(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today issued the following statement on today’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in Gonzales v. Raich, which holds that federal laws prohibiting the use of medical marijuana remain in effect regardless of state laws that permit its use:
“Today’s ruling does not overturn California law permitting the use of medical marijuana, but it does uphold a federal regulatory scheme that contradicts the will of California voters and limits the right of states to provide appropriate medical care for its citizens. Although I am disappointed in the outcome of today’s decision, legitimate medical marijuana patients in California must know that state and federal laws are no different today than they were yesterday.
“Californians spoke overwhelmingly in favor of medical marijuana by passing Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Initiative, and that law still stands in our state. Unfortunately, federal law continues to criminalize the use of physician-recommended marijuana medicine. This conflict between state and federal law means that seriously ill Californians will continue to run the risk of arrest and prosecution under federal law when they grow or use marijuana as medicine.
“Today’s ruling shows the vast philosophical difference between the federal government and Californians on the rights of patients to have access to the medicine they need to survive and lead healthier lives. Taking medicine on the recommendation of a doctor for a legitimate illness should not be a crime.
“There is something very wrong with a federal law that treats medical marijuana the same as heroin. The United States Congress and the President have the power to reform and modernize federal law in order to bring relief to medical patients and still punish those who illegally traffic in substances. Patients, physicians and the public that support medicinal marijuana should tell their Congressional Representatives and Senators to take a fresh look at the federal laws that ban its use.”
Attorney General Bill Lockyer
California Department of Justice www.ag.ca.gov
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Teresa Schilling
June 6, 2005 05-041 (916) 324-5500