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Supreme Court Rules Against California Marijuana Clubs;
Conflict Will Escalate As Federal Government
Faces California Juries To Enforce Decision

The US Supreme Court ruled 8-0 against the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative and the Cooperative's attempts to help patients live with serious illnesses. "This decision proves that when the federal government claims to be fighting the drug war to protect health they are lying -- in fact denying medicine to the seriously ill undermines health," noted Kevin B. Zeese, President of Common Sense for Drug Policy.

The Court, in an opinion written by Justice Clarence Thomas and joined by four other Justices, ruled: "Medical necessity is not a defense to manufacturing and distributing marijuana." The majority ruled that Congress had the final word on the matter in the Controlled Substances Act. A concurring opinion by Justice John Paul Stephens, joined by Justices David Souter and Ruth Ginsburg, pointed out that the decision did not eliminate the defense for seriously ill patients who need marijuana as a medicine, but only in cases of distribution and cultivation.

"The Court's decision will heighten the conflict around medical marijuana. Caregivers for the seriously ill will continue to provide medical marijuana, thus the federal government will have to enforce the law before juries -- where over 70 percent of the population voted for medical marijuana," Zeese said. "The federal government is likely to lose when they try and enforce this decision. Only then will they respect the will of the voters and the needs of the seriously ill."

Zeese went on to note: "An unintended consequence of this decision is likely to be that every marijuana prosecution in states that have voted for medical marijuana will become more difficult. Since juries will not be told whether a defendant is a medical marijuana caregiver or a traditional marijuana distributor many will assume that every marijuana prosecution is a medical prosecution in order to avoid sending a caregiver or seriously ill patient to prison."

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copyright © 2001, Common Sense for Drug Policy,
Kevin B. Zeese, President -- Mike Gray, Chairman -- Robert E. Field, Co-Chairman -- Melvin R. Allen, Director -- Doug McVay, Editor & Research Director
Updated: Thursday, 02-Jul-2009 06:32:13 PDT   ~   Accessed: 5322 times
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