Federal Court of Appeals Rules Federal Ban on Marijuana Unconstitutional in States Allowing Medical Use of Drug
December 18, 2003
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Tuesday ruled 2-1 that a federal ban on marijuana is unconstitutional when applied to people who use marijuana for medical reasons 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 non-medical purposes, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, 12/17). Under California's Proposition 215, a ballot measure approved by voters in 1996, patients with chronic illnesses such as cancer and AIDS can use medical marijuana to treat pain (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/16/02). The case involved two California women -- Angel Raich and Diane Monson -- who received letters from their doctors authorizing them to use marijuana for medical purposes. The physicians' permission protected them from state and local prosecution under Proposition 215 (Weinstein, Los Angeles Times, 12/17). Raich and Monson filed a lawsuit in October 2002 against Attorney General John Ashcroft and DEA Administrator Asa Hutchinson asking for an injunction that would allow them to continue using marijuana without prosecution. A district judge in March ruled against Raich and Monson, and Raich appealed the case to the 9th Circuit Court (Carreon, San Jose Mercury News, 12/17). Neither woman has been prosecuted for using the drug (San Francisco Chronicle, 12/17).
Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2003 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.
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