Pubdate: Sun, 25 Apr 2004
Source: Salt Lake Tribune (UT)
Copyright: 2004 The Salt Lake Tribune
Action: see
Cited: Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana
Bookmark: (WAMM)
Bookmark: (Santa Cruz v. Ashcroft)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


Whenever folks over at the U.S. Justice Department were feeling blue
about anti-American terrorists, uppity librarians or naked statues
standing behind the attorney general, they could always take a deep
drag on the anti-drug drug by busting a few terminal cancer patients
in California.

But now some derned activist federal judge has taken that simple
pleasure away from them. Some days it just doesn't pay to be a
jack-booted thug.

It will be of great comfort to a few people, at least for awhile, to
be members of the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana in Santa
Cruz, Calif. That's because a federal judge Wednesday ordered the feds
to stay away while the dispute over California's medical marijuana law
plays out in the courts.

The co-op's garden was shut down 18 months ago by a federal raid,
surely one of the ugliest acts of governmental bullying on record.

But U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel, echoing an earlier appeals court
ruling, found that the Wo/Men's Alliance was protected by a state law
that allows people with a doctor's recommendation to use marijuana to
ease the suffering attendant to cancer, cancer treatment, glaucoma or
other ills that, many believe, are eased by the drug.

The case is wending its way up to the Supreme Court. But, for now,
California co-ops run on volunteer labor and donated funds that do not
engage in anything resembling interstate commerce, may grow and
distribute free pot to suffering people.

Even if the medicinal benefits are oversold, medical marijuana laws in
California and eight other states are clearly motivated by the desire
to ease human suffering.

The administration's actions seem motivated by baser instincts
including, perhaps, fear that someone might win relief from a
substance they can grow themselves rather than being at the mercy of
the price-gouging pharmaceutical industry.

The Wo/Men's Alliance grows the marijuana, but the Justice Department
is full of weeds.
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