Pubdate: Sun, 27 May 2001
Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Section: Editorials; Pg. L4; Your Views
Copyright: 2001 The Sacramento Bee
Authors: Glenn Backes, Emily Roddy, Peter Keyes, Alan Archuleta
Note: Backes is Sacramento Director, Health and Harm Reduction, The 
Lindesmith Center - Drug Policy Foundation
Note: MAP Editor headline


I have read the ruling against the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative 
written by Justice Clarence Thomas. It does not outlaw the use of medical 
Marijuana; it only holds that there is no medical necessity exception to 
the federal Controlled Substances Act prohibition on the distribution of 

The ruling is a narrow, legalistic reading of the United States drug war 
manifesto, and does nothing to limit the rights of Californians to rule 
themselves in regards to marijuana and its appropriate use as a medicine. 
Despite the fact that the justices were not swayed by medical necessity or 
medical evidence in this case, it does not impact California patients 
advised by a physician to try marijuana to treat symptoms.

Even after the ruling, patients are protected by law from prosecution. The 
Legislature is considering SB 187 by Sen. John Vasconcellos, and supported 
by advocates of Proposition 215, the state attorney general and by 
associations representing law enforcement. SB 187 would create a voluntary 
registry of patients using marijuana, and should make it easier for cops 
and patients to live with the reform mandated by voters.

Glenn Backes
Sacramento Director, Health and Harm Reduction
The Lindesmith Center - Drug Policy Foundation

Medicinal marijuana Re "Ruling hinders medical pot use," May 15: With this 
latest brilliantly unfair ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, not only are 
seriously ill people denied the drug that has been proven to help them live 
healthier lives, but the will of the people is ignored outright.

On one hand, the federal government denies that marijuana has any medical 
import. On the other hand, they refuse to allow research on what has always 
been a highly controversial substance that has never been proven to cause 
addiction, overdose or short-or long-term medical problems.

The federal government stands firm in its ignorance and prejudice.

Emily Roddy

"There is no definitive science that the drug works or works better than 
conventional legal alternatives." Although repeated like a mantra by the 
U.S. government, this statement is simply not true.

The 1998 National Institute on Drug Abuse Medical Marijuana Report, the 
Herbal Physician's Desk Reference, and the 1973 Medical Marijuana Papers 
all demonstrate marijuana's efficacy, and also show that smoking is often 
the most effective method of delivery. Nauseous cancer and AIDS patients 
usually cannot hold down a pill long enough for their stomachs to digest them.

Now that the court has further gutted hopes of a medical necessity defense 
in federal cases, marijuana must be placed in a less restrictive category 
than schedule 1 (no known medical use, illegal to possess). Rep. Barney 
Frank has been trying to reschedule it for years.

Peter Keyes

The U.S. Supreme Court has now officially lost all credibility.

First, the majority of the justices greatly compromised the integrity of 
the court when they ruled to halt the Florida recount. This ruling in 
essence declared "every vote does not count". Now they have unanimously 
ruled that in federal court, medical necessity of a defendant's marijuana 
use cannot be considered as evidence for his or her defense.

The court reached this unanimous decision even though medical doctors and 
voters in at least nine states have passed laws to defend 
doctor-recommended use of marijuana for patients with serious illnesses.

Justice is supposed to be blind, holding the balance, weighing the 
evidence. The U.S. Supreme Court has now become a partisan tool for the 
right-wing agenda, turning a deaf ear to science, reason, and your vote.

Alan Archuleta
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