Attorney General Ashcroft Undeterred in War on Medical Marijuana
Three Court Actions in Past Week Intensify Administration
Ashcroft Seeks Supreme Court Permission to Bully Doctors on Medical Marijuana
On Monday, the Solicitor General of the U.S. filed papers in the U.S. Supreme Court requesting that the Court overturn the 9th Circuit's unanimous decision in Conant v. Walters, which supports a doctor's right to openly recommend or approve marijuana as treatment for their patients. By taking this action, the Solicitor General seeks to allow Ashcroft's Justice Department to investigate any physician who mentions the word "marijuana" to patients and to sanction those who approve it for patient use. "The 9th Circuit's opinion debunks the Justice Department's claims that marijuana has no medical usefulness -- citing a large body of medical research to the contrary," says Daniel N. Abrahamson, Director of Legal Affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance.
Ashcroft Defends Federal Armed Raids of California Hospices
Also on Monday, Ashcroft defended in Federal District Court his policy of raiding medical marijuana collectives. The Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM) sought to enjoin the federal government from these types of raids, and in so doing, became the first public entity to sue the federal government on behalf of patients who need medical marijuana. WAMM attorneys argued that the raid on their collective was illegal and immoral, and has caused an "insurmountable" level of pain and suffering, and has hastened the deaths of the most vulnerable WAMM members.
Determined to See Medical Marijuana Activist Ed Rosenthal Behind Bars, Ashcroft Presses Appeal of Lower Court Ruling
Last Thursday, the U.S. Attorney's Office filed notice with the federal appeals court in San Francisco that it intends to appeal U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer's decision to spare Ed Rosenthal from a lengthy prison term for cultivating marijuana for medical patients. Prosecutors have not detailed the basis for which they intend to appeal. Rosenthal has already filed an appeal with the court to overturn his conviction, which he argues was unfair because the jury was prevented from hearing evidence related to medical marijuana.
"It has been many years since an attorney general used the federal criminal justice system for blatantly political purposes," says Ethan Nadelmann Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance in response to the actions taken this week by the Bush Administration. "It's a telling indication of the fanaticism that underlies the federal war on medical marijuana."