ryan grim reports:
The state of California, in an effort to systematize the 1996 voter-approved initiative, required localities to implement identification card programs for patients with doctor approval in 2004. Such ID cards are required to enter medical marijuana shops in California and can be shown to police officers who find patients in possession of marijuana.
San Diego County, however, argued that the federal ban on marijuana trumps the state law, meaning they are not required to follow the state law. The county filed suit in 2006. Both the San Diego Superior Court and the Fourth District Court of Appeals rejected the argument, which was followed by the California Supreme Court's refusal to review the case in 2008.
The Supreme Court ruling, following the Obama administration's decision not to raid medical marijuana clubs acting in accordance with state law, removes one of the last barriers to full implementation of the state law.
Thirteen states have laws that allow certain folks to use medical marijuana if their doctor recommends it. Illinois, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey and New York are currently considering medical marijuana bills in their state legislatures.
could this mean that the draconian prohibition laws days (at least regarding marijuana) are numbered? as a victimless crime, i've never understood the reasoning behind continuing the puritanical bias against pot. it's clearly been established that, unlike the canard always foisted upon us, it isn't a "gateway" drug.
clearly, marijuana has a myriad of medicinal uses. ask anyone with cancer, hiv/aids or glaucoma that finds tremendous relief from ingesting pot. if it weren't effective, the big pharma wouldn't have gone to the expense of developing "marinol". that this hasn't been challenged at the federal level (or a rejected challenge at the scotus level) proves just how strong and influential the pharma lobby is in our nation's capitol.
Medical marijuana is one of the most widely supported issues in drug policy reform. Numerous published studies suggest that marijuana has medical value in treating patients with serious illnesses such as AIDS, glaucoma, cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and chronic pain. In 1999, the Institute of Medicine, in the most comprehensive study of medical marijuana's efficacy to date, concluded, "Nausea, appetite loss, pain and anxiety . . . all can be mitigated by marijuana." Allowing patients legal access to medical marijuana has been discussed by numerous organizations, including the AIDS Action Council, American Bar Association, American Public Health Association, California Medical Association, National Association of Attorneys General, and several state nurses associations.
Public opinion is also in favor of ending the prohibition of medical marijuana. According to a 1999 Gallup poll, 73% of Americans are in favor of "making marijuana legally available for doctors to prescribe in order to reduce pain and suffering." In a 2004 poll commissioned by AARP, 72% of Americans ages 45 and older thought marijuana should be legal for medicinal purposes if recommended by a doctor. Also, since 1996, voters in eight states plus the District of Columbia have passed favorable medical marijuana ballot initiatives.
hopefully, this will be the first step to the eventual decriminalization of pot altogether. making pot legal for adults would have a positive effect on several fronts: the incredibly violent and powerful mexican drug cartels would lose their power, a very sizable "sin tax" could be placed on weed (providing a huge revenue stream for education, health care, green energy, etc.), our court system would have a tremendous burden lifted off its shoulders because users and dealers wouldn't be prosecuted clearing the way to prosecute crimes with actual victims.
it's encouraging to see that O's administration is on the correct side of this issue.
with 13 states currently allowing medical marijuana and another 5 states considering it in their state legislatures, this could be the dawn of a new era.