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Indybay Feature
Mon Jun 6 2005
Supreme Court Overturns 9th Circuit Decison in Favor of Medical Marijuana
Feds Still Can Arrest for Medical Marijuana, Court Says Congress Would Regulate Interstate Markets for MMJ
The US Supreme Court today ruled against Angel Raich and Diane Monson in their medical marijuana case. This means that the federal government can continue arresting patients who are using medical marijuana legally under state law. However, according to a statement from the Marijuana Policy Project, the decision did not overturn the medical marijuana laws in 10 states that protect patients from arrest by state and local police. The nation's highest court said that it is Congress, not the Court, who would have the jurisdiction to change federal law to protect medical marijuana patients from arrest.

In its majority opinion against Raich and Monson, the Court issued a significant word of warning about the wisdom of current federal laws: "The case is made difficult by respondents' strong arguments that they will suffer irreparable harm because, despite a congressional finding to the contrary, marijuana does have valid therapeutic purposes. The question before us, however, is not whether it is wise to enforce the statute in these circumstances; rather, it is whether Congress' power to regulate interstate markets for medicinal substances encompasses the portions of those markets that are supplied with drugs produced and consumed locally." California NORML says in response, "The DEA and federal law enforcement officials would be well advised to heed this caution before rushing to enforce their bankrupt federal law."

Read the decision | NORML Statement | Angel Raich's website | Indybay's 12/23/04 coverage of DMV harassment of Diane Monson | Indybay coverage of 11/29 court appearance | 11/21 coverage | Indybay coverage of 9th circuit decision
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