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Historic Medical Cannabis Case Back in Court. On Monday, March 27, 2006, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear the new arguments in Raich v. Gonzales on Remand from the United States Supreme Court. Historic Medical Cannabis Case Back in Court. On Monday, March 27, 2006, at 1:30 p.m. in Courtroom The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena. Three, at the Richard H. Chambers U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Building, 125 South Grand Avenue, Pasadena, California. Each side is allotted thirty (30) minutes for arguments. Prohibiting Angel Raich’s medical cannabis activities – which the undisputed evidence establishes are necessary to save her from intolerable pain and death – would unduly burden her fundamental rights and would thus violate the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause and the retained rights referred to in the Ninth Amendment. The government does not attempt to refute Appellants’ showing that the Due Process Clause and the Ninth Amendment protect not only the fundamental right to “life,” but also the fundamental rights to make life-shaping decisions, preserve bodily integrity, and avoid severe pain. Nor does it dispute that its prohibition of Angel’s medically necessary activities must be ruled unconstitutional if this Court applies the undue burden standard. Instead, it simply denies that any fundamental rights are at stake and insists that mere rationality review applies. The government’s argument is untenable. The government fails to cite Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003), the Supreme Court’s most recent – and thus controlling – ruling on the substantive protections of the Due Process Clause. As a result of this omission and its misunderstandings of the Supreme Court’s other applicable opinions, the government characterizes Angel’s fundamental rights far too narrowly and fails to engage in the historical analysis that the Supreme Court’s precedents demand. The government compounds these errors by relying heavily on plainly inapplicable cases involving attempts to obtain laetrile in commerce as an elective treatment and persons seeking to select a healthcare provider who fails to satisfy basic licensing requirements. Before examining the numerous omissions and flawed premises underlying the government’s argument for rationality review, an important inaccuracy that pervades the government’s brief must be corrected. The government repeatedly asserts that Angel seeks to use medical cannabis “free of the lawful exercise of the government’s police power,” i.e., “free from government regulation.” E.g., Appellees’ Br. at 15, 17, 19-20, 26, 28-30. That is simply not true. Appellants have made it abundantly clear that Angel challenges only the constitutionality of complete prohibition of her medical cannabis use, and that she does not object to reasonable regulations of such use. See Opening Br. at 9, 12-14. The government also errs in dismissing the Ninth Amendment based on United Public Workers v. Mitchell, 330 U.S. 75, 95-96 (1947). Appellees’ Br. at 33-34. Mitchell unjustifiably collapsed the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, which were adopted to address different problems. See Randy E. Barnett, Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty 234-52 (2004). Mitchell has been superseded by more recent cases – which the government fails to cite – in which the Supreme Court has expressly relied on the Ninth Amendment to support its recognition of unenumerated rights. See Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 848 (1992) (citing Ninth Amendment as textual support for holding); Richmond Newspapers v. Virginia, 448 U.S. 555, 579 & n.15 (1980) (“the Ninth Amendment” supports “recognition of important rights not enumerated”); Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479, 484 (1965) (“[t]he Ninth Amendment” supports “the right of privacy”). In any event, Appellants invoke the Ninth Amendment not because it alters the Supreme Court’s Due Process Clause jurisprudence, but rather because it provides strong textual and historical support for that jurisprudence. To read the briefs from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Remand from the Supreme Court click here. To read all the briefs filed to date in this case click here. “Doctors, not the federal government know what’s best for their patients,” said Randy Barnett, a professor of law at Boston University and a member of Raich’s legal team. “If a state decides to allow doctors to recommend proven treatments for their patients, then the federal government has no rightful place in the doctor’s office.” “This case implicates perhaps the most fundamental right of all, the right to preserve one’s life,” said Robert Raich, a member of Angel Raich’s legal team. “It also implicates the fundamental right to alleviate unnecessary pain and agony and protect bodily integrity.” “I fear for my health, my safety and my family, but I am confident that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will again agree that I am in every way acting in accordance with the law,” said Angel Raich of Oakland. “I just want the opportunity to be a mother to my children without having to live in constant fear that the federal government will raid my home or throw me in jail simply for taking the medicine that treats my pain and keeps me alive.” To read the Supreme Court ruling in Alberto R. Gonzales, et al. v. Angel McClary Raich, et al., click here. To read the Raich Decision Press Release, click here. Things you should know about the Supreme Courts Decision in Ashcroft v. Raich. STATEMENT FROM ANGEL RAICH, lead plaintiff in Gonzales v. Raich: I'm in this battle literally for my life. So while the Supreme Court ruling is disappointing, my battle - the battle I share with thousands of medical cannabis patients across the country - is far from over. In its decision, the Supreme Court made it clear that the ball is now in Congress's court. Justice Stevens wrote in the decision that Congress can change the law to allow medical use of cannabis as medicine. Congress also has the authority to stop federal raids on sick and dying patients. While the decision is disappointing, the timing is fortunate because next week, the House of Representatives will vote on medical cannabis legislation that would do just that. The U.S. Supreme Court puts the medical marijuana issue in Congress' court ... Click here! This case, first and foremost, is about granting sick and dying patients the right to a medicine that has proven medical benefits supported by government studies and health care professionals. We have much to gain and little to lose in Ashcroft v. Raich. The single most important thing to understand is that state and local laws on the books protecting medical cannabis patients and their doctors will continue to stand and are not at all affected by this ruling. The Attorney General and the federal government now have a choice: They can choose to continue wasting taxpayers’ dollars raiding the homes of sick and dying