9th Cir. Rules for Medical Marijuana
In a major blow to the Justice Department, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today ruled that the federal drug crime statute does not apply to those simply using medical marijuana with a doctor's recommendation:
A federal appeals court ruled today that a law outlawing marijuana may not apply to sick people with a doctor's recommendation in states that have approved medical marijuana laws.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, ruling 2-1 in a rare late-afternoon filing, said prosecuting these medical marijuana users under a 1970 federal law is unconstitutional if the marijuana isn't sold, transported across state lines or used for non-medicinal purposes.
``The intrastate, noncommercial cultivation, possession and use of marijuana for personal medical purposes on the advice of a physician is, in fact, different in kind from drug trafficking,'' Judge Harry Pregerson wrote for the majority.
The court added that ``this limited use is clearly distinct from the broader illicit drug market, as well as any broader commercial market for medical marijuana, insofar as the medical marijuana at issue in this case is not intended for, nor does it enter, the stream of commerce.''
The case is Raich v. Ashcroft, 03-15481, the decision is here.
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