Feds Dismiss Medical Marijuana Lawsuits Without Hearings "Because They Know They're Wrong"

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This, too, did pass
The medical marijuana fight may end up at the Supreme Court ... by the time we're all really old.

San Francisco attorney Matthew Kumin's lawsuit challenging the feds' recent crackdown on state-legal medical marijuana dispensaries was dismissed by a federal judge in Sacramento -- without being heard in court.

Kumin fully expects more losses, when his other claims filed in federal court in Oakland and Los Angeles are also dismissed.

And that's all right with him. Kumin told us Thursday that the plan all along was to take the case "upstairs" to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. There, judges may be liberal enough to let Kumin challenge the government's doublespeak -- and to allow U.S. attorneys the chance to defend it.

"They're saying, 'It's illegal because we say it's illegal,'" said Kumin, who pointed to the Food and Drug Administration allowing cannabis-based medicine Sativex to undergo clinical trials as surefire proof of "irrational" and selective federal enforcement. "That's just not a good enough answer for the American public."

Kumin's local clients include medical marijuana collectives Divinity Tree, Medithrive, and Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana. All were recently shut down by Melinda Haag, the U.S. Attorney for Northern California, as part of a statewide crackdown on medical marijuana in coordination with California's three other federal prosecutors.

In the argument dismissed this week, Kumin pointed to a 2009 memo issued by a deputy attorney general that suggested federal prosecutors use their "limited resources" on crimes other than state-legal medical marijuana, a suggestion that has evidently been ignored. In his opinion dismissing the suit in Sacramento, U.S. District Judge Garland Burrell said that the memo "was a statement of priorities" and "does not contain a promise not to enforce federal law."

The problem is not that the law is bogus -- though certainly medical marijuana advocates think it is -- but that the feds are enforcing their own law selectively.

In the past, federal law enforcement officials have pointed to the myriad ills perpetrated upon the public by marijuana use; in recent years, the argument's been circular. It's illegal because Congress said it's illegal; it has no medical use because the Drug Enforcement Administration says so. This tautology would unlikely get a user past their 1L year, and it's also logic that the government's own actions betray as faulty (and can be challenged under The Equal Protection Clause).

In addition to the Veterans Administration letting its beneficiaries use cannabis, and the FDA allowing cannabis-based medicine like Sativex to be tested, the National Cancer Institute -- which is part of the National Institute on Health -- issued an infamous statement in which it observed cannabis components' tumor-shrinking effects in mice (since retracted, due to political pressure, it's thought).

"The government's blocking of us is irrational at this point," Kumin said. "It's clear there's medical use; circumstances have changed."

To date, lawyers for the federal government have not been called to answer for any of the above in front of a judge. Judges like Burrell have a right not to hear any case they wish; if they didn't, the courts would be hopelessly tied up with frivolous lawsuits.

The Ninth Circuit could get the case within nine to 12 months, Kumin said. First, the U.S. District judges in Oakland and L.A. need to dismiss the initial suits, which asked judges to slap an injunction upon further federal actions shutting down state-legal cannabis. So Kumin could be arguing in front of the Ninth Circuit -- which has been famously friendly toward medical marijuana in the past -- by this time next year.

Whenever medical cannabis gets a fair hearing in a court of law, next year or 10 years from now, the decision can only go one way, Kumin says.

"The judges know we're in the right, they just don't want to admit it," said Kumin, who used the example of the civil rights movement: It took the Supreme Court 58 years to reverse its affirmation that "separate but equal" segregated schools were okay in Plessy v. Ferguson -- he just hopes it doesn't take quite so long this time.

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Shawn
Shawn

Here is the issue:

Legalizing marijuana for the mass majority of people is not beneficial to the development of society.

Legalizing it for medical purposes to treat/re-leave or cure illnesses is beneficial to society.

So someone mentioned the legal use of cocaine, if marijuana was processed and put into a pill form then it would be more likely to become legal, you don't go to the drug store an get a vial of coke so you can snort it. However, the majority of people that are fighting for the legalization of pot are pot heads. They don't need it, they want it. Just like cigarettes, and truth be told it should be outlawed as well. If abuse was not so rampant in the US then things like this would be trivial.

However, the average American is a moron. I even do stupid things from time to time. As a nation we are great, but individually we all make poor decisions. An example of this is just look at how we keep electing the same losers for congress.

I have a question I ask everyone that uses pot, would you want your doctor high while he is operating on you? Would you want the bus driver of your kids high as he picks up and drops off your little ones? Would you want your financial analysis smoking a bong as he is investing your  future? Most people would say NO, do people in these professions get high. Yes, however, because it is illegal, it keeps the majority of these professions in line. But if it was more readily available and less policed, you could bet the abuse and miss-use would sore.

