Raich Goes Down

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The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the Supreme Court's judgment against Angel Raich.

A California woman whose doctor says marijuana is the only medicine keeping her alive can face federal prosecution on drug charges, a U.S. appeals court ruled Wednesday.

The case was brought by Angel Raich, an Oakland mother of two who suffers from scoliosis, a brain tumor, chronic nausea and other ailments. On her doctor's advice, she eats or smokes marijuana every couple of hours to ease her pain and bolster a nonexistent appetite as conventional drugs did not work.

The Supreme Court ruled against Raich two years ago, saying that medical marijuana users and their suppliers could be prosecuted for breaching federal drug laws even if they lived in a state such as California where medical pot is legal.

Because of that ruling, the issue before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was narrowed to the so-called right to life theory: that marijuana should be allowed if it is the only viable option to keep a patient alive.

Rather cruelly, the court's left Raich with the option of getting arrested and defending her marijuana use under the Medical Necessity Defense. Her response: "I have to get myself busted in order to try to save my life."

Previous Reason writing on Raich:

https://reason.com/news/show/33119.html

https://reason.com/news/show/32933.html

http://pressherald.mainetoday.com/insight/stories/050612marijuana.shtml

https://www.reason.com/news/show/32940.html

https://www.reason.com/news/show/35942.html

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  1. Fuckin’ ‘a. Not cool.

  2. fuck the 9th circuit, fuck the supreme court.

  3. Disgusting. No other word for it.

  4. But don’t you SEE? If she’s able to use MARIJUANA, our children will think its okay!!! And if our children think that smoking pot is okay, then they’re going to start doing stuff like randomly running people over while they leave Burger King! Or maybe their girlfriends will run off with poorly drawn aliens! We can’t have that happen!!!

    WON’T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILLLLLLLLLLLDREN?

  5. Good to see we’re still erring on the side of life….

  6. It wouldn’t be so bad if Bush didn’t insist on having these hardass AGs who consider prosecuting weed crimes to be of the highest priority. Just maybe a President Obama might decide to hire someone who isn’t all gung-ho about enforcing drug laws at the expense of people who are not only completely harmless, but in need of the drugs they take (pain pills being another example). Unfortunately, experience shows that no matter who is the AG, they grow into their job rather quickly and look to put as many people behind bars as possible like they’re on a fucking quota or something.

  7. What were the court’s options? I think this law is as idiotic as everyone else does but the courts don’t make the laws. If our fearless leaders decide to pass a law protecting us from that evil plant, and someone violates that law, it’s really not up to the courts to say this law sucks, you can go free. Is this correct or did they have some other option?

  8. My God! Even back during the time alchohol was prohibited in the United States it was legal to sell it for medical uses.

  9. I hate to say it, but I am glad the Court is not creating new Constitutional rights. It is a nice shortcut on issues like abortion, sodomy and birth control, but I think it subverts the Constitutional model systemically.

    I guess I am more of a proceduralist than a consequentialist, or something like that.

    It is a disgusting federal law. Would love to see it overturned on Commerce Clause grounds, but not the grounds being argued at this stage.

    I wish it was clear that California had the right to secede from the Union (instead of it being clear that they don’t have that right). I think that would really help in the struggle for legal marijuana, and on other important issues as well.

  10. This is way fucked up. I’m not sure how much blame the 9th circuit deserves. The SCOTUS is definitely fucked in the head and has been for going on a century. We need a justice that defines “interstate commerce” as something less than “everything” (except guns near a school, cause we like guns)

    Fuck

  11. Dave W.,

    Actually, they need not create any new rights in order to argue against this law. Not everyone buys into the Carolene Products footnote number 4 and like case language in other words.

  12. “I hate to say it, but I am glad the Court is not creating new Constitutional rights. It is a nice shortcut on issues like abortion, sodomy and birth control, but I think it subverts the Constitutional model systemically.”

    What about the 9th Amendment? As Randy Barnett puts it, we should have islands of government power in a sea of individual rights, not islands of individual rights in a sea of government power.

    What’s worse is the government creation of powers beyond those specifically enumerated in the Constitution.

  13. Actually this opinion did touch on the commerce clause, although mostly to say “It’s a proper exercise of commerce clause powers because the Supreme Court says it is”

  14. Even more fucked up? HP’s own Patricia Dunn got off the hook from her charges today because…she’s fighting breast cancer.

    What. the. fuck. is. going. on?

  15. I hate to say it, but I am glad the Court is not creating new Constitutional rights.

    I believe that is was Madison who argued that a bill of rights was unecessary and potentially dangerous, because it might lead people to the conclusion that the rights enumerated were the _only_ rights of the people. Guess he was right.

  16. This is the logical consequence of (a) Ma and Pa Kettle deciding that drugs are bad, (b) the legislature’s insistence that what is bad must be outlawed, and (c) the Supreme Court accepting Congress’s definition of interstate commerce.

    After that, if there was any wiggle room left, the liberal 9th would have probably found it. We’ve all been screwed; none so much as this lady. One can only hope that at least her death might make a difference.

    Ma and Pa Kettle should be ashamed of themeselves.

  17. I really do despise the hypocritical morality of the DAs and the charges they come up with. Saw one the other night on the evening news talking about the immorality of drug users raising children while deliberately side stepping drunks. They want to talk morality while threatening a dying mother of medication, they’re more immoral than the fucking drug dealers they’re against.

  18. Where in the Constitution is the right to life? It clearly seems to be assumed by various provisions of the Constitution, but is never explicitly stated. Where in the Constitution is Congress’ explicitly stated power to control drug trafficking?

    Between them, the ninth and tenth amendments should have nullified at least those provisions of the Controlled Substances Act, which would seem to prevent people from using controlled substances to keep themselves alive. How many times are laws struck down because they were unacceptably broad? Why haven’t the courts applied the same reasoning in this case?

    Don’t elect another federal official unless he or she is pledged to repeal the Controlled Substances Act. Fire the ones who cling to it and defend it. It is clear that the government will be neither reasonable nor compassionate in this case. Neither, then, should the people be. Let’s roll some metaphorical heads over this one, folks. It looks as if the only ones who will be able to stop our several, insane “Wars” are “We, the people.” So, let’s step up. Congress, the White House, and the Supremes had their chance, and they blew it. Time for the people to come to the plate.

  19. Horrible decision but why is it so hard for her to buy weed without the Feds busting her.

  20. reading the responses to my comment, I would like to repeat that I said that I would love to see the federal law reversed on Commerce Clause grounds. To me, the idea is that if the Commerce Clause does not support the legislative act, then it is unConstitutional.

  21. FWIW, Officer Mrs. Egon would rather spend her patrol time on serious crime and not this penny ante drug bullshit. So would her partner. So, I suspect, would a lot of her peers.

    Man, it’s news like this that makes me want to smoke pot and snort crank, on principle. (Which I would probably still be doing if not for my job and my wife.)

  22. Of course, 99% of people aren’t going to hear of this and of the ones who do only maybe 5-10% will care.

    I anxiously await Armeggedon.

  23. “Even more fucked up? HP’s own Patricia Dunn got off the hook from her charges today because…she’s fighting breast cancer.

    What. the. fuck. is. going. on?”

    money is power?

    just guessing.

  24. We need a justice that defines “interstate commerce” as something less than “everything” (except guns near a school, cause we like guns)

    That would be Clarence Thomas. Read his dissent in the Raich descision.

    And REMEMBER that is not the type of SC Justice any Democrat President is going to appoint

  25. Mmm Tacos,

    Not so fast. Imagine what the feds would be doing if there weren’t a Bill of Rights at all.

  26. In discussion of a Supreme who thinks the commerce clause might apply to something less than thing: “And REMEMBER that is not the type of SC Justice any Democrat President is going to appoint”

    Look at Bush II’s appointees. I recall Roberts (you know, the new chief justice appointed and confirmed by Republicans) practically falling all over himself to tell the Senate that the reach of their power is essentially unlimited due to the commerce clause.

  27. Horrible decision but why is it so hard for her to buy weed without the Feds busting her.

    They know who she is, that she will use again soon, and she’s embarased them.

    Only one response is possible, no?

  28. Why do Bush and the neo-facist republicans hate terminally ill people?

  29. Where in the Constitution is the right to life?

    Fifth Amendment:

    No person shall be … deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;

    Note: I’m not saying the government’s observing this right, just that it’s there.

  30. LarryA: I don’t think that the 5th Amendment establishes a “right to life,” since “due process of law” may still be arbitrary and unfair. Still, the passage you quote is one of those constitutional provisions I was thinking of, which seems based on the assumption of a right to life, without actually declaring such a thing in blunt terms. My point being that there are indeed IMPORTANT rights that aren’t explicitly mentioned in the Constitution. Some parts of the Constitution may strongly suggest a basis in those unenumerated rights. At other times, the Constitution may be silent about them: but we nevertheless HAVE them. The 9th Amendment reminds us of that fact, and the 10th Amendment is supposed to further constrain the federal government from infringing on the unemumerated rights that are retained by the people. But as the old Justice once said, “the Bill of Rights aren’t self executing.” Sadly, those to whom we have entrusted the enforcement have failed in the most spectacular way possible. So now, “we the people” have to correct the mistake. Are we up to the task? Do we have the guts and discipline?

    In my opinion, we can’t afford to be distracted, and we can’t afford to waver. The people must end the Wars: The War on Iraq, the War on Terror, and the War on Drugs. That’s what 2008 has to be about. Our government has no problem killing people aroud the globe or here at home, if they don’t get with the program. We the people, then, need to engage in a little re-programming.

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