Medical Marijuana: Dopey decision

November 26, 2006

EDITORIAL, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

The Washington Supreme Court, for hardly the first time in judicial history, has rendered a ruling that is at the same time legally correct and morally wrong.

Yes, as the court ruled Thursday, state law enacted by the 1998 passage of Initiative 692 does require that anyone mounting a "compassionate use" defense in a marijuana-related crime must meet specific criteria.

And, yes, Sharon Lee Tracy failed that test. The California doctor who approved her use of medical marijuana was not licensed in Washington and thus doesn't meet the I-692 standard.

The 6-3 majority also rejected Tracy's attempt at a Constitution-based defense, in part because she failed to produce a copy of her California medical marijuana card. "It appears," the court says, "that the card was never returned to her after the police seized it at the time of the original search." She couldn't make her case because the cops never gave her property back?

"While we are not without sympathy," Justice Tom Chambers intoned for the majority, "it is Tracy's responsibility as a petitioner to provide an adequate record for appellate review. ..."

Tracy "suffers from a hip deformity, migraine headaches, a series of eight corrective surgeries following a ruptured colon and bowel condition and has been disabled since 1998." But Skamania County insisted on prosecuting her for marijuana?

Where the cops and courts failed, lawmakers can succeed, by rewriting the law to recognize medical marijuana prescriptions from any licensed physician.

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