Supreme Court Action Upholds CA's Medical Pot Law

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  Supreme Court Action Upholds CA's Medical Pot Law

Posted by CN Staff on May 18, 2009 at 10:47:40 PT
By David G. Savage 
Source: Los Angeles Times  

Reporting from Washington -- The Supreme Court rejected appeals today from two hold-out counties in Southern California that object to the state's 13-year-old medical marijuana law and claimed it should be struck down as violating the federal drug-control act. Without comment, the court turned down the pair of appeals.The action likely will clear the way for patients in San Diego and San Bernardino counties to seek county-issued identification cards that show they are eligible to possess and use marijuana.
These identification cards have been required under state law since 2004, but the two counties have refused to issue them. Their lawyers had asserted the state's authorization for using medical marijuana conflicted with the zero-tolerance policy set by federal law."Our theory is that a state law which authorizes people to violate federal law is preempted" and, therefore, unconstitutional, Thomas Bunton, a deputy county counsel in San Diego, said last week.Federal officials have continued to insist that all use of marijuana is illegal, even in states such as California. However, Atty. Gen. Eric Holder said recently that the federal government will not devote great effort to prosecuting low-level marijuana cases.Lawyers for San Diego and San Bernardino counties had gone to court seeking a clear ruling on whether the state law violated the federal drug law. San Diego NORML, a marijuana advocacy group, had threatened to sue the county in 2005 for not complying with the state law by refusing to issue identification cards.Last year, a state appeals court upheld the California medical marijuana law and said it was not rendered void by the federal drug law. The California Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from the two counties.However, both counties appealed to the Supreme Court, but their appeals were dismissed today.Graham Boyd, director of the ACLU's Drug Reform Law Project, said today's order "marks a significant victory for medical marijuana patients and their advocates nationwide." It dispels any remaining doubts that the state laws are valid, he said, and it "leaves ample room for states to move forward . . . with independent medical marijuana policies."Since California's voters adopted the Compassionate Use Act in 1996, 12 other states have approved measures permitting medical use of marijuana. The others are Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. The New Hampshire Legislature passed a similar measure recently that awaits action by the governor.The federal government, however, has continued to insist that the sale or use of marijuana is illegal under the Controlled Substances Act. This 1970 law designates marijuana as a Schedule I drug that has "no currently accepted medical use" in the United States.Federal authorities also have asserted they can arrest and prosecute all those who use or sell marijuana in California and other states that have authorized medical use of the drug.Four years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that Congress and the federal government had the constitutional authority to regulate the sale and use of marijuana under its power over interstate commerce. The 6-3 decision, in the case of Gonzales versus Raich, rejected the claim that personal use of homegrown marijuana was off limits to federal authority. But the court did not rule then on whether the state's law allowing medical use of marijuana was void because it conflicted with the federal drug-control law.In its appeal, San Diego county's lawyers had questioned whether the California law authorizing medical use of marijuana "is preempted under the Supremacy Clause" of the Constitution by the federal law forbidding all use of marijuana.Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)Author: David G. SavagePublished: May 18, 2009Copyright: 2009 Los Angeles TimesContact: letters latimes.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives

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Comment #28 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on May 19, 2009 at 13:23:34 PT
dongenero #23
Equal with Preparation H is all we ask.
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Comment #27 posted by runruff on May 19, 2009 at 06:06:05 PT
Been there, done that, couldn't afford the tee shirt! [after they got through with me]
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Comment #25 posted by John Tyler on May 18, 2009 at 22:09:10 PT

just maybe
Related to #6 and medical cannabis… If the Feds will lay off of medical cannabis use if no state laws are violated, would they / could they also lay off of regular use if no state laws are violated either as in a statewide legal cannabis industry. 
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Comment #24 posted by MikeC on May 18, 2009 at 18:47:26 PT

That is great mews! Unfortunately governor Tim Pawlenty says he is going to veto this because Minnesota Law Enforcement officials don't like it. It's time for him to be voted out of office.
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Comment #23 posted by dongenero on May 18, 2009 at 18:37:53 PT

The governments' pot garden
This is a quote from Mr. ElSohly, director of the US governments marijuana garden at the University of Mississippi: "ElSohly said he personally opposes the legalization of marijuana for recreational use, believing that it would increase abuse of the drug.But he says that it has medical benefits for cancer patients and others but that smoking the drug is a poor means of medicating a person.His first effort to develop a pharmaceutically acceptable means of delivering the drug flopped, he says.His delivery device: a suppository."People really don't like suppositories, so it really didn't make it on the market," he said.He is now developing a delivery method that works like a skin patch but tucked into the mouth."Pretty humorous considering it is a schedule 1 drug with no medicinal value according to his boss, the US Govt.Unfortunately, the article fails to mention the part about this lab rolling up joints that they send out in the amount of several pounds a month to patients in the NIDA's Compassionate Use Program.No mention either of he US Govt holding the patents on medical marijuana either.I would also mention that smoking as delivery method is still apparently better than his suppository idea! Hey, try a vaporizer buddy. You don't have to wash your hands when your done.
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Comment #22 posted by FoM on May 18, 2009 at 18:37:01 PT

House Vote on a Medical Marijuana Bill
The Associated Press - Tuesday, May 19, 2009
 St. Paul, MN -- Votes Monday as the House, on a 70-64 vote, approved a measure to allow terminally ill patients to use medical marijuana. Voting yes were 63 Democrats and 7 Republicans. Voting no were 24 Democrats and 40 Republicans.URL:
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Comment #21 posted by Vincent on May 18, 2009 at 16:40:54 PT:

States Rights
To those of you that are old enough to remember the Civil Rights era of the 1960s might recall the "States Rights" issue that conservatives in general, and the 1968 Presidential candidate Gov. George Wallace in particular, were pushing. That was meant to take the feds off their backs regarding Segregation, which was dying at the time, and economic & social issues. They were adamant about the issue.Fast forward to this era. The South, generally, has remained conservative but, the Northeast, Midwest and Pacific coast states have become more advanced re: social and economic issues (like they point out in "the Family Guy"--I love when they goof on Rednecks!) That is why these Bible-bangers don't talk about States Rights anymore. They don't care about "States Rights"--they care about shoving their ignorant beliefs down our throats. In their small little pea-brains, acceptance of Marijuana is an idea that is a danger to their authority.P.S. If Roe vs. Wade, the abortion ruling, were overturned and the issue sent back to the states, do you REALLY believe that Christian fundamentalists would be satisfied?
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on May 18, 2009 at 15:40:03 PT

Government Runs Nation's Only Legal Pot Garden
May 18, 2009OXFORD, Mississippi (CNN) -- Here, in what could be called the Fort Knox of dope, Mahmoud ElSohly waits patiently as an assistant unlocks the stainless steel door to a climate-controlled vault. 
 Once inside, under the gaze of security cameras and a blinking motion sensor, another scientist pries open the lid of a large cardboard barrel, opens a large plastic bag and digs his hand into the vat of meticulously manicured marijuana.URL:
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Comment #19 posted by FoM on May 18, 2009 at 15:35:16 PT

A Taste Of Help To Keep Cancer Patients' Pounds Up
May 18, 2009Excerpt: Among options are a synthetic version of an ingredient from marijuana; cancer experts don't promote smoking marijuana although some advocates claim it helps.URL:
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on May 18, 2009 at 14:47:26 PT

charmed quark
I agree.
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Comment #17 posted by charmed quark on May 18, 2009 at 14:45:35 PT

They did us a favor
Those California counties trying to get the state med. marijuana law overturned did all of us in other state who are trying to pass our own MM laws a big favor. By forcing it all the way to the Supreme Court and getting refused, they have removed a major objection to state MM laws and will make it a lot easier to pass these laws.OTOH - if I was a resident in those counties, I'd be pissed at the huge waste of money by those county officials and work hard to vote them out of office.
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Comment #16 posted by Had Enough on May 18, 2009 at 14:43:57 PT

Results of Prohibition
I found these in the link at comment #12***Police Find 3 Severed Heads In S. MexicoBodies Found In Taxi About Mile AwayFrom the article…
Mexican cartels frequently mutilate or decapitate their victims as part of drug violence that has killed more than 10,750 in the last 2 1/2 years.Click to see the whole thing…***Stakes rise as drug war threatens to cross borderDecember 2008 report by the Justice Department's National Drug Intelligence Center revealed that Mexican drug traffickers can be found in more than 230 U.S. citiesAnd…The violence that has spilled over into the U.S. has been restricted to the players in the drug trade -- trafficker-on-trafficker, DEA agents say. But law enforcement officials and analysts who spoke with CNN agree that it is only a matter of time before innocent people on the U.S. side get caught in the cartel crossfire.It's coming. I guarantee, it's coming," said Michael Sanders, a DEA spokesman in Washington.Sinaloa cartel leader Guzman's shoot-to-kill instructions aren't limited to Mexican authorities and cartel rivals; they also include U.S. law enforcement officials, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing sources and intelligence memos. The move is seen as dangerously brazen, the newspaper reported. In the past, the cartels have tried to avoid direct confrontation with U.S. law enforcement.Sinaloa cartel leader Guzman's shoot-to-kill instructions aren't limited to Mexican authorities and cartel rivals; they also include U.S. law enforcement officials, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing sources and intelligence memos. The move is seen as dangerously brazen, the newspaper reported. In the past, the cartels have tried to avoid direct confrontation with U.S. law enforcement.But $700 million pales in comparison with the wealth amassed by just one target. Guzman, who started in collections and rose to lead his own cartel, is said to be worth $1 billion after more than two decades in the drug trade.He made this year's Forbes list of the richest of the rich, landing between a Swiss tycoon and an heir to the Campbell's Soup fortune. Popular Mexican songs, called narcocorridos, embellish the myth of the poorly educated but charismatic cartel leader.Click too see the whole article…***This stuff needs to end,,,and NOW…This is no laughing/snickering matter…and there is nothing more to talk about, it’s all been said... no more studies need to be made…no more political-poppycock posturing…Just end this madness. How many more times??? Treat people the way you wanna do?

