How cool is it when jurists show that they have hearts? In San Francisco, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck a blow against the Shrub Administration‘s inexplicable and cruel quest to keep medical marijuana from helping the sick. The appellate court ruled Dec. 16 that a federal law outlawing pot does not apply to those who have a doctor’s recommendation to use the plant.
From ABC News:
In its 2-1 decision, the court said prosecuting medical marijuana users under the federal law is unconstitutional if the marijuana is not sold, transported across state lines or used for non-medicinal purposes.
Judge Harry Pregerson wrote for the majority that smoking pot on the advice of a doctor is “different in kind from drug trafficking.” The court added that “this limited use is clearly distinct from the broader illicit drug market.”
The case concerned two seriously ill California women who sued Attorney General John Ashcroft. They asked for a court order letting them smoke, grow or obtain marijuana without fear of federal prosecution.
A federal judge tossed the case in March, saying the federal law barred him from blocking any potential enforcement action against medical marijuana patients Angel Raich and Diane Monson.
Tuesday’s ruling sends the case back to the district judge, and while the women’s case has yet to be tried, the appeals court said the two “have demonstrated a strong likelihood of success on the merits.”
Let’s hope so. It is long past time that Raich, who has an inoperable brain tumor, and Monson, who suffers from severe back pain, to obtain relief and justice — two things the federal government seems unwilling to give them.
Cheers and thanks to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Someone has a heart.