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WAMM's Ongoing Court Cases


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#1 WAMM

WAMM

    Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 09:31 AM

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WAMM is currently involved in a number of ongoing cases, which we've had some recent successes.


Santa Cruz V. Mukasey:


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SAN JOSE, CA - In a first-of-its-kind ruling, a federal court today held that the U.S. Constitution bars deliberate subversion by the federal government of state medical marijuana laws.

"Utilizing selective arrests and prosecutions, the federal government has sought to sabotage California’s reasoned approach to medical marijuana use," said Graham Boyd, Director of the ACLU Drug Law Reform Project. "For the first time, a court has recognized that a calculated plan by the federal government to undercut state medical marijuana laws is patently unconstitutional. Today’s decision forecasts an end to any organized federal effort to sabotage state medical marijuana laws."

While previous high-profile cases affirmed the federal government’s power to enforce federal drug laws against individual medical marijuana patients and providers on a case-by-case basis, today’s ruling clearly recognizes that a calculated pattern of federal enforcement can render state medical marijuana laws effectively inoperable, which would violate the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

"It is obvious to anyone paying attention that federal officials have gone to great lengths to sabotage state efforts to allow for appropriate medical marijuana use," said Boyd. "The court made clear that this deliberate interference - once proved - would be unequivocally unconstitutional."

The case, County of Santa Cruz v. Mukasey, originated in 2003 when Bingham McCutchen LLP and the Drug Policy Alliance, along with private attorneys Gerald F. Uelmen and Benjamin Rice, sued the federal government for raiding a Santa Cruz-area medical marijuana cooperative, the Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana.

The ACLU and others argued, and the court agreed, that the U.S. Constitution permits states to determine for themselves what is legal and what is illegal under state law, and that the federal government may not deliberately undermine this process.

"The federal government has purposely set out to systematically subvert California’s medical marijuana program," said Daniel Abrahamson, director of legal affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. "Let us hope that this ruling leads to the merciful end of the federal government’s cruel war on sick and dying medical marijuana patients."

In today’s ruling, which rejected the federal government’s motion to dismiss the case, Judge ****** Fogel of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division, relied on U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski’s opinion in Conant v. Walters, which stated, in part, "Applied to our situation, this means that, much as the federal government may prefer that California keep medical marijuana illegal, it cannot force the state to do so."

In addition to U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, the lawsuit names as defendants U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents involved in the raid of WAMM and administrators of the DEA and Office of National Drug Control Policy.



Craker v. DEA:

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On July 21, 2004, MAPS, Prof. Craker and Valerie Corral filed lawsuits against DEA and also against HHS/NIH/NIDA for obstructing medical marijuana research. On July 29, 2004, MAPS filed a motion to consolidate the lawsuit against the DEA and the lawsuit against HHS, NIH and NIDA. Shortly thereafter, on November 22, 2004, the Court required DEA to respond by December 22, 2004 to the portion of the lawsuit against DEA about the UMass Amherst marijuana production facility.


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Senior US Senators Edward Kennedy and John Kerry have agreed to send a new letter to DEA Administrator Karen Tandy urging her agency to accept the recommendation of DEA Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner to grant a Schedule I license to University of Massachusetts professor Lyle Craker, PhD, for his proposed MAPS-sponsored medical marijuana production facility. An independent supply of research-grade medical marijuana is the key prerequisite for MAPS' plan to conduct the clinical trials necessary to develop marijuana into a legal US FDA-approved prescription medicine. In 2004, before our successful lawsuit against DEA, the duo of Massachusetts Senators sent a similar letter to DEA urging the agency to license Prof. Craker. In the coming months, MAPS and our allies will be targeting several key Senators to add their names to Kerry and Kennedy's letter, building on the momentum of last month's letter from 45 US Representatives to DEA in support of Prof. Craker's proposed facility.

The DEA has no deadline to decide whether to accept or reject Judge Bittner's non-binding ruling. As a result, we expect that DEA will continue to use its best weapon against medical marijuana research -- inaction.


County of San Diego v. San Diego NORML:

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ASA has successfully intervened in a civil lawsuit that the County of San Diego filed against the California Department of Health Services (DHS) on February 1, 2006 in San Diego Superior Court. Jointly with the ACLU Drug Reform Law Project (DLRP), Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), and representing five patients, a physician, and the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM), ASA fought on behalf of the rights of patients across the state. Specifically, ASA argued that federal law does not preempt state law, and that the County of San Diego must abide by the Compassionate Use Act and SB 420.

San Diego County Supervisors claim to have filed the lawsuit in response to a lawsuit threatened by San Diego NORML over the County's objection to implementing the state's medical marijuana ID card program. Therefore, the case is called San Diego County v. San Diego NORML. On July 7, 2006, ASA, DLRP, and DPA filed a motion to intervene, which was granted on August 4. Then, on September 1, the parties filed their motion for summary judgment on the pleadings. Attorneys for ASA and the ACLU argued the case in San Diego Superior Court on November 16, 2006, and secured a tremendous victory for patients in California. On December 6, 2006, Judge William R. Nevitt Jr. confirmed the validity of California medical marijuana law by ruling on the side of patients and rejecting the counties’ challenge. Despite a ruling clearly showing that federal law does not preempt state law, the County of San Diego appealed the Superior Court decision on February 22, 2007. ASA will continue to fight this lawsuit and is confident that patients will ultimately prevail and that San Diego will be forced to abide by and implement California's medical marijuana law.

