Pot Protection


This week the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana, a patient-run cannabis growing collective in Santa Cruz, California, won a preliminary injunction from a federal judge barring the U.S. Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration from interfering with its operations. The group, which was raided by the DEA in 2002, is seeking a permanent injunction, relying on a decision last December by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which said the Controlled Substances Act "is likely unconstitutional" when applied to medical marijuana users in states that recognize trhe drug as a medicine.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department has asked the Supreme Court to overturn the 9th Circuit's ruling, which was based on the Court's decisions seeking to put limits on Congress's powers under the Commerce Clause. If the Court agrees to hear the case (as seems likely, given the implications for federal drug law enforcement), it will have to choose between curtailing the war on drugs and explaining why possessing pot in one's home is closer to interstate commerce than possessing a gun in a school is. At the very least, it should be entertaining.

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  1. Wait a minute – I like the ganja and yet I give lots of money to Republicans. I guess THAT math equation is wrong.

  2. Like Patrick said.

    P&T’s BS rules.

  3. By the way, 4/23 is the feast day of Khizr, Islam’s patron “saint” of cannabis.

    Just in case you had any leftovers from 4/20…

  4. Islam has a cannabis saint? I may have to re-think my contempt for the religion.

    I’m surprised that Saudi Arabia still outlaws the stuff, though.

  5. How do you pronounce “Khizr”?
    Looks like a good word for an atheist to work into his cocktail hour conversation.

  6. Not sure how the name is pronounced, but he was a Persian sufi mystic. I imagine it would follow the Farsi pronunciation.

    Interestingly, neither the Torah, the Bible, nor the Quor’an specifically enjoin their adherents from using cannabis. I imagine it was considered a threat to secular power interests.

  7. John wrote:

    -People that like guns give lots of money to Republicans.

    -People that like Ganja don’t give lots of money to Republicans.

    Maybe if there were more elected Republicans like Maryland Gov. Ehrlich, we’d see more people who like Ganja donating to Republicans. For those not in Maryland, our Governor signed a medpot bill that was passed by the legislature (yes, actually passed by the legislature, not by a popular referendum!) despite some pretty intense lobbying by the White House to veto the bill. By standing up to the Bushies, Gov. Ehrlich has earned my vote when he comes up for re-election in 2006.

  8. It should be -People that like bud don’t give lot’s of money to the Democrat’s.

  9. Ruthless,
    Kiz – zer (think Ivana Trump saying kiss + last sylable of blazer). That should be close enough for your white devil tongue. 🙂

  10. -People that like Ganja don’t give lots of money to Republicans

    Well, maybe. But if they’re giving money to Democrats instead, they need to set down the bong and do a little research.

    The first wave of attempted medi-pot legalization happened, in California, Arizona, et. al, when Bill Clinton was President. His reaction was to send in the DEA to bust some heads and reassert the federal government’s right to tell the voters to go fuck themselves.

    The simple truth of the matter is that individual *politicians* of both parties support legalization, but both parties are, as a whole, vehemently against it.

  11. Mo,
    You are a lifesaver.
    As we speak, I’m transmitting to California daughter.
    I don’t want her to seem lak she migrated from Ohio or something.
    Pronunciation is everything out there.
    De Lingo

  12. BTW Jacob, nice appearance on “Bullsh*t” last night. That show rocks.

  13. Maybe it’s just me, but aren’t these victories somewhat bittersweet? I mean, for those who (like Sullum) are opposed to the criminalization of drugs because of its relation to liberty and freedom, don’t these petty arguments over whether “marijuana as medicide” exist in a separate arena? I know, it’s a victory for the courts to side with state law over the justice dept, but these argument are over the wrong part of the issue. It shouldn’t be about whether you can use marijuana as a medicine…it should be about whether the government should subjectively outlaw drugs in the first place. And, it seems, when you pigeonhole the issue into the “medicinal” arena, then the “recreational use” arena is left behind.

  14. “Medicide” – I like that.

  15. Ewilliam-
    If half a loaf is better than none, I guess one-thousandth of a loaf is also an improvement.

  16. Jennifer–

    I certainly realize the positive gains made by any step forward from absolute prohibition. Somethin’s better than nothin, they always say. My fear, though, is that the anti-drug-war argument will get pigeonholed into the medicinal marijuana argument.

    Perhaps baby steps are adequate, for now. I just don’t want the bloody courts and justice department crying, “see, you got med-bud legalized in Cali. Happy now? You got what you wanted, now go home and shut up!” Because what we really wants is an end to the war on drugs. It needs to be made clear that med-bud is a skirmish in the larger war on the war on drugs. It needs to be made clear that, while legalizing med-bud is good, it is not the main goal, by any means.

