Supreme Court Decision on Medical Marijuana Expected Anytime

May 18, 2005
NATIONWIDE – The United States Supreme Court will render its decision in the Ashcroft v. Raich case any day. In the most-watched case before the U.S. Supreme Court this term, two California women argued that the federal government does not have the right to punish them for using the medical marijuana their doctors recommend and their state says is legal.
 
Americans for Safe Access representatives are available to provide commentary and analysis of the Raich decision.
Medical marijuana patients nationwide, both from states with laws protecting medical marijuana patients and those without, are available to discuss how the decision will impact themselves and other patients in their state. A national coalition of 12,000 patients, doctors and advocates, Americans for Safe Access is the largest organization working solely on medical marijuana. (For more information, see www.safeaccessnow.org
ASA Director Steph Sherer says, 'We are hopeful that Raich will prevail and the Court will rule against federal attacks on state-legal patients. But should they lose,' Sherer emphasizes, 'It is important to remember that the decision will not overturn California's Compassionate Use Act, and  individual patients will not be at risk from California authorities and are unlikely targets for federal arrest.'
 
ASA Activists are also looking beyond the Court’s decision in Ashcroft vs. Raich, pushing formal petitions that would force federal agencies to recognize medical uses for marijuana and allow doctors to prescribe it nationwide. They are also asking for the quick U.S. approval of a medical marijuana liquid spray that will be on the shelves in Canada as soon as this week, called Sativex.
 
The federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the FDA are currently reviewing two legal petitions with broad implications for medical marijuana. The first, brought by ASA under the Data Quality Act, says HHS must correct its statements that there is no medical use for marijuana to reflect the many studies which have found it helpful for many conditions. 

Acknowledging legitimate medical use would then force the agency to consider allowing the prescribing of marijuana as they do other drugs, based on its relative safety. A separate petition, of which ASA is a co-signer, asks the Drug Enforcement Administration for a full, formal re-evaluation of marijuana’s medical benefits, based on hundreds of recent medical research studies and several thousand years of documented human use. This petition is pending, and an answer is expected in August.
 
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