Pubdate: Fri, 23 Apr 2004
Source: Honolulu Star-Bulletin (HI)
Copyright: 2004 Honolulu Star-Bulletin
Cited: Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana
Bookmark: (WAMM)
Bookmark: (Santa Cruz v. Ashcroft)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)



A federal judge in California has ordered the federal government not
to raid a farm where marijuana is grown for medicinal purposes.

ANOTHER court victory by patients seeking relief from pain by smoking
marijuana has brought them closer to gaining legal access to the
cannabis. While the U.S. Supreme Court considers the government's
appeal of a ruling that forbids federal prosecution of patients using
marijuana, a judge in California has temporarily blocked the
government from raiding gardens where medicinal marijuana is grown.
The ruling eventually should be made permanent and extend to Hawaii.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel of San Jose follows a
ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that federal agencies
cannot prosecute medical marijuana users in states where it is legal.
The appellate court's ruling is applicable in seven Western states,
including California and Hawaii, that have legalized medical marijuana
and are within the 9th Circuit's jurisdiction. The Justice Department
appealed the 9th Circuit ruling to the Supreme Court earlier this month.

Federal narcotics agents raided a marijuana farm operated by the
250-member Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana in Santa Cruz in
September 2002, seizing 167 plants and arresting founders Valerie and
Michael Corral. The collective sued the government, but Fogel refused
in August to block further raids while the Wo/Men's Alliance case is

Fogel agreed to impose such an order based on the 9th Circuit's
December ruling forbidding federal prosecution of two Oakland users of
medical marijuana as long as they grow their own or get it for free
from other growers. The Supreme Court earlier last year upheld a 9th
Circuit ruling that the federal government could not revoke
prescription rights of physicians recommending marijuana for their

Like the 1996 California law, a Hawaii statute allows patients with
doctors' recommendations to grow, smoke or obtain marijuana for their
medical needs. However, many patients on Oahu don't know how to obtain
seeds or how to cultivate it, or they don't have land on which to grow
it, according to Thomas Mountain, who runs a cooperative of medical
marijuana patients.

Fogel's decision is temporary and applies only to members of the Santa
Cruz collective. However, if the Supreme Court upholds the appellate
court ruling, the government would be remiss in trying to keep medical
marijuana users from growing it in a garden operated by a collective
of medical marijuana users. 
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