Back to Map

MAPTalk-Digest Thursday, December 2 2004 Volume 04 : Number 217

001 Excerpts of medical marijuana arguments
    From: Richard Lake <>
002 2 POLLS
    From: Herb <>
003 Fw: News from TRAC: Under Color of Law
    From: "D.H. Michon" <>


Subj: 001 Excerpts of medical marijuana arguments
From: Richard Lake <>
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 2004 19:04:49 -0500

I have received several requests asking if a transcript of the court 
session is available. I have yet to see a complete transcript, but the AP 
put out the following yesterday.

So far nobody has newshawked a news clipping indicating that the below 
actually saw print anywhere. If anybody knows otherwise, please send me a 
note with the name of the newspaper. Thanks!


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

Monday, November 29, 2004  Last updated 3:49 p.m. PT

Excerpts of medical marijuana arguments By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Excerpts from Monday's Supreme Court oral argument on medical marijuana, as 
transcribed by Alderson Reporting Co.:

JUSTICE SANDRA DAY O'CONNOR: "As I understand it, if California's law 
applies, then none of this homegrown or medical-use marijuana will be on 
any interstate market. And it is in the area of something traditionally 
regulated by states."

first say that I think it might be a bit optimistic to think that none of 
the marijuana that's produced consistent with California law would be 
diverted into the national market for marijuana. And, of course, the 
Controlled Substances Act is concerned, at almost every step of the act, 
with a concern about diversion, both of lawful substances from medical to 
nonmedical uses and from controlled substances under Schedule I into the 
national market."

- ---

CLEMENT: "Any little island of lawful possession of noncontraband 
marijuana, for example, poses a real challenge to the statutory regime. It 
would also, I think, frustrate Congress' goal in promoting health. And I 
think the clearest example of that is the fact that, to the extent there is 
anything beneficial, health-wise, in marijuana, it's THC, which has been 
isolated and provided in a pill form."

JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG: "There is, in this record, a showing that, for 
at least one of the two plaintiffs, there were some 30-odd drugs taken. 
None of them worked. This was the only one that would. . If there were to 
be a prosecution of any of the plaintiffs in this case, would there be any 

CLEMENT: "Well, Justice Ginsburg, I think we would take the position, based 
on our reading of the (2001) Oakland Cannabis case - and, obviously, 
different justices on this court read the opinion differently and had 
different views on the extent to which the medical-necessity defense was 
foreclosed by that opinion - I would imagine the federal government, in 
that case, if it took the unlikely step of bringing the prosecution in the 
first place, would be arguing that, on the authority of Oakland Cannabis, 
the medical-necessity defense was not available."

- ---

CLEMENT: "There's something like 400 different chemical components in crude 
marijuana that one would smoke, and it just sort of belies any logic that 
all 400 of those would be helpful. ... Smoked marijuana doesn't have much 
of a future as medicine is, as I think people understand, smoking is 
harmful. And that's true of tobacco, but it's also true of marijuana. And 
so the idea that smoked marijuana would be an effective delivery device for 
medicine, I think, is also something that really doesn't have any future as 

- ---

RANDY BARNETT, representing two ill California women: "If you accept the 
government's definition of economic, then washing dishes, today, would be 
economic, and that would be within the power of Congress to reach."

JUSTICE DAVID H. SOUTER: "You say it's noneconomic because one of these 
people is a self-grower, another one is getting it from a friend for 
nothing. But I don't see what reason that you have given, or any reason 
that you haven't given, for us to believe that, out of - now I'm going to 
assume, for the sake of argument, 100,000 potential users - everybody is 
going to get it from a friend or from plants in the back yard. Seems to me 
the sensible assumption is they're going to get it on the street. And once 
they get it, under California law, it's not a crime for them to have it and 
use it. But they're going to get it in the street."

BARNETT: "They have a very strong incentive not to get it on the street, 
because getting it on the street is going to subject them to criminal 
prosecution, under both California and federal law. ... We are talking 
about a class of people here who are sick people, who don't necessarily 
want to violate the law."

