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http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/nation/2942036
In a legal brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, Alabama Attorney General Troy King contends states, not the federal government, should have the right to decide drug-control policies.

Alabama is tough on marijuana use.

Between 1995 and 2002, the state averaged nearly 9,500 arrests per year for marijuana possession, according to the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center.
http://www.fosters.com/December_2004/12.12.04/news/poll_resp_12.12.04.asp
"They should just legalize it like they did alcohol and put an age restriction on it. That will stop wasting all our precious dollars in legal fees, and will stop wasting all our courtroom time on small petty issues."

Rick Newman of Nottingham wrote in to say marijuana should definitely be allowed for medicinal purposes.

"We use morphine, OxyContin, and many other more potent drugs for medical use. How can the feds stand in the way of marijuana use if it is going to ease a patient’s suffering? This is a ridiculous debate fueled by the thought and body police among us."
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/archive/2004/12/10/BAGGJA9O4H1.DTL
A medicinal marijuana user busted for growing pot sued the city of Emeryville on Thursday, saying police refused to return his seized plants -- and later told him that thieves stole much of his property from a secured storage site.

James Blair, 45, of Emeryville, said he found it ironic that the same plants that had been taken away from him a year ago could have fallen into the wrong hands.

"What they've done, effectively, is taken a controlled substance and made it available in an uncontrolled way to some members of the public," Blair said. "Their role is to keep drugs out of the hands of people who aren't supposed to have them."

The lawsuit, filed in Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland, asks for a court injunction that would prohibit Emeryville police from "continuing to violate the statutory and constitutional rights of qualified medical marijuana patients" under state law.

In 1996, California voters approved Proposition 215, which allows the use of marijuana for medical purposes with a doctor's recommendation.
http://www.news-record.com/news/columnists/roberts/rosemary_col_121004.htm
Angel Raich, 39, of Oakland, Calif., is suffering from a brain tumor. In accordance with California's Compassionate Use Act, which voters approved in 1996, her doctor prescribed medical marijuana to relieve her intense pain.

It was "the only drug of almost three dozen we have tried that works,'' said Dr. Frank Lucido, her physician.

Diana Monson, 47, of Oroville, Calif., also uses marijuana after her doctor recommended it to ease excruciating back spasms.

Monson smokes it; Raich puts it in a vaporizer and inhales the fumes.

A few days ago, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments by attorneys representing the women. The court's ruling, which will not be handed down for months, will affect similar patients in the 10 states that permit doctors to prescribe medical marijuana.

The Bush administration (like the Clinton administration before it) supports the federal law banning marijuana nationwide. The Bush administration insists it has no medical value and if doctors are allowed to prescribe it, that sets a bad example in the war on drugs
http://www.clovisindependent.com/news/story/9577679p-10466477c.html
The Clovis City Council approved temporary regulations Dec. 6 governing the growth and distribution of medical-use marijuana within city limits.
The restrictions, adopted by a unanimous vote, prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries serving three or more patients. They also include stipulations that the drug be cultivated under strict supervision away from neighborhoods and schools at a rate of no more than six mature or 12 immature plants per qualified individual.

"Without a city ordinance in place, medical marijuana dispensaries could operate within the city without restrictions," according to the Clovis Police Department.

Clovis Police Capt. Russ Greathouse, in urging passage of the ordinance, said the city of Fresno's October decision restricting medical marijuana dispensaries there has raised fears that growers may relocate to outlying communities like Clovis.

Greathouse said cities with neighborhood marijuana gardens have reported numerous problems ranging from the "skunk-like" smell of ripening plants to a marked increase in trespassing, burglaries and violent encounters between growers and citizens.

Police Chief Jim Zulim's department keeps no records on how many people are currently growing the drug within city limits, but it points to a 2003 incident to highlight the potential for trouble.

That year, a Clovis couple was arrested at home for cultivation of marijuana and for armed commission of a felony after they had taken to sleeping in their back yard armed with shotguns to thwart area high schoolers from jumping the fence to raid their medical marijuana garden. According to a police press release, the couple was also accused of paying Bulldog gang members to assault one young trespasser.
http://www.townhall.com/columnists/jeffjacoby/jj20041210.shtml
The named plaintiff in this case is Angel McClary Raich, a California mother of two afflicted with an awful array of diseases, including tumors in her brain and uterus, asthma, severe weight loss, and endometriosis. To ease her symptoms, doctors put her on dozens of standard medications. When none of them helped, they prescribed marijuana. That did help -- so much so that Raich, who had been confined to a wheelchair, was again able to walk.