The intervening defendants included Wendy Christakes, Pamela Sakuda (now deceased), William Britt and Yvonne Westbrook, Californians who use physician-recommended marijuana to treat medical conditions and their side-effects, including chronic pain and sciatica, multiple sclerosis, rectal cancer, epilepsy and post-polio syndrome. Also represented was Sakuda’s spouse and caregiver, Norbert Litzinger, and Dr. Stephen O’Brien, a physician who specializes in HIV/AIDS treatment in Oakland, California, and believes that many of his seriously ill patients benefit from the medical use of marijuana. In addition to being co-counsel, ASA was also an intervening defendant on behalf of our membership, with over 30,000 medical marijuana patients, caregivers and physicians residing in California. WAMM, another intervening defendant is a medical marijuana collective and hospice located in Santa Cruz, California, whose 250 members, the majority of whom are terminally ill, use marijuana to treat a range of conditions.

The Counties of San Diego and San Bernardino have appealed the superior court ruling to the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Appellate District.The County of Merced, by contrast, did not appeal the ruling and, instead, has implemented the identification card program.

Update:

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SAN DIEGO COUNTY — San Diego County lawyers filed a 47-page petition with the U.S. Supreme Court, challenging the California law requiring counties to issue legal identification cards to medical marijuana patients.

County supervisors voted for the filing after the California Supreme Court rejected the county's long-running legal fight to avoid implementing state marijuana laws.

According to the petition, filed with San Bernardino County on Monday, California counties cannot be forced to issue ID cards to patients because marijuana is still illegal under federal law.

That argument was rejected by a state trial court and a state appellate court before the California Supreme Court declined to consider the suit last year.

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether to accept or reject the case this year. –J.M.

Edited by WAMM, 16 January 2009 - 10:19 AM.


#2 WAMM

WAMM

    Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana

  • Collectives
  • 58 posts
  • State:CA

Posted 12 January 2009 - 01:51 PM

The DEA just rejected Professor Craker's request to grow marijuana to be used in FDA approved studies.

Valerie Corral, as well as our friend MAPS, were also signed on to the lawsuit.

From the ACLU website:

DEA's final ruling rejecting the application of UMass Amherst Professor Lyle Craker for a license to cultivate research marijuana for use by scientists in FDA-approved research. The ruling, which contradicts the recommendation of DEA Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner, maintains the unique government monopoly over the supply of marijuana available for FDA-approved research.

The 118 page decision can be read at:

http://www.aclu.org/...application.pdf

#3 WAMM

WAMM

    Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana

  • Collectives
  • 58 posts
  • State:CA

Posted 16 January 2009 - 10:20 AM

An update:

http://www3.signonsa...d/?zIndex=38321

Medical marijuana law challenged

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SAN DIEGO COUNTY San Diego County lawyers filed a 47-page petition with the U.S. Supreme Court, challenging the California law requiring counties to issue legal identification cards to medical marijuana patients.

County supervisors voted for the filing after the California Supreme Court rejected the county's long-running legal fight to avoid implementing state marijuana laws.

According to the petition, filed with San Bernardino County on Monday, California counties cannot be forced to issue ID cards to patients because marijuana is still illegal under federal law.

That argument was rejected by a state trial court and a state appellate court before the California Supreme Court declined to consider the suit last year.

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether to accept or reject the case this year.


#4 WAMM

WAMM

    Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana

  • Collectives
  • 58 posts
  • State:CA

Posted 27 July 2009 - 10:25 AM

WAMM said:

WAMM is currently involved in a number of ongoing cases, which we've had some recent successes.


Craker v. DEA

On July 2, 2009, Professor Lyle Craker's ACLU Drug Law Reform Project lawyers filed the Second Status Update with the US Court of Appeals, First Circuit. The update reports on DEA's lack of response to the witness and document list filed with DEA on June 5, 2009, in support of Prof. Craker's Motion to Reconsider DEAs Final Ruling. The lawyers are asking the Court to hold the appellate proceedings inabeyance until we learn the DEAs final decision. DEA's final order was scheduled to go into effect July 1, 2009, but DEA lawyers have previously indicated that it is not unusual to have a Motion to Reconsider still pending after the effective date of a final agency order.

Crakers lawyers are required to file a status report with the Court of Appeals every 60 days until a decision is finalized by DEA. These status report filings preserve Crakers right to appeal should DEA deny him a license to grow marijuana for research purposes at UMASS Amherst, under contract to MAPS. We are currently comfortable with DEAs delay as we are hoping that new leadership at DEA will soon be appointed by the Obama administration. New leadership at DEA will hopefully be more likely to reverse the rejection of the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)s recommendation to license Prof. Craker than the Bush-holdovers still running DEA who initially rejected the ALJs recommendation.




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