Back to Map

MAPTalk-Digest Sunday, November 28 2004 Volume 04 : Number 215

001 Oh, oh!
    From: Richard Lake <>
002 US: California Women Make a New Case for Medical Marijuana
    From: Richard Lake <>


----------------------------------------------------------------------

Subj: 001 Oh, oh!
From: Richard Lake <>
Date: Fri, 26 Nov 2004 13:01:43 -0500

Sounds like a really great ISP. There is a Denial of Service attack against 
your websites, so to punish you for the attacks against you they consider 
taking down your websites.

 From the http://www.cannabisculture.com/ website:

Sites MAY go down at 5:PM PST, 26 Nov, 2004

Due to Denial of Service attacks, PEER1 is considering dropping all Marc 
Emery websites!

Information will be posted at NORML.ca forums

------------------------------

Subj: 002 US: California Women Make a New Case for Medical Marijuana
From: Richard Lake <>
Date: Sun, 28 Nov 2004 09:10:58 -0500

Newshawk: Write a LTE today! See: http://www.mapinc.org/resource/
Pubdate: Sun, 28 Nov 2004
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Webpage: 
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/politics/scotus/la-na-medpot28
Copyright: 2004 Los Angeles Times
Contact: 
Website: http://www.latimes.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/248
Author: Eric Bailey, Times Staff Writer
Cited: Raich v. Ashcroft http://www.angeljustice.org
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/mmj.htm (Cannabis - Medicinal)
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/people/Angel+Raich (Angel Raich)

CALIFORNIA WOMEN MAKE A NEW CASE FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA

Aghast at Federal Agents' Raids After 9/11, They Sue the Government, Saying 
the Commerce Clause of the Constitution Doesn't Apply to The Pot They Use.

OAKLAND -- She is fast becoming America's best-known pot patient, the woman 
whose case may help decide whether marijuana has an unfettered future as 
medicine.

Angel Raich takes her case before the nation's highest court Monday in a 
bid to keep the federal government from threatening her use of the leafy herb.

To the U.S., cannabis is illegal for any use. To Raich, it is a lifesaver.

The U.S. Supreme Court will wade into a thicket rife with confusion since 
California voters approved the nation's first medical marijuana ballot 
measure in 1996.

Facing the high court will be various issues: the right of a state to 
sidestep federal laws, the ability of Congress to regulate interstate 
commerce, and the needs of a nation to police illegal drugs versus the 
needs of the seriously ill.

Bracketing the legal arguments are the stories of Raich, a 39-year-old 
mother who suffers from more than a dozen ailments she says don't respond 
to traditional treatments, and her co-plaintiff, Diane Monson, 47, of Butte 
County.

Monson started using cannabis half a dozen times a day to fight chronic 
back spasms after her doctor recommended it when other therapy failed.

"I would be dead right now" without cannabis, Raich contends.

The roots of her battle date from the weeks after the terrorist attacks of 
Sept. 11, 2001. At that time, Raich, a mother of two who had been using 
marijuana for several years to combat illnesses including a brain tumor, 
fibromyalgia and a chronic wasting condition, watched in disbelief as 
federal drug agents raided and shut down several medical marijuana 
dispensaries.

Aghast at what she and many other "medpot" activists viewed as a 
misappropriation of federal resources better used in the war against 
terrorism, Raich and her husband, Oakland attorney Robert Raich, decided 
something must be done. They recruited Monson, who had had her home raided 
and six medical pot plants uprooted by federal agents, and filed a lawsuit 
in October 2002 against the U.S. government.

They asked that the federal government be blocked from arresting either 
woman, suing them civilly and seizing their medical cannabis or property 
through asset forfeiture.

Prior lawsuits had claimed that marijuana patients should be allowed to use 
a federally outlawed drug out of medical necessity, but attorneys for the 
two women took a different tack -- basing their argument on the commerce 
clause of the Constitution.

Under the Constitution, Congress can regulate the flow of commercial 
products and services between states. That bedrock principle was applied 
when Congress adopted U.S. drug laws in 1970 against trafficking of 
marijuana and illegal narcotics, such as LSD and heroin.

Raich and Monson argued that the commerce clause did not apply to their use 
of medical marijuana. Monson grows her marijuana at home with seeds from 
the prior year's crop -- nothing ever crosses state lines.

Likewise, Raich says her medical pot is essentially homegrown. The cannabis 
is donated by two California growers -- named only John Doe No. 1 and No. 2 
in the lawsuit -- who use seeds, soil and water from the Golden State.

