Friday, February 27, 2004
Good Judgment

The 9th Circuit US Court of Appeals continues to thwart the Feds persecution of medical marijuana patients. The three judge panel that issued a ruling in favor of two patients last December, refused to reconsider its ruling that allows Californians to grow and use marijuana to treat their illnesses.

Federal officials have been prosecuting terminally ill patients in California under the interstate commerce clause of the Controlled Substances Act in spite of the state having passed legislation in 1996 legalizing the use of cannabis as medicine.

In its 2-to-1 vote in December, the court found that medicinal marijuana "does not have any direct or obvious effect on interstate commerce" when it is grown locally for personal consumption under the advice of a physician and when patients do not pay for it.

Writing for himself and Judge Richard A. Paez, Judge Harry Pregerson said such use of the drug was "different in kind from drug trafficking." Judge C. Arlen Beam dissented.

This bodes well, not only for California patients but also those in the other six western states that allow medical use of our plant. We applaud the court's courage on this issue and wait with interest to see whether the Justice Department will take its case to the Supreme Court. So far they have declined to comment.


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