Raich's marijuana was supplied to her for free from two donors who grew it in California, using only California soil, water, and supplies. Under the state's Compassionate Use Act of 1996, which exempts the use of marijuana under a doctor's supervision from criminal sanction, all of this was perfectly legal.

But under the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970, the possession of marijuana for any reason is illegal. The question for the court is which law should prevail in this case: state or federal?
http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0449/gonnerman.php
hen Assemblyman Richard Gottfried proposed a bill legalizing marijuana for sick people in 1997, his odds of success seemed slim. State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, a Republican, vowed to defeat Gottfried's bill. And even Gottfried, a Democrat from Chelsea, admitted that turning his bill into law would be "an uphill battle." Back then, only two states permitted sick people to smoke pot legally.

Fast-forward seven years and the cause of medical marijuana has become a full-fledged political movement, with two national organizations running campaigns across the country. Medical marijuana is now legal in 11 states. And in New York, the cause has grown in popularity. Now even Bruno, who battled prostate cancer last year, has begun to sound much more receptive.

The battle over medical marijuana was back in the news again last week, when the U.S. Supreme Court heard the appeal of two sick women from California. Their case seeks to stop federal law enforcement agents from arresting pot-smoking patients who are obeying the laws of their own state. A ruling is not expected for months.
http://www.sacbee.com/content/news/story/11716861p-12605085c.html
A use permit for a medical marijuana dispensary at 6240 Greenback Lane was approved this week by the Citrus Heights Planning Commission.
The decision on Thursday came after a tense two-hour public hearing and ended several months of debate about the "Cannabis Patients Co-op" proposed by Mary Jennifer Berg - the only application pending in Citrus Heights or unincorporated Sacramento County involving medical marijuana.

The Citrus Heights ordinance on medical marijuana requires a two-part process. Now that Berg has been granted a conditional use permit from the planning commission, she must also secure a "medical cannabis dispensary permit" from the city manager.

Legitimate use of medical marijuana by individuals who are very ill and security for the storefront operation were discussed at length by the planning panel Thursday night.

Commission Chairman Jack Duncan and Commissioner Bill Van Duker are both older men who stated that they probably would not recognize cannabis if it was dropped on the table in front of them.

Van Duker described himself as a "four-year cancer survivor" who spent almost a month in a local hospital. He had an extreme reaction to the pain medications that were offered to him. The experience has allowed him to understand why some very sick people might turn to medical marijuana for relief.

He also criticized the general federal effort to halt illegal drug activity.

"The war on drugs has been a failure. It has been about as successful as Prohibition," Van Duker said. "I don't see this particular dispensary as a black blight on the neighborhood."

Duncan voiced serious doubts about a cannabis dispensary being the right thing for the city. His business was invaded a few years ago by men who thought that marijuana was being stored on the premises, Duncan said.

"My son had a gun held to his head," Duncan said. "It's scary and it has taken us two years to get over this."
http://www.kxan.com/Global/story.asp?S=2678539&nav=0s3dU52c
An Austin lawmaker wants to let Texans use marijuana for medical purposes. He plans to file legislation soon that would de-criminalize marijuana use for the seriously ill.

State Representative Elliott Naishtat says there are many details still to work out. Like whether to limit use for certain illnesses and whether to allow medical users to grow it themselves.

He says no one should be made a criminal for trying to ease their suffering.

"Fabian," as he asked us to identify him, says medicinal marijuana helped him beat a diagnosis of terminal cancer. Free from the disease now and no longer smoking, he still asked his identity be hidden.

"I just did enough to make myself feel more calm and to allow me to be able to eat and not have the nausea," Fabian said.

By not allowing Texans to use medicinal marijuana, Fabian says the state denies relief to those suffering a serious illness.
http://www.cbc.ca/story/science/national/2004/12/08/marijuana041208.html
Of the participants, 350 will use research-grade medical marijuana as part of their pain management strategy for one year.

"Patients in COMPASS will typically have pain resulting from spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, arthritis or other kinds of hard-to-treat neuropathic or muscle pain," said Dr. Mark Ware, the study's principal investigator.

Cancer patients are not eligible, said Ware, a pain physician at the McGill University Health Centre.

At the beginning and end of the study, participants will do tests to help researchers determine whether the drug affects cognitive functions.

Investigators will look at safety issues such as side-effects, kidney, liver, heart and lung function and hormone levels.

While previous studies have looked at whether cannabis relieves pain and other symptoms, the safety study is unique.

