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Old 11-30-2004, 04:12 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Medicinal Marijuana + Supreme Court

http://www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/11/29/sc....ap/index.html

Quote:
Supreme Court weighs marijuana as medicine
Attorneys for White House, women press their cases
Monday, November 29, 2004 Posted: 6:49 PM EST (2349 GMT)


WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court questioned whether state medical marijuana laws might be abused by people who aren't really sick as it debated on Monday whether the federal government can prosecute patients who smoke pot on doctors' orders.

Watching the argument was Angel Raich, an Oakland, California, mother of two who said she tried dozens of prescription medicines to ease the pain of a brain tumor and other illnesses before she turned to marijuana. She and another ill woman, Diane Monson, filed a lawsuit to protect their access to the drug after federal agents confiscated marijuana plants from Monson's yard.

Their attorney, Randy Barnett of Boston, told the justices that his clients are law-abiding citizens who need marijuana to survive. Marijuana may have some negative side effects, he said, but seriously sick people are willing to take the chance because the drug helps them more than traditional medicines.

The justices refused three years ago to protect distributors of medical marijuana from federal charges. They are confronting a more personal issue this time -- the power of federal agents to go after sick people who use homegrown cannabis with their doctors' permission and their states' approval.

The stakes are high because 11 states have passed medical marijuana laws since 1996. A defeat for the two California women might undermine those laws and discourage other states from approving their own.

A loss for the government, on the other hand, could jeopardize federal oversight of illegal drugs and raise questions in other areas such as product safety and environmental activities. A Bush administration lawyer told the justices they would be encouraging people to use potentially harmful marijuana if they were to side with the women.

"Smoked marijuana really doesn't have any future in medicine," said Paul Clement, acting solicitor general.

Justice David H. Souter said about 10 percent of people in America use illegal drugs, and states with medical marijuana laws might not be able to stop recreational users from taking advantage.

"Everybody will say mine is medical," Justice Stephen Breyer said.

And Justice Antonin Scalia said there are many people with "alleged medical needs."

Despite the tenor of the debate, the case is hard to predict. The justices will rule before next summer.

The marijuana users won in the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that federal prosecution of medical marijuana users is unconstitutional if the pot is not sold, transported across state lines or used for nonmedicinal purposes.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the federal government has a stake in interstate commerce, but with the California medical marijuana patients: "Nobody's buying anything. Nobody's selling anything."

Her colleague, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, observed that homegrown medical marijuana never makes it to the interstate market.

Conservatives like Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, Justice Clarence Thomas and Scalia generally have supported states' rights to set their own policies.

Rehnquist, who is undergoing treatment for thyroid cancer, missed Monday's argument and is not expected to return to the court until January, at the earliest.

Raich said she hopes the 80-year-old chief justice's chemotherapy treatments "would soften his heart about the issue."

"I think he would find that cannabis would help him a lot," said Raich, who uses marijuana every few hours for scoliosis, a brain tumor, chronic nausea and other illnesses.

California's law allows people to grow, smoke or obtain marijuana for medical needs with a doctor's recommendation. Besides California, other states with such laws are: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.

Medical marijuana was an issue in the November elections. Montana voters easily approved a law that shields patients, their doctors and caregivers from arrest and prosecution for medical marijuana. Oregon rejected a measure that would have expanded its medical marijuana program dramatically.

The case is Ashcroft v. Raich, case no. 03-1454.
I think the Supreme Court should help the states that have passed laws in support of medical marijuana. Marijuana really does help people, im not sure why folks find this so hard to believe. Some people ahve to take 10-50+ pills PER DAY. That would make ANYONE nauseous, especially every day. Marijuana helps greatly with combating nausea. Also some of the drugs ill people take decreases their appetite to the point where thy have no inclination to eat whatsoever. That feeling that says "you're hungry, get yourself some food" just is not there. In other cases the nausea is the culprit, caused by either their condition or the medication they take. Also in the case of this woman with the brain tumor many other drugs have been tried to try to combat the pain. Marijuanaa is what helps.. it's legal in her state, but not in the country, so she is greeted by federal agents with guns storming into her house and onto her property to confiscate the medicine that helps her live life with some semblance of normalcy.

