9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Denies Bush Administration Request To Reconsider Medical Marijuana Ruling
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Wednesday denied the Bush administration's for the court to reconsider its ruling that allows California residents to grow and use marijuana for medical purposes, the New York Times reports (Murphy, New York Times, 2/27). A three-judge panel of the court in December ruled 2-1 that prosecuting people who use marijuana for medical purposes under the 1970 Controlled Substances Act is unconstitutional in states where the drug's use is allowed under a physician's advice, provided that the marijuana is not sold, transported across state lines or used for nonmedical purposes. The case involved Angel Raich of Oakland and Diane Monson of Oroville, who received letters from their physicians authorizing them to use marijuana for medical purposes; the physicians' permission protected them from state and local prosecution under Proposition 215, a 1996 ballot measure that legalized medical use of marijuana. Monson had already been subject to a federal raid in August 2002 during which six of her marijuana plants were seized and destroyed. To protect themselves from further federal interference with their treatment, Raich and Monson filed a lawsuit in October 2002 against Attorney General John Ashcroft (R) and then DEA Chief Asa Hutchinson, and when a district judge ruled against them, they appealed to the 9th Circuit Court (California Healthline, 12/17/03). The ruling effectively allows people in California and six other Western states with similar medical marijuana laws to use the drug without facing federal prosecution, medical marijuana advocates said. Department of Justice officials declined to comment on the order, which was made public Thursday, and did not say whether they would appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court (New York Times, 2/27).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.