Let me underscore the message in Julian Sanchez's post below about the Supreme Court ruling against the use of medical marijuana even in states that have passed laws legalizing the practice: This is a major fuck you to sick people who are in pain.
The Miami Herald carries a long version of the AP story on the 6-3 ruling. It includes snippets from Sandra Day O'Connor's dissent, which sounds pretty right-on:
"The states' core police powers have always included authority to define criminal law and to protect the health, safety, and welfare of their citizens," said O'Connor, who was joined in her dissent by two other states' rights advocates: Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justice Clarence Thomas.
The legal question presented a dilemma for the court's conservatives, who have pushed to broaden states' rights in recent years. They earlier invalidated federal laws dealing with gun possession near schools and violence against women on the grounds the activity was too local to justify federal intrusion.
O'Connor said she would have opposed California's medical marijuana law if she were a voter or a legislator. But she said the court was overreaching to endorse "making it a federal crime to grow small amounts of marijuana in one's own home for one's own medicinal use."
Compare O'Connor's take to that of 85-year-old Justice John Paul Stevens, who tells the two defendants, Angel Raich and Diane Monson (suffering from a brain tumor and a degenerative spine disease, respectively), to stop and smell the democratic roses:
Stevens said there are other legal options for patients, "but perhaps even more important than these legal avenues is the democratic process, in which the voices of voters allied with these (California women) may one day be heard in the halls of Congress."
Stevens' comments neatly ignore that the democratic process has in fact already been exercised–back in 1996, when California (and Arizona) passed laws legalizing medical marijuana. Perhaps the only heartening thing in the ruling was that generally staunch federalists Rehnquist and Thomas stuck to their legal guns here (especially since Thomas will be on the bench for a long time to come).
It goes without saying that the government's war on marijuana is idiotic; it goes double that the government's war on medical marijuana is beyond idiotic.