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Court Discusses Medical Marijuana Laws


This is a case being heard in the Supreme Court of the United States. A New York Criminal Lawyer said the main question that is presented in this particular case is whether the Congress has the power under article 1 section 8 of the constitution to regulate commerce with several states and foreign nations includes the power to prohibit the local cultivation and use of marijuana that is in compliance with the laws of the state of California.

California Marijuana Laws

When it comes to regulation of marijuana, the state of California has been a pioneer. The state was among the first to prohibit the possession and sale of marijuana in 1913 and as of 1996 the state was the first state to authorize marijuana to be used for medicinal purposes.

In 1996, the voters of California passed proposition 215 which is now called the Compassionate Use Act. This proposition was designed to ensure that residents of California who are seriously ill have access to marijuana for its medicinal purposes. The proposition encourages the state and federal governments to provide safe and affordable distribution of marijuana to those patients that are in need.

The Compassionate Use Act has an exemption clause for physicians, patients, and primary care givers who possess or cultivate marijuana for medical use. Patients and primary care givers must have the recommendation or approval from a physician to be eligible under this clause. Primary care givers are described as a person who has assumed the responsibility of the health, housing, and safety of the patient.

Case Respondents

A Nassau Count Criminal Lawyer said the respondents in this case are both residents of California and suffer from serious medical conditions. Both respondents have used the terms of the Compassionate Use Act as a way to relieve their pain and suffering. They have been treated by board certified, licensed physicians that have come to the conclusion that the only drug available to relieve their symptoms is marijuana. Both of the women have used marijuana for its medicinal purposes for several years and rely on the drug to function daily. Their physician believes that not allowing them to use marijuana would cause them to have excruciating pain and could even be fatal.

One of the respondents cultivates her marijuana and uses different methods of ingestion including a vaporizer and smoking it. The other respondent is unable to grow her own and relies on two caregivers to provide her with marijuana that is locally grown at no charge.

Court Discussion and Decision

Marijuana use and marijuana possession, is restricted by federal law. However, there are currently nine states that have legalized the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. The issue is whether or not the fact that the plant is legal in some states makes it a risk for use in other states where it is not legal.

The court has determined that users in the state of California as well as other states where marijuana is legal exempt’s users who are protected by their state laws. Product must be cultivated and used locally in order for this exemption to be in effect.

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