SOUTER: "And if I am a sick person, I'm going to say, `Look, if they're not 
prosecuting every kid who buys, what, a nickel bag or whatever you call a 
small quantity today, they're not going to prosecute me, either.' I mean, 
there's not going to be any incentive, it seems to me, to avoid the street 

- ---

JUSTICE STEPHEN BREYER: "You know, he grows heroin, cocaine, tomatoes that 
are going to have genomes in them that could, at some point, lead to tomato 
children that will eventually affect Boston. You know, we can - oil that's 
never, in fact, being used, but we want an inventory of it, federally. You 
know, I can multiply the examples. And you can, too. So you're going to get 
around all those examples by saying what?"

BARNETT: "By saying that it's all going to depend on the regulatory scheme."

- ---

JUSTICE ANTONIN SCALIA: "Congress has applied this theory in other 
contexts. One is the protection of endangered species. Congress has made it 
unlawful to possess ivory, for example. It doesn't matter whether you got 
it lawfully or not. Or eagle feathers, the mere possession of it, whether 
you got it through interstate commerce or not. And Congress' reasoning is, 
`We can't tell whether it came through interstate commerce or not, and to 
try to prove that is just beyond our ability; and, therefore, it is 
unlawful to possess it, period.' Now, are those laws, likewise, 
unconstitutional, as going beyond Congress' commerce power?"

BARNETT: "Not if they're an essential part of a larger regulatory scheme 
that would be undercut, unless those activities are reached. . This class 
of activities - because it's been isolated by the state of California and 
is policed by the state of California, so that it's entirely separated from 
the market." 


Subj: 002 2 POLLS
From: Herb <>
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 2004 22:13:44 -0800


POLL: Should firefighters and building inspectors be involved in busting 
marijuana grow operators?

POLL: Should "street" drugs:

remain completely illegal

be provided free for addicts

be just decriminalized

be taxed and regulated

be completely legalized?



Subj: 003 Fw: News from TRAC: Under Color of Law
From: "D.H. Michon" <>
Date: Thu, 2 Dec 2004 13:52:05 -0600

- ----- Original Message ----- 
From: "TRAC" <>
To: <
Sent: Thursday, December 02, 2004 10:18 AM
Subject: News from TRAC: Under Color of Law

> =================
> What's New at TRAC
> =================
> Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse
> Greetings from TRAC. Federal prosecutors decline to file criminal charges 
> against most of the police officers, prison guards and other government 
> officials who the investigative agencies have determined should be 
> prosecuted for violating the civil rights of individual Americans, 
> according to authoritative Justice Department data.
> This is the central finding of the second of two special reports by the 
> Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) focusing on different 
> aspects of how the government enforces the nation's civil rights laws. The 
> first report (Nov 22) examined all kinds of civil rights enforcement 
> actions and concluded this effort had declined during the Bush 
> Administration.
> The second report focuses only on the government's efforts to deal with 
> abusive officials. Under a law going back to the period immediately after 
> the Civil War, the government has long been the court of last resort in 
> these kinds of cases. The statute makes it a crime to deprive any person 
> of their rights "under color of law." Justice Department data going back 
> for more than 25 years show that the high proportion of declined cases 
> under this law has existed in every administration. In addition to 
> national data, TRAC's report also provides information about how each US 
> Attorney's office in the country has dealt with these sensitive cases in 
> the last few years. Go to to 
> view the report on the TRAC website.
> To see TRAC's earlier report examining the overall record of Bush 
> Administration go to TRAC's public web site -- -- and 
> click on TRAC Reports. Support for both reports was received from the 
> Carnegie Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the 
> Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund.
> David Burnham and Susan B. Long, co-directors
> Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse
> Syracuse University
> 488 Newhouse II
> Syracuse, NY  13244-2100
> 315-443-3563
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> You are receiving this email because you signed up to receive E-mail 
> Alerts from Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.  If you know 
> someone who would like to sign up, they may go to and 
> click on the red E-mail Alerts link at the bottom of the page.  To be 
> removed from our list, please send an email to  with REMOVE as 
> the subject. 


End of MAPTalk-Digest V04 #217

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

HomeBulletin BoardChat RoomsDrug LinksDrug NewsFeedback
Guest BookMailing ListsMedia EmailMedia LinksLettersSearch