Document:California Press Release 14 May 2001 Fight for Medical Marijuana Will Continue

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14547 Titus Street, Suite 214
Panorama City, CA 91402
For immediate release: May 14, 2001
For additional information:
Juan Ros, Executive Director
Phone: (818) 782-8400

Fight for medical marijuana will continue despite U.S. Supreme Court, Libertarians say

LOS ANGELES -- The Libertarian Party of California vowed to continue its struggle on behalf of suffering patients despite today's ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in a medical marijuana case.

In an 8-0 decision, the Court ruled in favor of the federal government in United States v. Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative (No. 00-151), declaring that medical marijuana distributors cannot offer a "medical necessity" defense in federal court to the distribution of medical marijuana.

"We are obviously disappointed in the Court's ruling which will only make it more difficult for patients who need medical marijuana to obtain it in order to ease their pain and suffering," said Libertarian state executive director Juan Ros.

"However, we are grateful that the scope of this case was narrow enough as to not affect state law. Libertarians will continue to uphold Proposition 215 and we will continue to fight for its widespread implementation at the state and local levels."

Because the Supreme Court case dealt with federal law -- the Controlled Substances Act -- the court's decision does not affect the legal status of Proposition 215, California's medical marijuana initiative approved in November of 1996, which is still valid under state law. The Court's decision does prevent cannabis clubs from distributing marijuana to patients, which will likely lead to an increase in home-grown medical marijuana.

"The establishment of cannabis cooperatives was a novel method for patients to obtain medical marijuana without having to resort to growing it themselves. Now the federal government, sadly, is forcing patients to resort to home growing," Ros noted.

In a majority opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas, the Court noted that the Controlled Substances Act passed by Congress declared that marijuana has "no currently accepted medical use" and therefore could not be given an exception in that Act other than government-approved research projects.

"The Court is saying that politicians have the power to make medical decisions regardless of whether or not those decisions are accurate -- and regardless of whether or not those decisions will cost lives. That's like asking a plumber to perform your open heart surgery," Ros added.

"Libertarians trust doctors and patients to make those sorts of decisions, not politicians or judges. That's why we will continue supporting medical marijuana patients and their freedom to choose the medical treatment that will work best for them," concluded Ros.