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     CALIFORNIA: Court rules against dying woman in
      medical marijuana case Raich v. Gonzales, 03-15481.

                 Return To OnlinePot’s Legal Section Main Page

A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that a California woman
 whose doctor says marijuana is the only medicine keeping her alive 
is not immune from federal prosecution on drug charges.


                                By DAVID KRAVETS
                                  03/14/07 10:18:08

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

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 the gravely
ill have a right to marijuana to keep them alive when legal drugs fail.

Raich, 41, began sobbing when she was told of the decision and said she
would continue using the drug.

I’m sure not going to let them kill me,& she said. Oh my God;

When the case was argued before the appeals court a year ago, the government
said it could not guarantee that Raich or other seriously ill patients using
medical marijuana would not be prosecuted. Over the years, the government
has raided dozens of medical marijuana dispensaries, mostly in California.

The case is likely to reach the U.S. Supreme Court, but each time the high
court has taken up the issue of medical marijuana it has ruled against
allowing the sick and dying to use the drug to ease their symptoms and
possibly prolong life.

The latest legal wrangling once again highlighted the tension between the
federal government, which declares marijuana an illegal controlled substance
with no medical value, and the 11 states allowing medical marijuana for
patients with a doctor’s recommendation.

Voters in 1996 made California the first state to authorize patients to use
marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation. At least 10 other states followed

The Medical Marijuana Case Is Raich v. Gonzales, 03-15481.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Angel Raich’s appeal, ruling that there is no fundamental constitutional right to use marijuana for relief of pain and suffering. In a 3-0 ruling, Judge Harry Pregerson wrote, "We agree with Raich that medical and conventional wisdom that recognizes the use of marijuana for medical purposes is gaining traction in the law as well. But that legal recognition has not yet reached the point where a conclusion can be drawn that the right to use medical marijuana is "fundamental" and "implicit in the concept of ordered liberty." The court also rejected Raich’s contention that the 10th Amendment protected her right to use medical marijuana. Full text of the ruling may be found at http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/ca9/newopinions.nsf/630C41C84B670F308825729D007E5429/$file/0315481.pdf?openelement