Yesterday, several news outlets misreported the 9th Circuit medical cannabis
case of Conant v. Walters that the Supreme Court declined to review.
They claimed that this now meant that use of medical cannabis approved by
state law could not be stopped by the federal government in the states
comprising the Ninth Circuit. I saw this on two different FoxNews programs.
Actually, the Conant case involves whether the federal government can
prohibit doctors from recommending medical cannabis to their patients–not the
legality of patients acting on this recommendation and then obtaining the
cannabis. Although the court had sympathetic things to say about medical
cannabis (and Judge Kozinski in his concurring opinion did question the
constitutionality of federal interferance with state initiatives legalizing
medical cannabis), the First Amendment played a large role in the Ninth
Circuit’s decision. I was pleased, but not surprised that the Court denied
cert. Had these reports of Conant been accurate, there would have
been no need for me to argue the cases of U.S v. OCBC or Raich v.
Ascroft, both of which do go to the issue of whether patients may
cultivate and use wholly intrastate medical cannabis free of federal
prosecution. Today, I see the reporting has been corrected.