In a decision with far-reaching implications, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sent the case of Raich v. Ashcroft back to the district court for the issuing of an injunction against any further arrests or prosecutions of medical marijuana patients and their providers. The ruling declares that the Controlled Substances Act - the 1970 federal law that makes marijuana illegal in all circumstances - is unconstitutional as applied to medical marijuana because the federal ban relies on the presence of interstate commerce to override state laws, such as California’s, that expressly legalize medical use.
The judges said that personal medicinal use of marijuana on the advice of a physician, when it happens within one state and does not involve money changing hands, is conduct federal law cannot reach. The case under consideration involved the local production and consumption of marijuana in accordance with California state law.
”Americans who use medical marijuana aren’t breaking federal law, John Ashcroft is. He’s been violating the Constitution,” said Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access, the nation’s leading organization on medical marijuana. “This is an enormous victory for patients who rely on marijuana for relief from their suffering.”
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For a copy of the ruling: