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Should Medicinal Marijuana Be Legalized?

Should medicinal marijuana be legalized?  

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  1. 1. Should medicinal marijuana be legalized?

    • Yes
    • No

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US court ruling protects doctors who prescribe marijuana

By David Kravets, Associated Press, 10/30/2002


SAN FRANCISCO - A federal appeals court ruled for the first time yesterday that the government cannot revoke doctors' prescription licenses for recommending marijuana to sick patients.

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that the Justice Department's policy interferes with the free-speech rights of doctors and patients.

''An integral component of the practice of medicine is the communication between doctor and a patient. Physicians must be able to speak frankly and openly to patients,'' said Chief Appellate Judge Mary Schroeder.

The Ninth Circuit Court upheld a two-year-old court order prohibiting the government from stripping doctors of their licenses to dispense medication.

The dispute is one of several cases resulting from medical marijuana laws on the books in eight states.

Federal prosecutors argued that doctors who recommend marijuana are interfering with the drug war and are going against the government's determination that marijuana has no medical benefits.

Doctors who recommend marijuana in the states with medical marijuana laws ''will make it easier to obtain marijuana in violation of federal law,'' government lawyer Michael Stern had said.

Graham Boyd, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer, had urged the judges to preserve the sanctity of doctor-patient interactions. ''That is speech that is protected by the First Amendment,'' he argued.

The case was brought by patients' rights groups and doctors including Neil Flynn of the University of California at Davis, who said that marijuana may help some patients, but that doctors have been fearful of recommending it.

US District Judge William Alsup responded by prohibiting the Justice Department from revoking Drug Enforcement Administration licenses to dispense medication ''merely because the doctor recommends medical marijuana to a patient based on a sincere medical judgment.'' Alsup's order also prevented federal agents ''from initiating any investigation solely on that ground.''

The case was an outgrowth of a measure approved by California voters in 1996. It allows patients to use marijuana with a doctor's recommendation.

Following the measure's passage, the Clinton administration said doctors who recommend marijuana would lose their federal licenses to prescribe medicine, could be excluded from Medicare and Medicaid programs, and could face criminal charges. The Bush administration continued the fight.

Other states with medical marijuana laws are Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.

Last year, the US Supreme Court said clubs that sell marijuana to the sick with a doctor's recommendation are breaking federal drug laws.

Such clubs continue to operate, including several in San Francisco, as local authorities look the other way. But federal officials have raided many clubs in California.

This story ran on page A11 of the Boston Globe on 10/30/2002.

© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.

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Originally posted by bigpoppanils

i dont see why medicinal marijuana isnt legal yet morphine is...

...and evils like tobacco and alcohol. The reason why marijuana is outlawed is for political reasons and nothing more than political reasons.

"Federal prosecutors argued that doctors who recommend marijuana are interfering with the drug war and are going against the government's determination that marijuana has no medical benefits."

This is a bald-faced lie. If marijuana has "no medical benefits" then why is THC (tetrahydrocannibinol), the active ingredient in the marijuana plant used as the active ingredient in the legal drug known as marinol?

Marinol is a drug used to relieve nausea on cancer patients undergoing chemopherapy.

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