Pubdate: Tue, 30 Nov 2004
Source: Honolulu Star-Bulletin (HI)
Copyright: 2004 Honolulu Star-Bulletin
Author: Bruce Mirken


Your story on the Supreme Court medical marijuana case, Ashcroft v. Raich 
("High Court to decide fate of Hawaii's medical-pot laws," Nov. 26), 
misstated one key point: This case will not decide "whether states have the 
right to adopt" medical marijuana laws. The federal government has never 
challenged the right of states to pass such laws, and their validity is not 
at issue now. The only question before the court is whether these laws also 
give patients protection from enforcement of federal marijuana laws.

If this sounds like a narrow, technical distinction, remember that the 
federal government makes only 1 percent of all marijuana arrests. 
Ninety-nine percent are made by state and local police acting under state law.

While 99 percent protection from arrest isn't perfect, it's a huge step 
forward for seriously ill patients. There is no danger of state medical 
marijuana laws being overturned, and states considering similar proposals 
do not need to worry that the federal government can somehow invalidate 
them. It can't.

Bruce Mirken

Director of Communications

Marijuana Policy Project

Washington, D.C. 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake