Judges consider whether the feds have ignored medical evidence on marijuana

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Tomorrow (Tues/16), for the first time in more than 20 years, a court will consider whether the federal government has improperly ignored evidence of marijuana's medical value in continuing to classify it as a Schedule 1 narcotic, the category of dangerous drugs with no medicinal value.

“This is a very big deal,” said David Goldman, a San Francisco representative of Americans for Safe Access, part of the coalition that brought the lawsuit that will be heard by the US Court of Appeals in Washington DC. “I am personally optimistic given the three judges [that will hear the case] are Clinton appointees.”

The federal government has consistently maintained a hardline on marijuana, through both Republican and Democratic administrations, rejecting various efforts to get it rescheduled in the face of a growing body of research that it has a wide range of medical benefits, from simple alleviation of anxiety to treatment for diseases such as cancer, AIDS, and glaucoma.

In fact, Goldman said federal officials who doubt marijuana's medical affects should come to “Cannabis in Medicine: A Primer for Health Care Professionals,” a training session for medical professionals that the University of California at San Francisco is hosting Oct. 24-25. It will feature doctors discussing their research on the “endocannabinoid system” and using marijuana to treat cancer and pain, among other sessions.

Tomorrow's court hearing and subsequent ruling could undermine the Obama Administration's current crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries in California and other states that have legalized it for medical use, giving patients the right to bring a medical necessity defense in federal courts and possibly raising medical marijuana as an issue in the presidential campaign.

As we reported in August, local and state officials have been strongly resisting the federal crackdown, which has shuttered a third of San Francisco's two dozen licensed clubs. More recently, the city of Oakland has intervened on behalf of Harborside Health Center – one of the country's biggest and highest profile marijuana dispensaries – which was raided by the feds earlier this year. Among other defenses is Oakland's citing of a court ruling that the federal government can't turn a blind eye to something for more than five years and then suddenly swoop in, bust people, and seize assets.

California was the first of 17 states that have legalized marijuana for medical use, allowing localities to set up system for regulating its distribution and giving patients the cite that right in court. But on the federal level, the war on drugs has continued unabated, something that this hearing could begin to change.

Comments

How can any responsible parent not desire a saner drug policy, and one that’s based on facts rather than reefer madness? Prohibition guarantees that many illegal drugs are far easier for our children to procure than even alcohol or nicotine. That's because, even though these are both very dangerous and addictive drugs, they are at least sold in properly controlled and regulated environments.

Under our present regime, certain plants/concoctions/drugs are sold only by criminals and terrorists; the huge black-market profits are used to threaten innocent civilians, bribe law enforcement officials, and buy support from unconscionable politicians; the availability and usage rates tend to go up, not down, and our prisons have become filled to capacity with easily replaced vendors and smugglers —this list of dangerous and negative consequences is actually endless. To continue prohibition is ludicrous, and those of us who can't see that by now, must be either severely and mentally challenged or using something far stronger than any of us have even heard of.

Why on earth should we be willing to whack ourselves with ever-bigger and more-repressive prohibition hammers, while drug use and availability keep going up, not down, and while we all plunge deeper into Loserville?

Prohibition is the most destructive, dysfunctional, dishonest and racist social policy since Slavery. Prohibition is a holocaust in slow motion. We MUST end it NOW!

Posted by Malcolm Kyle on Oct. 15, 2012 @ 9:49 pm

How can any responsible parent not desire a saner drug policy, and one that’s based on facts rather than reefer madness? Prohibition guarantees that many illegal drugs are far easier for our children to procure than even alcohol or nicotine. That's because, even though these are both very dangerous and addictive drugs, they are at least sold in properly controlled and regulated environments.

Under our present regime, certain plants/concoctions/drugs are sold only by criminals and terrorists; the huge black-market profits are used to threaten innocent civilians, bribe law enforcement officials, and buy support from unconscionable politicians; the availability and usage rates tend to go up, not down, and our prisons have become filled to capacity with easily replaced vendors and smugglers —this list of dangerous and negative consequences is actually endless. To continue prohibition is ludicrous, and those of us who can't see that by now, must be either severely and mentally challenged or using something far stronger than any of us have even heard of.

Why on earth should we be willing to whack ourselves with ever-bigger and more-repressive prohibition hammers, while drug use and availability keep going up, not down, and while we all plunge deeper into Loserville?

Prohibition is the most destructive, dysfunctional, dishonest and racist social policy since Slavery. Prohibition is a holocaust in slow motion. We MUST end it NOW!

Posted by Malcolm Kyle on Oct. 15, 2012 @ 9:50 pm

Consider INVESTING in the full legalization movement with stock symbol MJNA (Medical Marijuana Inc) -- With the most recent polls surging in Washington (37 and 24 point leads -- ALL with majority leads) and Colorado (11 and 5 points leads), there's no telling where this will go in November.

Posted by Brockland on Oct. 15, 2012 @ 11:11 pm

Consider INVESTING in the full legalization movement with stock symbol MJNA (Medical Marijuana Inc) -- With the most recent polls surging in Washington (37 and 24 point leads -- ALL with majority leads) and Colorado (11 and 5 points leads), there's no telling where this will go in November.

Posted by Brockland on Oct. 15, 2012 @ 11:12 pm