Personally i believe that all drugs should be legal for use in any way an individual sees fit. If the government feels the need to enforce anything it should be the way doctors distribute these drugs. If a doctor is to tell someone how to use a drug they should know what it does, and the problems it may cause. However if an idividual wishes to medicate themselves they should be allowed to. Manufacturing of experimental non-natural drugs (ones that a company patents) could be under some government supervision, especially when it comes to the way doctors distribute it. But thats about it. This is a whole other issue but i felt the need to explain my views on drugs for reference.
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Old 11-30-2004, 05:47 AM   #2 (permalink)
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The question before the court really isn't if marijuana has medical uses, but if state law can trump federal law. As such they should rule against the states in this case reguardless of the medical issues.

It is the federal law which should be changed.
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Old 11-30-2004, 07:32 AM   #3 (permalink)
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States rights to govern itself or federal oversight.........right first time.
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Old 11-30-2004, 08:15 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Somehow it's okay for people to use Vicodin, Valium, Viagra, Darvocet, etc. recreationally and to have that use subsidized by taxpayers, but when you cut Big Pharmacy out of the loop and grow your own cancer medicine you're threatening the fabric of society. Uh huh I see how this works. We'll all be popping Soma with our coffee soon.

I will be very interested in Rehnquist's decision. I hope he understands that not everyone can afford the healthcare he recieves.
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Old 11-30-2004, 08:20 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Locobot
Somehow it's okay for people to use Vicodin, Valium, Viagra, Darvocet, etc. recreationally and to have that use subsidized by taxpayers, but when you cut Big Pharmacy out of the loop and grow your own cancer medicine you're threatening the fabric of society. Uh huh I see how this works. We'll all be popping Soma with our coffee soon.

I will be very interested in Rehnquist's decision. I hope he understands that not everyone can afford the healthcare he recieves.
So your take is that its just the big corporations which are to blame and it has nothing to do with federal drug laws?
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Old 11-30-2004, 08:26 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ustwo
So your take is that its just the big corporations which are to blame and it has nothing to do with federal drug laws?
over half of the federal drug laws are written in support of the pharma corps for their protection......and benefit maybe?
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Old 11-30-2004, 08:31 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dksuddeth
over half of the federal drug laws are written in support of the pharma corps for their protection......and benefit maybe?
Perhaps (see my sig for statistics) but this is not one of that half. These laws were written in responce to the drug addiction problems of the late 18 and early 1900's
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Old 11-30-2004, 08:36 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ustwo
So your take is that its just the big corporations which are to blame and it has nothing to do with federal drug laws?

I'm not sure if you're being coy but yes I believe that many Federal Drug laws exist solely to protect the holdings of big corporations. There's a fairly strong money trail, hell it's a money interstate, from the Pharmacutical industry to the Bush administration who happen to be the ones bringing this to court.
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Old 11-30-2004, 08:37 AM   #9 (permalink)
 
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was marijuana addictive in the late 19th century?

here is a webhistory of these laws:

http://www.druglibrary.org/olsen/dpf/whitebread05.html

the origin story is interesting. not exactly what you might expect.
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Old 11-30-2004, 08:41 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ustwo
Perhaps (see my sig for statistics) but this is not one of that half. These laws were written in responce to the drug addiction problems of the late 18 and early 1900's
Well the marijuana stamp act was enacted in 1937 and the drug was made schedule I in 1970. So marijuana specifically was not made illegal in "responce to the drug addiction problems of the late 18 and early 1900's."

roachboy beat me to it
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Old 11-30-2004, 08:55 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I will be the first to say that marijuana is not as bad as most of the schedule I drugs, in terms of addiction and side effects.

