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6 Cards in this Set

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Excerpts of Medical Marijuana arguments

associated press

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.''

me 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 defense?''

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 medicine.''


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

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

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 market.''


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


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.''
Court Questions Possible Abuses of Pot Laws

Gina Holland
A defeat for the two California women might undermine laws passed by
California and 10 other states and discourage other states from
approving their own.

A loss for the government, on the other hand, could jeopardize
federal oversight of illegal drugs and raise questions in other areas such
as product safety and environmental activities. A Bush administration
lawyer told the justices they would be encouraging people to use
potentially harmful marijuana if they were to side with the women.
Court Questions Possible Abuse of Pot Laws

Gina Holland
Justice David H. Souter said an estimated 10 percent of people in
America use illegal drugs, and states with medical marijuana laws might
not be able to stop recreational users from taking advantage.

Justice Stephen Breyer said the government makes a strong argument
that as many as 100,000 sick people use marijuana in California, and
''when we see medical marijuana in California, we won't know what it is.
Everybody'll say, `Mine is medical.' Certificates will circulate on the
black market. We face a mess.''
Court Questions Possible Abuse of Pot Laws

Gina Holland
The marijuana users won in the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals, which ruled that federal prosecution of medical
marijuana users is unconstitutional if the pot is not sold, transported
across state lines or used for nonmedicinal purposes.
Court Rules Against Ban on Pot Group's Ads
Denise Lavoe
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority rejected three ads
submitted by the group Change the Climate in 2000, claiming they
encouraged children to smoke pot. The transit authority argued that it has the
right to protect riders from offensive or illegal messages.

But the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found Monday that the
MBTA, a quasi-government agency, does not have the right to turn down ads
based on its viewpoint. Doing so violates the First Amendment, the court
The transit agency provides public transportation to approximately
1.2 million customers per day on subways, trains, buses and ferries. Up
to 60,000 Boston public school students use the MBTA. The agency has
about 40,000 advertising spaces.

Over the years, the agency has received numerous complaints from its
riders about advertisements. In the five-year period before the lawsuit
was filed by Change the Climate, the MBTA rejected at least 17
advertisements barred by its ad policy, including some depicting violence,
profanity and tobacco products.
Judge seems skeptical of medical marijuana

Baltimore Sun
"If they decide against me, it means they will be giving me a death
sentence," Raich, a 39-year-old mother of two from Oakland, Calif., said.

But skeptical justices appeared uneasy about taking Raich's side.
During arguments, several questioned whether creating a loophole in federal
drug policy for medical marijuana would simply add to the nation's
illegal drug woes.

At issue, however, is not whether marijuana should be considered a
legitimate drug. Instead, the justices must decide whether marijuana that
is grown and possessed within a single state - and for which no money
trades hands - should be subject to the commerce clause of the U.S.

That central issue of state's rights means the outcome of the case is
hard to predict.