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Comment #15 posted by NikoKun on May 18, 2009 at 14:05:41 PT

States Rights are a CORE concept of America!
America was founded on the idea that the states govern themselves, and are united together as a country.
The federal government was never meant to police within states, yet the drug war has completely changed that, to these backwards idealists. Now they want the federal government to come in, and overturn state laws they don't agree with. -_-The states are supposed to disagree with the federal on some issues, because the fed is not always correct! They are not infallible! Not by a long shot.A core value our constitution is supposed to protect, is the right of states to govern themselves.
The federal government are the ones that are behaving wrongly, and unconstitutionally.Good lord, how can these people be so backwards... Who let them have any say in our government? They CLEARLY didn't pass a basic constitution test.
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on May 18, 2009 at 13:39:14 PT

Ill. Medical Marijuana Vote Expected Tuesday
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Comment #13 posted by Sam Adams on May 18, 2009 at 13:34:27 PT

Interesting to read the judge's and proscutor's pathetic excuses for sending away a disabled Veteran that never hurt or robbed anyone to prison for 10 years."He WANTED to go" "My hands were tied" etc etc I say stand up and say you're proud to jail him. Have pride and integrity in your decisions or find another job. This fake apologism is a disgrace.we need to get federal mand. mins removed in the next few years too
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on May 18, 2009 at 12:58:43 PT

Pot Activist Sentenced To 10 Years 
May 18, 2009URL:
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on May 18, 2009 at 12:53:56 PT

US Supreme Court Lets Medical Pot Law Stand
By Josh Richman, Oakland TribuneMay 18, 2009The U.S. Supreme Court has killed a lawsuit that sought to challenge the validity of one of California's key medical marijuana laws.By refusing Monday to review the lawsuit brought in 2006 by San Diego County and later joined by San Bernardino County, the court let stand the state law requiring counties to issue identification cards to qualified medical-marijuana patients. The ID card program was adopted in 2004 under SB 420, the Medical Marijuana Program Act; the cards are meant to protect patients by helping law enforcement officers discern protected medical marijuana use from illicit recreational use.URL:
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on May 18, 2009 at 12:40:36 PT

Eddy Lepp
He will start his sentence in July. Let's get this movement fired up and get medical marijuana further down the road a little and maybe we can help Mr. Lepp and others.We are growing daily with many people reading CNews. It very well could be our time to get this done.
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on May 18, 2009 at 12:31:51 PT

U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Prop. 215 Challenge
By Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff WriterMonday, May 18, 2009San Francisco, CA -- California's medical marijuana law survived its most serious legal challenge today as the U.S. Supreme Court denied appeals by two counties that argued they were being forced to condone violations of federal drug laws.The justices, without comment, denied a hearing to officials from San Diego and San Bernardino counties who challenged Proposition 215, an initiative approved by state voters in 1996 that became a model for laws in 12 other states. It allows patients to use marijuana for medical conditions with their doctor's recommendation.The counties specifically objected to legislation requiring them to issue identification cards that protect holders from arrest by state or local police for possessing small amounts of marijuana for medical use.URL:
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on May 18, 2009 at 12:27:27 PT

I really don't think there will be any pardons until the laws are totally changed. We still have a long way to go but it isn't as far as it was anymore.
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on May 18, 2009 at 12:25:30 PT

Related Article From The Desert Sun
US Supreme Court Will Not Hear Marijuana CaseURL:
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Comment #6 posted by Sam Adams on May 18, 2009 at 12:23:15 PT

These articles never say how much this whole adventure cost the taxpayers. Everybody knew this would happen at the outset, these two counties must have wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal feesNow hopefully all these medical cases have set a precedent for legalization, the feds stay away unless local laws are being broken.We need some pardons for people in jail in CA from the White House though.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on May 18, 2009 at 11:43:42 PT

I'm really sorry.
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on May 18, 2009 at 11:31:32 PT

I'm sorry to hear things have been going that badly for you. I hope it's a good summer for you, too.
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Comment #3 posted by duzt on May 18, 2009 at 11:26:34 PT

Great news!!
Well, after losing my house, my girlfriend of five years and my job (still have glassblowing at least), I'm happy to hear some good news. Looks like California is going to be opening up a bit on the medical front so that should be good for everybody. Looking forward to a good summer, at least it will be a bit more relaxing with the dogs being called off.
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Comment #2 posted by E_Johnson on May 18, 2009 at 11:25:02 PT

The death of the GOP is now complete
Arguing for federal supremacy -- there goes their claims on small government forever.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on May 18, 2009 at 10:53:22 PT

Good News
Onward and upward!
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