LOCKYER PUSHES TO PROTECT MEDICAL MARIJUANA LAW
Wed, 21 Feb 2001 - San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer
Attorney General Bill Lockyer urged the
U.S. Supreme Court yesterday to stop federal
interference with California's medical marijuana law.
The court is scheduled to hear arguments March 28
over rulings by lower federal courts that would allow
the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative to
distribute marijuana to patients with cancer, AIDS
and other diseases who can't benefit from legal
California's Prop. 215, which paved the way for
medical marijuana laws in eight other states, allowed
patients whose doctors had recommended the drug to
use it without risking prosecution under state law.
Advocates say marijuana can have life-saving powers
in combating pain, nausea and loss of appetite
suffered by some AIDS and cancer patients.
But President Clinton's Justice Department invoked
the federal ban on marijuana in suits seeking to shut
down several Northern California dispensaries,
including the Oakland cooperative.
After losing early rounds in the case, the
Oakland organization, supported by city officials,
scored a major victory when the federal appeals court
ruled last year that patients able to show a medical
necessity could obtain marijuana under Prop. 215,
the Justice Department persuaded the Supreme Court to
review the case.
The ruling, due by the end of June, is
likely to determine the scope of medical marijuana
laws in states that already have them and others that
are considering them.