That being said I see no proof that its corporations that are behind keeping it illegal, nor do I see that the pressing issue with the Supreme court. Now since the supreme court is a bit wacky lately, they may decide they should decide law instead of 'the people' again, but that is another issue.
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Old 11-30-2004, 09:25 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Well ostensibly no, drug laws are not enacted or enforced to protect corporations directly. But let's be clear, we're talking about the right for sick people to grow an herb in their house that makes them feel better with a doctor's approval and a license from the state. Who in this situation has the most to lose? The drug manufacturers certainly, but also organized crime. The black market value for pot would plummet if sick people no longer had to "find a college student" to purchase the drug through illegal channels.
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Old 11-30-2004, 09:35 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Hmm, what I have heard of the origins of the, at least federal, marijuana ban were that it was a joint effort between the tobacco industry and lumber/paper industry which successfully lobbied to make it and all hemp products made illegal to keep it from cutting into their business.
Is this right or wrong?
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Old 11-30-2004, 10:14 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Superbelt
Hmm, what I have heard of the origins of the, at least federal, marijuana ban were that it was a joint effort between the tobacco industry and lumber/paper industry which successfully lobbied to make it and all hemp products made illegal to keep it from cutting into their business.
Is this right or wrong?
It is correct, but I don't think this was ever officially given as the rationale for the ban nor was this the only reason for it. The government had a "Hemp for Victory" campaign during world war two, so I'm not sure how much sway the paper/rope lobby actually had.
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Old 11-30-2004, 10:53 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Yeah, of course they wouldn't just come out and say that. They just gave plenty of money to congressmen, maybe funded studies about the harmful, moral shattering effects of marijuana and let it take it's course.

I find it easy to picture big pharma doing the same thing today to keep it illegal in all phases. It's a drug that is relatively cheap, especially as it can be grown easily at home. That cuts into the tens of thousands of dollars a year they can make on each individual for pain reduction, appetite enhancers etc...
It's a logical business decision, just not an ethical one.
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Old 11-30-2004, 11:14 AM   #16 (permalink)
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There were many reasons for the current drug laws we have, some have been mentioned already in this thread. Marijuana was also made illegal because those scary dark skinned mexicans smoked it and this was a good excuse to arrest them. Orientals used opium a lot, those guys didn't look quite european enough. So racism was a big part of it.
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Old 11-30-2004, 11:42 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Another corollary being the affluent suburban white housewifes doing coke and "freebase" in the 70s and eighties but once it hit the intercity it was suddenly a "crack" epidemic. Yep good ol' fashioned American racism.
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Old 11-30-2004, 12:39 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_wall
There were many reasons for the current drug laws we have, some have been mentioned already in this thread. Marijuana was also made illegal because those scary dark skinned mexicans smoked it and this was a good excuse to arrest them. Orientals used opium a lot, those guys didn't look quite european enough. So racism was a big part of it.
Bingo.

That's the version I learned in History of Narcotics from the crim/soc perspective.
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Old 11-30-2004, 01:26 PM   #19 (permalink)
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And here I was thinking that perhaps the most important reason for it being illegal is because of the potential to fuck up the health care system even more.
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Old 11-30-2004, 02:11 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Justsomeguy
And here I was thinking that perhaps the most important reason for it being illegal is because of the potential to fuck up the health care system even more.
You learn something new every day eh? Every drug has negative side effects, with marijuana these could be minimized by using a vaporizer or by ingesting it. Some of the commonly listed negative side effects of marijuana include euphoria and uncontrollable laughter -- sounds terrible.
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Old 11-30-2004, 02:30 PM   #21 (permalink)
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I find it hypocritical that we make marijuana illegal because it "may" cause health problems, but leave tabacoo legal, and we know it causes health problems. Plus people abuse oxycotton if they can get their hands on it and oxycotton is legal for medicinal use, so why cant marijuana be legal for medical use?
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Old 11-30-2004, 02:57 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Locobot
Every drug has negative side effects
Which makes me wonder what the hell was the CEO at Merck thinking with the voluntary recall of Vioxx. Slap a label on the damn box and take a few law suits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dwayne
I find it hypocritical that we make marijuana illegal because it "may" cause health problems, but leave tabacoo legal, and we know it causes health problems. Plus people abuse oxycotton if they can get their hands on it and oxycotton is legal for medicinal use, so why cant marijuana be legal for medical use?
I have no problem with your drug use. But, it is kind of shitty to try to justify that something being accepted because something else shitty is currently being accepted.
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Old 12-01-2004, 04:56 AM   #23 (permalink)
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You see, I think drugs have done some good things for us. I really do. And If you don't believe drugs have done good things for us, do me a favour. Go home tonight take all your albums, all your tapes and all your CDs and burn them. 'Cause You know what the musicians that made all that great music that's enhanced your lives throughout the years? RrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrEAL fucking high on drugs... The Beatles were so fucking high they let Ringo sing a few songs.
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Old 12-01-2004, 06:36 AM   #24 (permalink)
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The Beatles were so fucking high they let Ringo sing a few songs.
LMAO ah, that's great.
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Old 12-01-2004, 08:01 AM   #25 (permalink)
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This case and this thread really isn't about the kind of recreational drug use that leads to a Magical Mystery Tour. It is more about the drugs that George Harrison had available to him on his deathbed sick with cancer. I'm sure George was, at the most, a phone call to Paul away from all the marijuana he could possibly want.
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Old 12-01-2004, 08:21 AM   #26 (permalink)
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FYI, as noted above, as much as the spinsters want to say this is about health care, this case is really about states' rights: can the federal government prohibit something in a state when the state says it is legal?

