Pubdate: Tue, 15 Aug 2000
Source: Oakland Tribune (CA)
Copyright: 2000 MediaNews Group, Inc. and ANG Newspapers
Contact:  66 Jack London Sq., Oakland, CA 94607
Author: Josh Richman


An appeals court has denied the federal government's request for a temporary emergency order to keep the Oak-land Cannabis Buyers Cooperative from dispensing marijuana as medicine.

That means the cooperative can abide by a federal judge's rules and begin handing out the drug to people who meet certain medical and legal requirements. Robert Raich, the cooperative's attorney, would not say Monday whether that was happening yet.

"The Oakland Cannabis Buyers Cooperative is complying fully and faithfully with the amended injunction," he said, declining further comment.

U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman Gretchen Michael could not be reached for comment Monday.

The Oakland cooperative has been at the forefront of California's medicinal marijuana debate ever since it was the only one of six Northern California clubs to appeal a federal judge's 1998 closure order. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year told that judge to reconsider, and the judge last month ruled the cooperative could start dispensing again because the government failed to dispute a medical necessity for marijuana despite its prohibition under federal law.

The government is appealing that ruling, but the 9th Circuit on Friday refused to stop the cooperative from dispensing during the appeal process.

Raich said the government must file its brief by Aug. 22, and the cooperative must file its answer by Sept. 19. The government will have two weeks after that date to file an optional reply, and then the appellate court will decide whether it wants to schedule oral arguments.
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MAP posted-by: Terry Liittschwager