U.S. Supreme Court:
FEDERAL LAW DOES NOT TRUMP STATE LAWS ON MEDICAL MARIJUANA
by Steve Kubby
Last Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court Monday quietly, but overwhelmingly destroyed the allegations by state law enforcement that, "Federal law trumps state laws on medical marijuana."
The Supremes declined to review a lower court decision that ordered Garden Grove, California, police to return marijuana seized from a medical marijuana patient. In November 2007, the California Fourth District Court of Appeal had ordered the marijuana returned, finding that "it is not the job of local police to enforce federal drug laws."
This was the fourth shot the Supremes had at bringing down Prop. 215 and, instead, the high court handed us a silent, but deadly victory.
It may be a win by default, but it is most certainly a huge win, perhaps our greatest win to date.
Felix Kha was pulled over by Garden Grove police in 2005 and cited for marijuana possession despite showing officers his medical marijuana documentation. The case was subsequently dismissed, and the Orange County Superior Court ordered the police to return Kha's wrongfully seized quarter-ounce of marijuana. Police and the city of Garden Grove refused to return the pot, and appealed the ruling, but lost in the state appeals court last year.
Incredibly, the Appeals Court correctly assessed the federal and state laws on medical marijuana and found NO conflict. The justices found that the federal laws were intended to stop drug ABUSE, while the state laws rightfully addressed MEDICAL use, as provided under the concept of Federalism.
Here is how the three Appeals Court judges put it:
"Congress enacted the CSA to combat recreational drug abuse and curb drug trafficking. Gonzales v. Oregon, supra, 546 U.S. at p. 271; Gonzales v. Raich, supra, 545 U.S. at pp. 10-13.) Its goal was not to regulate the practice of medicine, a task that falls within the traditional powers of the states. (Gonzales v. Oregon, supra, 546 U.S. at p. 269.) Speaking for the majority in Gonzales v. Oregon, Justice Kennedy explained, "The [CSA] and our case law amply support the conclusion that Congress regulates medical practice insofar as it bars doctors from using their prescription-writing powers as a means to engage in illicit drug dealing and trafficking as conventionally understood. Beyond this, however, the statute manifests no intent to regulate the practice of medicine generally." (Ibid.)"
The California Supreme Court refused to review the case in March.
Now, the U.S. Supreme Court has followed suit. The refusals to hear the appeal means the two high courts have accepted the state appeals court's reasoning that California's medical marijuana law is not preempted by federal law and finally lays to waste the bogus claim that state police can ignore state law and arrest patients, or keep their medicine under federal law.
This is a huge win for all of us, because it removes one of the most basic foundations of law enforcements recalcitrance in obeying state marijuana laws and in upholding the rights of medical marijuana patients.
Special thanks to Americans for Safe Access and their brilliant attorney, Joe Elford, for a job well done.
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Pubdate: Fri, 12 Dec 2008
Source: DrugSense Weekly (DSW)
Section: Feature Article
Author: Steve Kubby
Note: Steve Kubby is Director of The American Medical Marijuana Association
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