Friday, November 26, 2004

Raich

Randy Barnett, a great American lawyer who posts from time to time at the Volokh Conspiracy, is going to argue Raich vs. Ashcroft in front of the US Supreme Court on Monday November 29th. The case revolves around the raids the DEA did in California on various cannabis co-ops around October 2001, shortly after the attacks on New York and the Pentagon. Angel Raich in October of 2002 sued the Federal government to stop the raids on the various co-ops in California.

Drug War Rant has a very good run down of the details of the case and the arguments of the various parties pro and con.

Because of the way the case was framed it has a very good chance of changing the way that the Federal Government deals with the medical marijuana issue.

Here is a bit I wrote just after the raids started on what was happening and why I was against the raids. Ashcroft will soon be gone but the damage he did will linger on for a while. Let us hope the Supreme Court sees fit to restrain the Feds, the Justice Department and the DEA.

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THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

There is something going on in California. Something that has received practically no press anywhere in America. The DEA is going on a rampage against medical marijuana users and their legal suppliers despite the fact that marijuana as medicine was voted for by 56% of Californians over five years ago.

Here are the details of what has been happening. On the 25th of October approximately 30 Federal agents raided the West Hollywood headquarters of the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center after over five years of operation. The center is supported by the local sheriff's office. Sheriff's Captain Lynda Castro said the raid was "a difficult pill to swallow." Three members of the West Hollywood City Council showed up after the raid to protest the DEA action. The raid was based on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that stated that marijuana does not have medical value and therefore it is against federal law.

The value of marijuana as medicine was never properly contested but only stipulated by the government under the protests of the defence.

The government's own Institute of Medicine reported in 1999 that even smoked marijuana may have medical value under certain circumstances.

In addition the government also distributes government grown marijuana to seven patients. And the DEA's own administrative law judge Francis Young said in a 1988 ruling that "It would be unreasonable, arbitrary, and capricious for DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance in light of the evidence in this record." So the Supreme Court ruling is based on a stipulation that even the government knows is a lie. Proving that the big lie technique still works. Even in America.

But that wasn't the only major DEA raid on California. On the 28th of September the DEA raided the offices of Dr. Mollie Fry and her husband attorney Dale Schafer who announced in July that he would run for El Dorado County district attorney. In this case the G men were collecting about 6,000 to 7,000 patient records because Fry was well known for recommending marijuana to AIDs and cancer patients among others. The doctor and her husband were also well known for testifying for the defence in medical marijuana cases in California. In theory the files taken should be protected by attorney-client privilege as well as doctor-patient privilege. In fact these days there is no protection against the Federal government. Not law, not custom, not judges, and not people asking for redress of grievances. This one sure looks like a political prosecution to me. We are sure lucky America isn't a banana republic. Think of what this country would be like if we had really corrupt people at the helm. Well no need for thinking any more if you can just open your eyes.

In this time of national emergency we don't have the time, money, and manpower to waste on recreational pot smokers and nationalized corruption. We certainly don't have the resources to waste on the sick and infirm. Attacking the sick is bad sense in time of peace and is a total waste in time of war; in addition it violates every tenet of morality I ever heard of. Hurray for Attorney General Ashcroft, touted in his confirmation hearings as a paragon of morality and a good Christian. I thought Jesus promoted comforting the sick, not attacking them. I'm sure if I was a member of the church Mr. Ashcroft attends it would all be clearer to me.

We Americans cannot expect government to continue behaving in such an immoral manner and still hope to win the war against fascism. This lack of fundamental god given morality will corrupt us and sap our will just as racism did in Vietnam. We must end prohibition now.

Saying of the week:

If drugs back terrorism why don't the terrorists deal in aspirin?

Ask a politician:

Do you support drug prohibition because it finances criminals at home or because it finances terrorists abroad?

This weeks politician:

Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah - the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. He voted for Mr. Morality Ashcroft. Mr Hatch promoted him as just the remedy for Janet "Burn the Women and Children" Reno. So now we get John "Persecute the Sick and Dying" Ashcroft. This could actually be an improvement. But somehow I doubt it.

Contact Senator Hatch in Washington D.C. Voice: 202.224.5251 Fax: 202.224.6331 or you can e-mail him by going to: http://www.senate.gov/~hatch/help_contact.htm on the www. Voice or fax is probably better for those not resident in Utah.

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