What might seem legal sleight of hand has become a knockdown fight largely 
over states' rights.

When the pair prevailed before the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals a year 
ago, the U.S. appealed. As federal lawyers see it, the federal Controlled 
Substances Act trumps state laws authorizing medical marijuana (nine states 
besides California have legalized cannabis as medicine).

Even in cases where illegal drugs are not trafficked between states, 
federal attorneys argue, the local cultivation, distribution and possession 
of pot cannot be distinguished from interstate trafficking. Government 
lawyers argue that U.S. drug agents would face "staggering" difficulties 
trying to differentiate between illegal drugs transported between states 
and narcotics that never cross a state line.

To back up the argument, the U.S. cites the 1942 case involving farmer 
Roscoe Filburn and his wheat crop.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a fine against Filburn for growing more wheat 
than allowed under a federal cap, which was put in place to regulate 
interstate commerce of the crop. Filburn argued that the excess wheat never 
left his farm, but was used to bake bread and feed his animals.

Federal lawyers argue that the medical marijuana of Monson and Raich, much 
like Filburn's wheat, remains a crop subject to federal authority even if 
it doesn't enter the stream of commerce.

The lawyers say in a brief that medical marijuana has a substantial effect 
on interstate commerce, with excess pot potentially diverted to illegal 
trade or patients turning to dealers when their supplies run short.

Raich and Monson have received support and opposition -- some expected, 
some a bit surprising.

Briefs supporting the government have come from the Drug Free America 
Foundation, Save Our Society From Drugs and other longtime combatants in 
the war on drugs. Those groups call the case a "Trojan horse tactic" by 
drug legalization advocates, and say superior medications could be used 
instead of marijuana.

Several members of the U.S. House of Representatives also backed the 
government in a legal brief, saying medical marijuana gave traffickers 
"safe havens" and a new way to avoid arrest. They suggested the Raich case 
could have "far-reaching implications," opening the door to arguments for 
the medical use of cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.

On the streets, "there's no difference between the marijuana that sick 
people use" and the pot bought by addicts, said Richard Meyer, a U.S. Drug 
Enforcement Administration spokesman in San Francisco. "We have no beef 
with sick people. But we have no compassion for the dealers who are preying 
on these sick people."

Raich and Monson have received support from several pro-legalization 
groups, as well as medical associations and several states -- including 
three states staunchly against medical marijuana.

Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi side with the federal government's 
regulation of pot, but support the argument made by Raich and Monson about 
Congress overstepping on a matter of interstate commerce.

They argue in a brief that the Constitution permits states to serve as 
"laboratories for experimentation" on novel social and commercial 
enterprises. The federal system allows states to set criminal policy, they 
say, arguing, "As a sovereign member of the federal union, California is 
entitled to make for itself the tough policy choices that affect its citizens."

Activists hope the high court acts to shield medical marijuana patients 
from federal threat. If Raich prevails, several other medical marijuana 
cases could follow. The most notable is a bid by a Santa Cruz County 
collective of 200 patients who engage in noncommercial cultivation of 
medical marijuana.

While activists are playing up the big stakes of the Raich case, they're 
downplaying the consequences if the bid should fail.

Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access, said a 
Supreme Court defeat would be a blow -- but not a fatal one. "If Raich 
loses," she said, "California still will have its law. Losing won't mean 
the end of medical marijuana."

Raich, a waif of a woman in constant combat with her various ills, would 
just like the time to arrive "when we can be taken off the battlefield."

Life is hard enough as is, she said. She uses pot every two hours to ward 
off pain -- and keep weight on. She can lose a pound a day if her appetite 
ebbs.

In an upstairs room, Raich heats up her cannabis with a vaporizer. The 
machine injects a cloud of pot into a clear sack. She holds it like a bag 
of cotton candy, taking hits from a nozzle at the end.

"This isn't about recreation," she says between puffs. "I don't like doing 
this. It's not something I've chosen. But I had to do it for my kids. To 
stay alive." 

------------------------------

End of MAPTalk-Digest V04 #215
******************************

Mark Greer ()         ___ ___     _ _  _ _
Media Awareness Project              /' _ ` _ `\ /'_`)('_`\
P. O. Box 651                        | ( ) ( ) |( (_| || (_) )
Porterville, CA 93258                (_) (_) (_) \__,_)| ,__/
(800) 266-5759                                         | |
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/lists/                      (_)

HomeBulletin BoardChat RoomsDrug LinksDrug NewsFeedback
Guest BookMailing ListsMedia EmailMedia LinksLettersSearch