Pubdate: Fri, 08 Apr 2005
Source: Collegiate Times (VA Tech,  Edu)
Copyright: 2005 Collegiate Times
Author: Michael Krawitz, Regular Columnist


As I write this column the United States Supreme Court is deliberating
on the fate of over 32 individuals directly and many millions more by
extension. I will dedicate my next column to my opinion of the legal
aspects of the case and it's meaning within the overall debate on the
use of marijuana as a medicine but for now I want to just introduce a
few more facts.

The case before the court is one stemming from a 2002 lawsuit filed by
two medical cannabis patients, Angel McClary Raich, Diane Monson, and
two caregivers, John Doe Number One, and John Doe Number Two who filed
a complaint and motion for preliminary injunction against Attorney
General John Ashcroft and former DEA Administrator Asa Hutchinson.
They asked Judge Martin Jenkins to issue a preliminary injunction
during the pendency of this action and a permanent injunction
enjoining defendants from arresting or prosecuting plaintiffs, seizing
their medical cannabis, forfeiting their property, or seeking civil or
administrative sanctions against them for their activities.

Case info may be found at:

A decision in Ashcroft v. Raich is expected before the end of June

The following lives hang in the balance of this case:

Medical marijuana growers Bryan Epis and Keith Alden were released pending
the Raich ruling. The Raich case will also affect three California medical
cannabis dispensaries with cases in the 9th Circuit: the Oakland Cannabis
Buyers' Cooperative, the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana and the Ukiah
Cannabis Buyers Club. The three cases have been bundled together as a
single case, but they have different implications for the dispensaries

The Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM) has a high stakes
interest in the outcome of the Raich case. On Sept. 5, 2002, 30 armed
DEA agents raided WAMM's Davenport marijuana garden and the home of
its founders, Valerie and Michael Corral. Agents chainsawed 167
marijuana plants while holding the Corrals and a patient at gunpoint.
But the DEA's exit was blocked by patients who successfully negotiated
for the Corrals release. No charges were ever filed.

Ed Rosenthal says if the Raich outcome is favorable, charges against
him for possession and maintaining a place for cultivation would not
be crimes because he was never charged with sales.

Eddy Lepp, a 57-year-old Vietnam veteran, says he and his wife, Linda
Senti, were growing medical cannabis for about 4,000 patients. If
Raich-Monson wins a ruling that says non-commercial, intrastate
medical-marijuana transactions are not subject to federal law, it will
clearly benefit Lepp.

Leroy Stubblefield, a quadriplegic Vietnam veteran from Portland,
Ore., had 12 marijuana plants seized from his home in September 2002
by DEA agent Michael Spasaro.

The criminal appeals of Judy and Lynn Osburn and the related civil
forfeiture action against their Ventura County ranch home of 28 years
turns on the disposition of the Raich case. Judy Osburn is the former
director of the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center, which was raided
and shut down by the DEA in October 2001.

In March 2004 Anna and Gary Barrett became the first federal
defendants permitted to tell a jury that the marijuana they grew was
for medical purposes. If a jury finds that the Barretts were in
compliance with California's medical marijuana laws, U.S. District
Judge Nora Manella said she would direct jurors to acquit the couple.
Before the Raich preliminary injunction patients who went to trial and
their witnesses could not mention medical marijuana under threat of
contempt charges.

When the home and offices of Marian "Mollie" Fry, M.D., and her
husband, attorney Dale Schafer, were raided in 2001, the DEA took some
6,000 patient files. Fry has not yet been indicted.

San Diego activist Steve McWilliams was arrested in 2002 on
cultivation charges after displaying marijuana outside City Hall.

"If we lose Raich and our own private acts are interstate commerce and
the states don't have the right to define medical practice then states
don't have much value for what they can do for citizens. The feds have
taken over," McWilliams said.

Read more about those affected by the upcoming Raich/Monson Supreme
Court decision by visiting Ann Harrison's great article in
O'Shaughnessy's, the Journal of the California Cannabis Research
Medical Group, at:
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