The Corner

The Straight Dope

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.


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