The research is needed to understand safety issues, particularly among patients who take several medications or have other diseases like diabetes or high blood pressure.
http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2004/12/09/medical_marijuana_the_real_stakes/
Medical marijuana: the real stakes
By Jeff Jacoby, Globe Columnist | December 9, 2004

ASHCROFT v. Raich, the Supreme Court's medical marijuana case, isn't really about medical marijuana. It's about power -- the power of Congress to exert control, and the power of the Constitution to rein Congress in.

ADVERTISEMENT
The named plaintiff in this case is Angel McClary Raich, a California mother of two afflicted with tumors in her brain and uterus, asthma, severe weight loss, and endometriosis. To ease her symptoms, doctors put her on dozens of standard medications. When none of them helped, they prescribed marijuana. That did help -- so much so that Raich, who had been confined to a wheelchair, was able to walk.

Raich's marijuana was supplied to her for free from two donors who grew it in California, using only California soil, water, and supplies. Under the state's Compassionate Use Act of 1996, which exempts the use of marijuana under a doctor's supervision from criminal sanction, all of this was perfectly legal.

But under the federal Controlled Substances Act, the possession of marijuana for any reason is illegal. The question is which law should prevail in this case: state or federal?

Normally that wouldn't be an issue. Under the Constitution, a valid exercise of federal power trumps any conflicting state law. But is the application of the federal drug law to Raich a valid exercise of federal power?

Americans often forget that the federal government was never intended to have limitless authority. Unlike the states, which have a broad "police power" to regulate public health, safety, and welfare, the national government has only the powers granted to it by the Constitution. Where does the Constitution empower Congress to bar pain-wracked patients from using the marijuana their doctors say they need?
http://www.drugpolicy.org/news/12_07_04raich.cfm
Medical Marijuana Supporters Must Now Play the Waiting Game
December 7, 2004


The U.S. Supreme Court last week heard the case of Ashcroft v. Raich, pitting an overzealous federal government against a sick woman trying to live as best she can while suffering from an inoperable brain tumor, a seizure disorder, life-threatening wasting syndrome, severe chronic pain and other documented medical conditions.

In 2002, medical-marijuana patient Angel Raich was launched into the spotlight when she and Diane Monson, both seriously ill medical marijuana patients, sued Attorney General John Ashcroft and the federal government. The goal in launching the case was to put an end to the government's cruel and illegal raids on sick people who use medical marijuana in accordance with state law. Though the Supreme Court heard the case last week, the outcome of the case will not be clear for at least a few months.

"But win or lose," as Raich wrote in a letter to Alliance supporters mailed on the day her case came before the court, "I can assure you that -- with the generous help of supporters like you -- the Alliance will be working on behalf of me and thousands of other medical cannabis patients."

"Nobody ever expected this case to get this far," says Alliance executive director Ethan Nadelmann in today's Village Voice. "If we win this, it would be a very significant step forward. If we lose, it's just a tiny step backward."

You can read the complete letter from Raich to Alliance supporters here, an overview of the Alliance's role in the Raich case here, and the Alliance's brief to the Supreme Court on Raich's behalf here.
http://www.jointogether.org/sa/news/summaries/reader/0,1854,575351,00.html
Ala. Backs Calif. on Medical Marijuana Use
12/9/2004



Alabama, known for its tough drug laws, is siding with California in the medical-marijuana case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Associated Press reported Dec. 4.

Legal arguments from Alabama Attorney General Troy King were among the numerous documents submitted in support of states' rights to pass their own medical-marijuana laws. Current federal law prohibits marijuana use of any kind.

Alabama has one of the toughest marijuana laws in the U.S. A person convicted three times of possessing marijuana could receive a life sentence in prison. But King said the issue before the high court is about states' rights, not drug policy.

"I could not disagree more with the public policy that underlies the California law. I think it's flawed. I think it's bad public policy, but if somebody can go in and tell California you can't regulate drugs the way you want to regulate them in California, the next step is they could come to Alabama and tell us we can't do it," King said.

The Bush administration contends that state medical-marijuana laws undermine federal drug-control programs. The government cited the Constitution's Commerce Clause to support its argument, saying that the marijuana grown for medical use could end up on the illegal market and potentially cross state lines.

In his legal brief, King criticized the government's reasoning. He said that medical marijuana is grown and consumed in California and "it is not economic or commercial in any meaningful sense."

The attorneys general of Louisiana and Mississippi, two other states with tough drug laws, also signed King's legal argument.