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Suit Before Ninth Circuit Court Of Appeals Seeks To Halt Federal Actions Against California’s Medical Cannabis Providers

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director October 25, 2012

    On Wednesday, October 24, a group of California dispensary operators, medical cannabis providers, and patients, as Plaintiffs, filed their Opening Brief before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, asking the Circuit Court to hold that Plaintiffs, in their continuing litigation against the Federal Government, have a constitutional Ninth Amendment and Substantive Due Process fundamental right to distribute, possess and use medical cannabis. The brief, filed by members of the NORML Legal Committee, also contends that the Federal Government’s criminal prohibition of medical cannabis has no rational basis and thus violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. Plaintiffs further contend that the Federal Government is Judicially Estopped from enforcing medical marijuana prohibition in states that allow such activity because the Administration has previously asserted in public and in court that they would no longer do so.

    Plaintiffs in November 2011 initially filed suit in California’s four federal districts against Eric Holder (United States Attorney General), Michelle Leonhart (Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the individual US Attorneys of each California District: Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego — following increased efforts from the Obama administration and the state’s US Attorneys to crack down on the production and distribution of medical cannabis. Plaintiff’s are asking the Ninth Circuit to reverse the district court’s dismissal of that complaint, and to allow the plaintiff’s the opportunity to prove their contentions in a court of law.

    Three members of the NORML Legal Committee — Matt Kumin and David Michael from San Francisco and Alan Silber from Roseland, NJ — are representing the Plaintiffs in this appeal. In a press release, they stated, “The ill, in compliance with state law and with a physician’s recommendation, are made to suffer needlessly by the federal threats and denial of access to medical cannabis due to irrational governmental policy. Judicial intervention is the only way to stop the federal government from acting irrationally and from willfully ignoring the science supporting the use of cannabis as medicine.”

    The cases are El Camino Wellness Center, et al. v. Eric Holder et al. (Sacramento), Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana, et al. v. Eric Holder, et al. (San Francisco), and Alternative Community Health Care Cooperative, et al. v. Eric Holder, et al. (San Diego).

    Other NLC attorneys who participated in the litigation of these cases are Lance Rogers of San Diego, Mark Reichel of Sacramento and Edward Burch of San Francisco.

    A copy of Plaintiff’s Opening Brief is available here.

    19 Responses to “Suit Before Ninth Circuit Court Of Appeals Seeks To Halt Federal Actions Against California’s Medical Cannabis Providers”

    1. txpeloton says:

      Thank you for Briefly saying medical cannabis.

    2. Ll says:

      They should demand to see the medical research used by the DEA to categorize cannabis as a Class I Narcotic.

    3. Tlc says:

      Mr President,

      I agree that many current happenings are “fundamentally wrong.”

      Here we have a lawsuit essentially filed by sick people and their doctors.

      Sounds fundamentally wrong.

      After all, congress had to convince people we needed such laws…people were more worried about the potential loss of rights. (I remember: “We aren’t after the pot smoker, those tough laws are for drug lords!” And here we are.) Therefore, our government allows for a majority to express their will in point of fact, otherwise there is tyranny.

    4. Galileo Galilei says:

      “The ill, in compliance with state law and with a physician’s recommendation, are made to suffer needlessly by the federal threats and denial of access to medical cannabis due to irrational governmental policy. Judicial intervention is the only way to stop the federal government from acting irrationally and from willfully ignoring the science supporting the use of cannabis as medicine.”

    5. Galileo Galilei says:

      If only we could sue against ‘irrational government policy’ and ‘willful ignoring’.

    6. For sure, Mr. Armentano.

      If you have any say whatsoever in regards to the 3 NORML Legal Committee members, the above question needs to be asked:

      “They should demand to see the medical research used by the DEA to categorize cannabis as a Class I Narcotic.”

      If their “research” can be rebutted and publicly scrutinized…

    7. Lisa Kilgore says:

      cannabis is a plant and the bible clearly states”the leaves of the trees are for the healing of the nations!”I have never understood the blind acceptance of this prohibition since it is based on opinions and the only medical professional consulted disagreed with the prohibition.Alcohol prohibition lasted 13 years and has caused death, disfigurement, and all manner of family issues I know this because I come from an alcoholic family.The time to end this stupid law passed long ago.End the lies about this very valuable herb (and I do not mean valuable money wise but to the patients who need it)

    8. It is not “irrational” and there is no need to appeal to the Gov tobe rational and look at the truth. It is all money. The drug war is enormously profitable and they donate to both sides with good results. The courts are our only hope.

    9. Bud Smoker says:

      I agree the plaintiffs should ask the court to force the DEA to present their evidence for their justification for categorizing marijuana as a Schedule 1 narcotic. Even with having an overwhelming lack of evidence, I doubt the Court will change anything, because “mari-jew-ana is bad, m’kay a- and we just shouldn’t allow it, m’kay”.

    10. The government has told you that CANNABIS is a “Scheduled” controlled substance. Schedule I, meaning little to no use (marinol?), strong potential for abuse/addiction, and danger to persons using it.
      The government actually holds patents for the medical use of the plant.
      Just check out US Patent 6630507 titled “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants” which is assigned to The United States of America, as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services.
      We all need to ask our (representatives); what is going on??? The U.S. war on CANNABIS has cost $1 trillion and hundreds of thousands of lives – and for what?

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