The health care issue provides the backdrop for the case, and holds some persuasive value for those making the arguments on either side (pro pot: "these people are in pain! why won't you let us help them?" anti pot: "these laws are loosely-worded stepping stones to legalization! won't someone think of the children?").

But, again, this case is not about health care. The Supreme Court is not deciding whether pot laws are good or bad, and is not deciding whether pot has medical applications.

I am curious, though, about a correlation: what percentage of people who support medical marijuana laws also support decriminalization? In other words, how many people on states' rights side of this issue also want to be able to smoke up legally?

Assuming the percentage is pretty high (no pun intended), is this all a smokescreen (pun intended, since I'm on a roll) for legalization?
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Old 12-01-2004, 08:43 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by balderdash111
FYI, as noted above, as much as the spinsters want to say this is about health care, this case is really about states' rights: can the federal government prohibit something in a state when the state says it is legal?
As provided in the constitution, yes, yes they can.
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Old 12-01-2004, 09:13 AM   #28 (permalink)
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I am all for decriminalization. I would like to smoke it legally. It is an issue of freedom of choice to do with your own body, what you want. The drug is no more harmful in moderation than alcohol and in excess the same as regular tobacco usage. Our society is hypocritical in it's selective criminalization.

That said, I can settle now to allow people who need the drug to be able to have access to it to provide them with the best possible means of therapy. It isn't a smokescreen to me, just cause I do want to see both.
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Old 12-01-2004, 09:33 AM   #29 (permalink)
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When you think of the medical bills the government already pays for alchohol and tabaco health issues, do we need to add more?

I'm all for drug legalization but ONLY from a libertarian view point. When you are sick/dying/starving/whatever from your habbit, we don't foot the bill.
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Old 12-01-2004, 09:41 AM   #30 (permalink)
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I think there are too many vested interests with Drug money for drugs to ever be legalized. I was watching some movie about Bush and 9/11, the guy was a former LA cop who exposed the CIA selling crack in the inner city... at any rate, there is so much drug money tied up in our exchange and economies that we would bottom out if they were made legal, something with the SEC, I can't remember, I was probably stoned and or getting stoned while watching it.

That being said, you know something is fucked up when the average person convicted of a non-violent marijuana charge serves more time that a rapist or person convicted of man slaughter.
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Old 12-01-2004, 09:57 AM   #31 (permalink)
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The DEA has done some horrible things in its time, including raiding a house of old people who grew and used their legal medical marijuana in cali. They raided the place, held some of these people at gunpoint, and destroyed the whole crop. Can you imagine someone bursting through your front door and taking you're medication that if you don't take you'll get very ill.
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Old 12-01-2004, 10:16 AM   #32 (permalink)
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Here is what I want to see happen. I want to see the feds arrest someone in say California for having legal pot (according to state law). Then as a result the California police arrest the feds for false imprisionment. This would definatly bring the issue to the front of american politics.
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Old 12-01-2004, 10:29 AM   #33 (permalink)
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Federal law trumps state law, so the arrest would be legal, they aren't arresting them under the jurisdiction of the state.
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Old 12-01-2004, 10:37 AM   #34 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rekna
Here is what I want to see happen. I want to see the feds arrest someone in say California for having legal pot (according to state law). Then as a result the California police arrest the feds for false imprisionment. This would definatly bring the issue to the front of american politics.
Umm, what else do you call a Supreme Court review? That's not the front of politics?
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Old 12-01-2004, 11:27 AM   #35 (permalink)
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No it is but how long did it take for that to happen? The supreme court likes to push cases that are in the middle to the side and not rule on them.