patients—suffering from diseases like cancer, chronic pain, leukemia, multiple sclerosis and AIDS—who are abiding by state and local laws, or they can choose more worthwhile priorities, like national security or arresting terrorists. The federal government should not compound the suffering of sick and dying patients. An overwhelming majority of Americans agree with us. In fact, 80% of the Americans are in favor of patients having access to medical cannabis if that is what their doctors recommend, according to a recent TIME/CNN poll. This is not a divisive red state/blue state issue. In fact, 4our states with medical cannabis laws on the books are red: Colorado, Nevada, Montana and Alaska. Overwhelming support for more common sense medical cannabis laws, most recently in Montana, Ann Arbor MI, and Columbia MO further point to growing public support for cannabis as legitimate medicine and the compassion most Americans have for severely ill people who rely on cannabis to alleviate their suffering. Doctors, not the federal government, know what’s best for their patients. Who would you rather have overseeing your health? Your doctor or a federal agent from Washington, DC? Federalism isn’t just for conservatives. This case is about enabling states to advance social policies beyond the reach of Congress that help extremely sick patients live with their illnesses. Something must be done now to protect sick and dying patients in accessing the medicine that helps them lead a healthier and less painful life. The federal government does not have the right to interfere if a state decides to allow doctors to recommend proven treatments for their patients. This is a federalism issue, and the federal government has no business poking its nose into it. To date, the federal government has ignored conclusive scientific data— even from their own studies—about the effectiveness of medical cannabis. Clearly the federal government is playing politics with patients’ lives, choosing to ignore scientific fact. The federal government should not interfere between a patient and her doctor’s decision to recommend the medicine that best treats the patient’s illness. Angel’s doctors have tried regular pharmaceutical treatments and they have failed. In fact, they have made her sicker. Medical cannabis has worked. She can walk again, hug her children again, live her life again. If the federal government is allowed to interfere and stop her from getting the medical cannabis she needs, it is in effect condemning her to death. People who suffer from chronic pain, leukemia, cancer, multiple sclerosis and other life-threatening illnesses should not have to live in fear of being arrested for taking the medicine they need to survive—medicine their doctors are recommending for them. Check out the Raich Supreme Court photo gallery along with our other photo galleries. November 29, 2004. Raich Supreme Court Transcript November 29, 2004 at 10:00 am. The United States Supreme Court will hear the Ashcroft v. Raich medical cannabis case in Washington D.C. June 28, 2004 The New York Times was quoted saying, "The case, certain to be one of the most closely watched of the court's next term." June 28, 2004. Opening up an important window of opportunity for medical cannabis patients and their caregivers, the United States Supreme Court will review the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ December 16, 2003 ruling in Ashcroft v. Raich. The case, scheduled before the high court on November 29, 2004 will set a national precedent by weighing whether or not patients have the legal right to treat their illnesses by medicating with cannabis when recommended by their doctors. Be sure to check out all of our Supreme Court briefs and all of the friends of the court amicus briefs. They will prove there is medical evidence to support the use of medical cannabis and how the government has at every turn tried to prevent research. We have support from Constitional Law Scholars, the Institute for Justice, three states that support the use of medical cannabis, and we have support from three concervative states that support federalism. Very interesting reading! If you would like to read or download the pleadings in the Raich v. Ashcroft case go to our court documents page at http://www.angeljustice.org/article.php?list=type&type=11. All of the Supreme Court briefs are at the bottom of this page. The Raich v. Ashcroft Decision On May 14,2004. District Court Judge Martin J. Jenkins grants preliminary injunction against the federal government. The Court having considered all the pleadings filed in this matter, the argument made by counsel, and for good cause having been shown, Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction is GRANTED. In Raich v. Ashcroft, 352 Fed. 3d 1222 (9th Cir. 2003), the United State Court of Appeals for the Ninth District held that the Plaintiffs' have demonstrated a stron likeihood that "as applied to them, the [Controlled Substances Act] is an unconstitutional exercise of Congress' Commerce Clause authority." Id. at 1227. Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT, during the pendency of this action Defenants and their agents and officers, and any person acting in consort wit them, are hereby enjoined from arresting or prosecuting Plaintiffs Angel McClary Raich and Diane Monson, siezing their medical cannabis, forfeiting their property, or seeking civil or administrative sanctions against them with respect to the intrastate, noncommercial cultivation, possession, use, and obtaining without charge of cannabis for personal medical purposes on the advice of a phycician and in accordance with state law, and which is not used for distribution, sale or exchange; and Read more of the Raich preliminary injunction On December 16, 2003. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion reversing and remanding the case Raich v. Ashcroft to the district court with instructions to enter a preliminary injunction, as sought by the patients and caregivers. The Court found that “the appellants have demonstrated a strong likelihood of success on their claim that, as applied to them, the CSA [Controlled Substances Act of 1970] is an unconstitutional exercise of Congress’ Commerce Clause authority.” "People shouldn't panic. There aren't going to be many changes. Nothing is different today than it was two days ago, in terms of real- world impact." -- California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, after the decision was issued. On November 29, 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court Heard this landmark Medical Cannabis Case Involving the Federal Government’s Persecution of Severely ill Patients and Caregivers. The United States Supreme Court reviewed the December 16, 2003, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling in Raich v. Ashcroft to decide whether the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 is unconstitutional as it applies to a patient’s or caregiver’s right to cultivate and possess cannabis to treat medical conditions as recommended by the patient’s doctor.
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