Medical Marijuana Rights to Be Argued in Federal Appellate Court

In a hearing with momentous implications for federal drug laws, four medical marijuana dispensaries challenging the constitutionality of federal laws prohibiting their operation will have their chance in front of a federal appeals court on Wednesday morning.
Attorneys for the Oakland Cannabis Buyers Cooperative, the Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana, the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana, and the Ukiah Cannabis Buyers Club all contend that the federal government exceeded its authority under the Constitution when it passed laws outlawing all uses of marijuana in 1970. Because of the similarities among the appeals, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has combined all four into a single action, which will be argued and considered as one.
In question are several Constitutional issues, including the limits of the Commerce Clause, state sovereignty under the 10th Amendment, and the unenumerated fundamental rights set out in the 5th and 9th Amendments. Also at issue are alleged procedural and evidentiary errors on the part of Judge Charles Breyer in granting the permanent injunction that stopped legal operation of the marijuana dispensaries under California’s Compassionate Use Act of 1996.
The importance of this appeal can be seen in who has filed ‘friend of the court’ briefs arguing against the government’s position: the State of California, the City of Oakland, the County of Alameda and the California Medical Association.
WHAT: Combined appeal of the federal government’s injunctions preventing the dispensing of medial marijuana in California. Oral Arguments (30-minutes each side, one-hour total).
WHEN: Wednesday, September 17, 2003, 8:30 a.m.
WHERE: U.S. District Court, Northern Division, Courtroom One, Third Floor, 450 Golden Gate Ave. (between Polk and Larkin), San Francisco.
WHO: Appellants are Oakland Cannabis Buyers Cooperative, Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana, Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana, and Ukiah Cannabis Buyers Club.
Judges hearing the appeal are Mary M. Schroeder (presiding), Stephen Reinhardt, and Barry G. Silverman.
Attorneys for motions and argument are Robert Raich of Oakland, Gerald Uelmen of Santa Clara University Law School, Randy Barnett of Boston University Law School, and Annette Carnegie and Heather Moser of Morrison & Foerester in San Francisco.
A national coalition of 5,500 patients, doctors and advocates, Americans for Safe Access is the leading organization devoted to medical marijuana.
For more information, contact William Dolphin: (510) 653-1016 or 919-1498.