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Hawaii May Prosecute Doctors Who Prescribe Pot

Bump and Update: 6/9/05: ACLU threatens lawsuit against Hawaii's U.S. Attorney.

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Original Post: 7/7/05

Unbelievable. Hawaii's medical pot program is essentially dead in the wake of yesterday's Supreme Court opinon in Gonzales v. Raich. The U.S. Attorney there announced he won't prosecute users but will go after doctors who authorize residents to get a permit under the state's medical marijuana law.

U.S. Attorney Ed...Kubo said his office would not prosecute the medical marijuana smokers, but cautioned that the doctors could be prosecuted on misdemeanor charges as accomplices to the distribution of the marijuana, which is still illegal under federal law.

"The U.S. Supreme Court decision this morning is the death knell to the medical marijuana issue," he said, a sentiment shared by some medical marijuana advocates. "I would advise all physicians and anyone who is involved in distributing or helping in the distribution of any illegal narcotic to be very, very leery," he said.

All this over three plants or one ounce of usable pot:

Under the law, a person must be certified by a physician to use marijuana for a "debilitating" medical condition. The certificate allows the patient to have up to three mature, flowering marijuana plants; four immature plants; and an ounce of usable marijuana for each mature plant. The certificate must be renewed each year.

But, we're told that In Conant v. Walters, 309 F.3d 629 (9th Cir. 10/29/2002) , the 9th Circuit issued a permanent injunction enjoining the US from going after doctors who recommend the use of medical cannabis on 1st Amendment grounds. SCOTUS declined to hear it, thus the injunction stands so, contrary to the prosecutor's contention, doctors may not be at risk. [hat tip to BP, JD, CA.)

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  • Re: Hawaii May Prosecute Doctors Who Prescribe Po (none / 0) (#1)
    by veloer on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:49 PM EST
    All the "DA" wants if votes. Hawaiians get what they vote for.

    Re: Hawaii May Prosecute Doctors Who Prescribe Po (none / 0) (#2)
    by jen on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:49 PM EST
    They are very leery of anyone trying to relieve their patients' suffering.

    The U.S. Attorney is a federal prosecutor and they are not elected. They are appointed by the President and they usually serve until a new President comes in of the opposite party, who then appoints new ones from his own party. It's often a political reward type job. So the Hawaii U.S. Attorney who made this announcement is working for Alberto Gonzales under Bush. The voters have no say.

    Re: Hawaii May Prosecute Doctors Who Prescribe Po (none / 0) (#4)
    by Linkmeister on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:50 PM EST
    Thank you, Jeralyn. We vote for prosecutor out here, true, but the Fed guy isn't our fault.

    So the Hawaii U.S. Attorney who made this announcement is working for Alberto Gonzales
    You need to change the post's headline, then--it's not Hawaii that will prosecute doctors, it's the federal government, acting in Hawaii . . .

    Re: Hawaii May Prosecute Doctors Who Prescribe Po (none / 0) (#6)
    by SeeEmDee on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:50 PM EST
    Maybe I am mistaken, but so far as I can tell, no physician anywhere in the US can 'prescribe' pot to anyone; they can only make 'recommendations'. This goes back to the First Amendment fight that happened back under Clinton's regime, with Janet Reno threatening to go after doctors who made those recommendations, and the Feds got their fingers scortched as a result.

    Re: Hawaii May Prosecute Doctors Who Prescribe Po (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:50 PM EST
    Big brother, save me from my doctor and myself! Sickening.

    It is having a chilling effect other places as well. Some communities in California such as Mill Valley are closing their pot clubs and Alameda County was planning on opening its own club in a local hospital that is now in doubt. San Francisco is trying to write local regulations and one issue is record keeping --now no one will want to keep records because they could be seized by the feds and used against you.

    "Oh give me a home, Where the neocons roam, And the queers and the liberals burn..."

    Re: Hawaii May Prosecute Doctors Who Prescribe Po (none / 0) (#10)
    by kdog on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:50 PM EST
    I guess it's back to the underground black market for the sick and the suffering in the enlightened states that allow medical mj. Thanks Uncle Sam!

    He says "Fozad..." It's amazing that you can buy virtually every chemical variation of opium (hmm, what is Uncle Sam doing in Afghanistan?) but can't buy a joint to ease your MS... Creationism...create your own world and live in it...

    Re: Hawaii May Prosecute Doctors Who Prescribe Po (none / 0) (#12)
    by Dadler on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:50 PM EST
    And the liquor stores remain open and thriving. And the psychoactive drug companies continue their TV commercial blitz. There is SUCH a disconnect on this issue between power and reality it boggles the mind. Booze and Pills are America's national drugs. Use them or go to jail. Why? Because we say so.

    According to a TV-news report this week, Kubo may also try to shut down Hawai`i's needle-exchange program based on this Supreme Court ruling.

    Re: Hawaii May Prosecute Doctors Who Prescribe Po (none / 0) (#14)
    by DawesFred60 on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:53 PM EST
    So our prison syatem will be full of doctors\sawbones/physician and medico guys, and if you need a doctor just go to any prison inside the empire, must to the bush plan for taking care of people. oh yes maybe the physiscian guys can find a cure for AID'S But bush would hate that idea.

    The US gov needs to prohibit some substances. It used to be alcohol, but the Canadians were making money hand over fist hauling it into the US, and besides, when you're drunk and incoherent, propaganda is difficult to understand. Now, there is Prozac and Zoloft. Let them use that. Propaganda and lies about marijuana are used to influence law enforcement people. Marijuana growers/dealers have lots of money to confiscate along with all of the stuff they buy with the profits from marijuana sales. It's a good business the drug war. Why give up on a good thing? You would have to be crazy to end the drug war, it pays. Persecute and prosecute anybody and everybody for fun and profit. It's called 'goverprise'.

    Re: Hawaii May Prosecute Doctors Who Prescribe Po (none / 0) (#16)
    by roger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:54 PM EST
    There is a federal injunction in place, prohibiting the gov't from going after doctors who prescribe MJ. The US Supremes denied cert., so the injunction will continue to stand. I guess that the US atty there is planning to break the law. He should be removed from his office if he tries.

    Re: Hawaii May Prosecute Doctors Who Prescribe Po (none / 0) (#17)
    by Dadler on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:55 PM EST
    Roger, How can the injunction stand when this ruling essentially, unless I'm mistaken, tells lower courts that the injunction was not valid? This ruling said the feds CAN, and CONSTITUTIONALLY so, prosecute medical mj participants. The injunction would seem to be automatically lifted.

    Re: Hawaii May Prosecute Doctors Who Prescribe Po (none / 0) (#18)
    by roger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:56 PM EST
    My understanding is that the injunction is based on 1st amend grounds. The doc can tell you that pot would help, he cant actually give you pot

    The U.S. Attorney has backed down. Credit goes to the ACLU of Hawai`i.