Also it is in the supreme court but being in the supreme court isn't as good as being on the front page of the newspaper. A big stink would really get things rolling along.
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Old 12-01-2004, 11:40 AM   #36 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mojo_PeiPei
As provided in the constitution, yes, yes they can.
You know it's not that simple, right? The Constitution is the supreme law of the land, yes, but the marijuana laws aren't in the constitution, they were passed by Congress.

Here is the short version, as best as I recall without bothering to look back at original sources:

Under the Constituion, Congress has certain specific areas in which it can make laws, among which are laws to regulate interstate commerce.

Over the years, Congress has used that power to enact laws that really aren't directed at interstate commerce, per se, but which were justified on the basis that the issues they were addressing had an effect on interstate commerce. Congress's authority to pass the the Civil Rights Acts, for example, were derived from the right to make laws affecting interstate commerce. (I won't bother going into the rationale - suffice to say that Congress decided, and the Supreme Court agreed, that civil rights violations affect interstate trade)

So, the issue here is where California has said that it is ok to grow and sell marijuana entirely within the state of California, , does Congress have the authority to stop it?
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Old 12-01-2004, 11:42 AM   #37 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by balderdash111
But, again, this case is not about health care. The Supreme Court is not deciding whether pot laws are good or bad, and is not deciding whether pot has medical applications.

I am curious, though, about a correlation: what percentage of people who support medical marijuana laws also support decriminalization? In other words, how many people on states' rights side of this issue also want to be able to smoke up legally?

Assuming the percentage is pretty high (no pun intended), is this all a smokescreen (pun intended, since I'm on a roll) for legalization?
I wouldn't overestimate the correlation, not everyone reaches the same political standpoint through the same channels. There are and have been men and women who don't use marijuana their entire lives but find it extremely beneficial once they find themselves in a position of chronic (no pun intended) or terminal illness (e.g. GHWBush's ganja-based glaucoma medication).

You're right though that the supreme court isn't deciding the efficacy of marijuana-based medication, they aren't qualified to do so. They are deciding whether a state has the right to legalize a substance for medical use that the federal government has decreed illegal. This case could very well set a precedent for states seeking to import pharmaceuticals from Canada et al.
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Old 12-02-2004, 05:46 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Alcohol and tobacco are legal and some of the most powerful international conglomerates in the world. Both are killers. But dammit, I really enjoy them.
Cannabis is not going to lose the war on drugs. Itīs a fantasy to think that somehow government efforts will wipe "reefer madness" out.
I drink alcohol. I smoke the herb. I know which of the two is a true danger. Donīt you? jeez, taxation of marijuana is one of the only remote chances there is to knock some shit out of the deficit. Either that or more billions squandered on an absolutely unwinnable fight.
Medical and recreative use of this plant date thousands of years. Prohibition since my granpas days. Look up Hearst and DuPont. Modern society is still swallowing 80 year old propaghanda.
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Old 05-30-2005, 05:37 PM   #39 (permalink)
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I have given this a bump because the Supreme Court is likely to make a decision on this next month. The specific issue is:

Can federal agents raid the homes of California patients who grow marijuana for their own use. Although the medical use of marijuana is legal in California and nine other states, federal authorities say they can override those states laws.

As others have mentioned above, the feds need to rely on interstate commerce precidents to defend their position. But, in this case the patients grew their own with a doctor's Rx, it was legal in the state, and they had not crossed state lines. So what am I missing here? What other precident are the feds relying on to further their case?

There are already laws in place to confront abuses of the law, both by the state and the feds. I see this particular issue as an infringement on states' rights and I hope it will be struck down.
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Old 05-31-2005, 09:45 PM   #40 (permalink)
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I don't believe that Federal Law shoudl trump state laws, unless there is an inter-state facet to the issue... and in this case, there is not.

I remember reading an article about federal agents arresting a guy for his marijuana use, citing it was against federal law even if not against state law. The guy was 76 or something, cancer patient, been confined to a wheelchair for the past decade or so.

Now tell me- exactly WHO or WHAT is the government trying to protect by arresting people such as that? There's no "common good" they're looking out for by handcuffing a living-in-constant-agonizing-pain old man in a wheelchair. Also, from the article, how can you define a crime as involving the legitimate medicinal use of a drug by a woman who has a brain tumor and scoliosis and just wants to live without excrutiating pain.

It's too bad they're not comatose, because THEN they'd be looked after. /schiavo dig.
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