as she responds with "oh, we just have to verify your ID." Thinking that this has something to do with making sure they have valid names for a ballot initiative I comply.As Iím filling out my name and address on the petition I notice that the young lady is filling out a very official looking form. Probably just the ballot initiative form, I think to myself. Then, she says "is it OK if I register you as a Republican?" "What?!?"
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Comment #2 posted by mayan on August 06, 2006 at 21:47:52 PT
Medical Cannabis Is Here To Stay 
I don't understand the headline. Medical cannabis laws are not going up in smoke as they are still on the books and are supported by at least 78% of the populace. The federal government's cannabis laws, which are based on lies, are definitely going up in smoke though!Thanks for that link, ekim! Go Dr. Denney! THE WAY OUT IS THE WAY IN... 9/11 conspiracy theorists energized: Five years later, purveyors claim academic momentum: is a Valid Academic Subject: of Deceit: From the Pentagon to the 9/11 Commission to the Public: the government to blame for Sept. 11?,1886,AND_8203_4895005,00.htmlWeb movie takes flight: rebirth of conspiracy theories: For 9/11 Truth:
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Comment #1 posted by ekim on August 06, 2006 at 20:46:30 PT
dispensary crackdowns to two situations -
Comment #1 posted by FoM on August 05, 2006 at 09:51:14 PT 
Dr. Denney Sues the DEA, et al 
Weekend Edition -- August 5 / 6, 2006
Pot ShotsDr. Denney Sues the DEA, et alBy Fred Gardner"This is to keep Big Brother out of my exam room," says Philip A. Denney, MD, explaining the civil suit that attorney Zenia Gilg filed on his behalf Aug. 3 in the U.S. District Court for Eastern California. Denney had been sent documents by a sympathizer revealing that in the Fall of 2005, two individuals -an agent of the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Bureau, and an informer controlled by the Redding Police Department- had obtained his approval to medicate with cannabis by providing false histories. The documents also made reference to a "DEA case number," apparently from another investigation of his practice."Doctors have to trust their patients when taking a history," says Denney. "Violating that trust has a chilling effect on my ability to practice ethical and thorough medicine." Denney's suit claims that he was a target of "an investigation involving the DEA acting under Administrator Karen Tandy, ATF acting under director Carl J. Truscott, Shasta County District Attorney Gerald Benito, the Shasta County Sheriff's Department and Sheriff James Pope, the Redding Police Department and Police Chief Leonard Moty," all of whom are named as defendants. Denney says that the protections afforded doctors by the First Amendment and upheld by a federal-court injunction in the Conant v. Walters case have been ignored by the agencies named in the suit.Complete Article: 
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