California med-pot in court

Prohibition hangs by a thread in Canada, as at least four constitutional challenges to pot laws are currently being heard in courts across the land. In the US, battles continue between the states and the federal government for the fate of medical pot. The reverberations are felt as far away as the Vatican, where Pope John Paul II recently rejected legalization, issuing a declaration late in 2001, calling the marijuana and drug economy “death trafficking.” For cannabis users, it is a slap in the face.
Doesn’t the Pope remember when the Catholic sacrament of alcohol was prohibited in the early 1900’s? Are we still living in the era of the witch hunts, when one’s choice of sacrament or medicine meant facing extinction at the hands of storm troopers with a papal blessing?

California med-pot in court

Federal authorities in the US fruitlessly continue their attack against state initiatives that have legalized medical cannabis. Of particular concern to cops are cannabis buyers clubs that have sprung up to fill the growing demand for medical pot.

The latest turn of events was a Federal Supreme Court decision in May 2001, in the case of the Oakland Cannabis Buyers Club, which overturned a lower court ruling favouring medical cannabis clubs in California. When the Federal Supreme Court ruled against the club’s arguments, police opened a hunting season against medical cannabis clubs throughout the state. Robert Raich, attorney for the Oakland Club, explained how cops misperceived the Federal Supreme Court ruling.

“All the Federal Supreme Court did in May was to say that [medical]necessity is not a defense to the Controlled Substances Act,” said Raich in November 2001. “The supreme court left open all our various other constitutional arguments. They expressly refused to rule on any of them and remanded the case to the 9th circuit.”

After Cannabis Culture spoke with Raich, the case was remanded again from the 9th circuit court to the Northern District of California court where it originated, meaning that the Buyers Club will have to fight their way up through the various levels of appeal, individually, on every issue they raise before the courts. Raich outlined the three arguments remaining to the club:

“Firstly, what we are saying that it if the court’s injunction [against the club’s operations]prohibits the club’s activities within the state, then it would exceed congress’ power under the commerce clause of the constitution,” said Raich. “Secondly, we are saying it would interfere with state sovereignty, under the principles of federalism confirmed in the 10th amendment of the constitution. Thirdly, it would deny fundamental freedoms protected under the 9th amendment and due process clause of the 5th amendment: to preserve bodily integrity, to ameliorate pain, to prolong life and to the sanctity of the physician/patient relationship.”

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