  17. -People that like guns give lots of money to Republicans.

    -People that like Ganja don’t give lots of money to Republicans.

    You can do the math from there.

  18. Ewilliam-
    I seem to recall (from books, not firsthand!) that during Prohibition, a lot of people could get legal alcohol by getting medical prescriptions for it.

    I hate to say this, but the Drug Warriors are right, at least in saying that Medical marijuana would be a step toward legalization. Presumably, any pre-menopausal woman could get some for cramp relief (Queen Victoria’s physicians prescribed cannabis to her for just that reason); anyone suffering from nausea, anyone with eye damage, et cetera.

  19. Ewilliam,
    Its about choosing your battles. Right now, the priority is to get the sick and dying the legal rights to obtain and use medical MJ. If that is as far as it goes, then at least it meets the needs of those who need it most. Following that, I personally think the next priority is to curtail the gov’t spending on a war they just can’t win. I think it gets more obvious as our long time allies are starting to liberalize MJ laws in their countries.

  20. I’m with ewilliam.
    It’s about strategy.
    Iraq is an example of bad strategy.
    I think the best strategy is to keep hammering away at the point that if the First Amendment allows us to put what we want into our thoughts, the founders surely assumed we have the right to put what we please into our bodies.
    I think we wasted time and energy dancing around this.

  21. I defy anyone to seriously argue that Constitutional establishment of federal power to regulate interstate commerce includes the power to quash commerce entirely: to make things illegal and turn people into criminals for dealing in those things. It’s clear that somebody once made that argument, and that those in government who wanted power were all too happy to run with it, and to convince the public that their appropriation and subsequent wielding of that power was “a good thing.” From here, however, the proposition and its supporting arguments seem excessively silly, and grow more so with each outrageous act by government in the name of the “Drug War,” or the “Healtcare Crisis.”

    The point of liberty is to live your own life your way. The point of a government that promotes liberty is to enable you to live your life your own way, and to restrain or punish you only if you act to keep someone else from enjoying his own similar freedom. Can anyone doubt, from reading the writings of the people who founded our country, that those were their fundamental goals: to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity? Every law must be viewed through the lenses of these basic principles, and rejected or repealed if it falls short. The Controlled Substances act is simply wrong, when measured against those principles as well as many others. Government’s presumption to regulate even legal drugs to the point of postponing their introduction into this country for years, or banning them outright, is wrong.

    What will it take for people to realize that, even with all its faults, real and potential, and despite the occasional high-profile fraud or scandal, the free market is a better regulator of food and drugs than the government ever CAN be, much less ever WILL be?

    Our challenge is to build a civilized society that prospers in liberty, not to restrict or contort our liberties until we conform to somebody else’s idea of “civilized society.” We won’t begin to rise to that challenge until we get rid of agencies such as the FDA and the DEA. I’m amazed that people don’t see this; or else, I’m deeply disappointed that they don’t WANT it. What kind of Americans are we, anyway?

  22. The medical MJ progress is vital and here’s why.

    With each passing day, week, month of citizens being allowed legal medical access, we are able to create valid, peer-reviewable medical data and information related to the use of MMJ.

    A lot of coverage has been given to the various DEA raids of legal medical marijuana facilities during the past 3 years. However, very little coverage has been given to the fact that in each case the DEA seized all patient records.

    The government is terrified of a valid medical database being created related to MMJ. Because much of the information that is thus learned seems quite likely to disagree with seven decades of government inspired reefer madness. And then the entire foundation of marijuana prohibiton laws is in danger.

  23. Steve-
    I never knew that! Why the hell isn’t anybody suing them over that? I mean, marijuana is still illegal, so the DEA has the legal (if not moral) right to confiscate that, but what the hell gives them the authority to confiscate MEDICAL RECORDS?

  24. Jennifer, to date (with exception of the great rulings over past 24 months) the fucking DEA does whatever the fuck they want.

    Forgive my French, since I usually preefer to rant sans profanity, but there ain’t no other way to describe DEA actions against legal MMJ users.

    But note that people ARE suing….it’s just taking routine sluggish route thru the court systems to get us to where we are today. That’s why we have to keep getting up every morning.

    Hell, if Roe v Wade is not entirely safe from attack, we can be assured that the efforts to remove MMJ patients from the field of battle will likely persist for quite some time.

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