Pubdate: Tue, 15 May 2001
Source: Nevada Appeal (NV)
Copyright: 2001 Nevada Appeal
Author: Geoff Dornan, Capitol Bureau


The sponsor of Nevada's medical marijuana bill said Monday the U.S. Supreme 
Court ruling against the Cannabis Club doesn't prevent states from allowing 
medical uses of pot.

"It does not affect us," said Chris Giunchigliani, D-Las Vegas.

She said the ruling specifically deals with federal law, not state statute.

"Do the feds in their scheduling of drugs recognize medical marijuana? No, 
they don't. That's what the decision says," she said. "At no time were 
state laws as enacted in jeopardy."

But Sen. Mark James, D-Las Vegas, who chairs the Judiciary Committee 
preparing to hear the bill, said he wants time to have staff study the ruling.

"At first blush, it looks like it would hamper our efforts to pass a 
medical marijuana law," he said.

But he said he hopes not.

"The people have very clearly expressed their intent that they want this to 
be available," he said. "This needs to be addressed at a national level, 
and I hope Congress would do that."

He said at a different level, "this is a state's-rights issue. It is a 
federalism issue."

But he said the ruling may run afoul of the Supremacy Clause, forcing 
Nevada and other states to conform to federal law.

Dan Geary of Americans for Medical Rights, which organized the petition 
drive supported by two-thirds of Nevada voters to make medical marijuana 
available, said the ruling should not stop Nevada from joining the nine 
states which already allow medical uses of marijuana.

"If the DEA wants to send a division of agents here to begin busting senior 
citizens with cancer, they have the right to," he said.

He said the ruling simply says is that federal courts can't forgive 
possession of pot on grounds of medical necessity.

Giunchigliani's proposed bill also avoids putting the state or any other 
organization in the business of growing, procuring or distributing 
marijuana. In her proposal, that would all be up to the individual who 
needs the drug.
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