Pubdate: Wed, 01 Dec 2004
Source: Wisconsin State Journal (WI)
Copyright: 2004 Madison Newspapers, Inc.
Author: Bruce Mirken


Friday's story on the Supreme Court medical marijuana case, "The fate
of medical marijuana," misstated one key point. This case will not
decide "whether states have the right to adopt" medical marijuana
laws. The federal government has never challenged the right of states
to pass such laws, and their validity is not at issue now. The only
question before the court is whether these laws also give patients
protection from enforcement of federal marijuana laws.

If this sounds like a narrow distinction, remember that the federal
government makes only one percent of all marijuana arrests; 99 percent
are made by state and local police acting under state law. While 99
percent protection from arrest isn't perfect, it's a huge step forward
for seriously ill patients. There is no danger of state medical
marijuana laws being overturned, and states considering similar
proposals do not need to worry that the federal government can somehow
invalidate them.

Bruce Mirken, director of communications, Marijuana Policy Project,
Washington, D.C.
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