Press Release  | 06/06/2005

Supreme Court Rules in Medical Marijuana Case

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Experts from Leading National Advocacy Organization Available for Comment

The Supreme Court ruled this morning in the medical marijuana case Raich v. Ashcroft. Experts from the nation's leading drug policy reform organization will be available for comment on the ruling.

"This ruling changes nothing," said Dan Abrahamson, director of legal affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. "States still have the right to pass legislation that protects the rights of patients to use this life-saving medicine. The federal government still has a choice--it can waste taxpayer dollars by going after sick and dying patients or go after individuals who pose a real danger to society."

In a divided decision, Justice John Paul Stevens opened the door for Congress to address this issue. "It's now up to members of congress to pass legislation that protects some of our communities' most vulnerable," said Abrahamson.

The Drug Policy Alliance has fought and continues to fight to allow seriously ill patients throughout America to access medical marijuana to relieve their pain. The Alliance spearheaded virtually all of the medical marijuana ballot initiatives that are now law-- in California, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Nevada and Maine, and is currently involved in working with other state legislatures to pass medical marijuana legislation. The Alliance has also worked on some of the highest profile medical marijuana legal cases.

The Alliance served as attorneys of record in the case Conant v. Walters, which upheld the First Amendment right of doctors to candidly discuss and recommend medical marijuana to patients free from federal threats or interference. The Alliance currently represents the city and county of Santa Cruz, seven terminally and chronically ill patients and the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM) in a federal lawsuit seeking to enable a collective of seriously ill patients to grow and use medical marijuana free from federal law enforcement interference.

Experts available to discuss the Supreme Court case include:

  • Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, the leading organization advocating alternatives to the failed war on drugs. In July 2004, Nadelmann's National Review cover story on marijuana prohibition addressed the medical marijuana issue extensively.
  • Daniel Abrahamson, director of the Drug Policy Alliance's Office of Legal Affairs, submitted an amicus brief on the current Supreme Court case, as well as submitting amicus briefs in many other landmark medical marijuana cases.



Tony Newman at (212) 613-8026 or Elizabeth M

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