However, I do not believe in the current judiciary process. I think they spend too much money and time policing the people. If someone wants to get high...so what...but as soon as they do something like get behind a car, then that is when the law should come cracking down and no mercy be given to them if they do injure another person.

So not only does society have to mature in order for something like marijuana to be legal, but laws and policies have to be rewritten and politicians at local, state, and federal level are too incompetent to do facilitate that change. It is easier to just ban, or take away a right versus giving a right.

Jon Long
Jon Long

Why should the "right thing take so long to change. Hurts my heart.

Federale
Federale

Ah, no, there is no equal protection challenge available to the law.  The SC ruled recently that the Federal ban on maryjane superceded State law.  Congress can create exemptions, which include medical use.  Cocaine is banned except for medical use.  Congress has limited medical use of maryjane by authorizing agencies to create programs for use and study. Congress can just ban stuff.  Its in the Constitution, at least in the post-New Deal interpretation.  You see you leftists want it both ways.  A unconstitutionally expanded Federal government that can prohibit growing wheat on your own land but want maryjane legalized.  You want your food stamps, EBT cards and Social Security, but you had to accept the authority of Congress to ban maryjane as well. Now if you went back to the pre-New Deal Constitution, you might have an arguement, but then there is the Federal excise tax authority... But in any event Congress can just say so.  They don't need a reason.  Just their authority, just as a certain farmer in the 30s who wanted to grow wheat for his own consumption found out. Pity you Reds can't deal with it.  So you have a choice, Welfare State or maryjane.  You decide.  Don't cry when you make the wrong decision.

Muzzy Lu
Muzzy Lu

Seems like state and local governments are trying to force medical marijuana patients back into the arms of big pharmaceuticals and the liquor industry! How is marijuana worse than opiates or booze? But the government has to protect us from the evil cannabis.

Great e-book on medical marijuana: MARIJUANA - Guide to Buying, Growing, Harvesting, and Making Medical Marijuana Oil and Delicious Candies to Treat Pain and Ailments by Mary Bendis, Second Edition. This book has great recipes for easy marijuana oil, delicious Cannabis Chocolates, and tasty Dragon Teeth Mints!  

Dondi C
Dondi C

    I wish to erradicate the un-documented visiter/[D]rug cartel problem we share at our common border with the Country of Mexico that has placed undue pressure on the economies and wellbeing of [B]oth.                         I respectfully request You the reader keep an open mind and form no opinion or personal negative predisposition prior to fully reading and grasping what I believe would provide substantial solutions at a multitude of levels            Legalize Cannabis, Enact an [I]mport Tax, and [R]egulate it by Grade of primary usage       (this would potentially creat numerous Government jobs openings for the F.D.A. and medical fields of reserch,and commercial developement. The Security and enforcement rolls would change substantially for the D.E.A. as well as U.S. Customs Service and would actually require more workers, [J]ust in a different capacity and requiring a more specialized skill set thus providing employment oportunities in need of trained proffessionals with an actual knowedge in their specialized field of enforcement and expanding the field of related studies in the criminal justice system creating even more jobs. Then only the illegal and or non-compliant operations would be in peril of the Justice Dept's retribution) (ie., Medical Grade Cannabis would have the most restrictive Standards for quality assurence/consumer saftey and the lower less restrictive guidlines could be inplaced for say chordage or fiber for use in textiles and or polyresin building materiels and catyalyst resin bio-degradables in the Automotive industry(Remeber Henry Fords Original Model-T was primarily built from and ran off of Cannabis Hemp products and this included it's non-poluting fuel)) regulation could be enacted in such a manor so as to insure that it would only be profitable as a legitimate buisiness venture thus forcing the price down to the point that it would necessarily make it extremely unatractive to the Criminal element.         If it could be only sold for five dollars an ounce after Taxes it would still a more than a workable margin of profit for a legitimate commercial farm after tarrifs, [B]ut before the cartel's would be able to compete they would have to become legitimate buisnesses possesing [N]o criminal element to be able to participate in the free market On stipulation of which would be that profits therefrome derived may not support [A]ny criminal activities or enterprizes!!!     the legitimate workforce this would require would provide many job oportunities and stimulate the economies of both countries and elimination the main reasons for illegal undocumented workers crossing our boarders which is the lack of oportunies for work at home and to escape that trap that is killing thier young called the cartel, let's give them an attractive reason to stay HOME!!! 

Captaintrips
Captaintrips

The prison system would not necessarily lose inmates. When an illegal immigrant is caught here put them in prison for say 5 to 10 years then deport them. The tobacco company is set up already to roll, package, tax and distribution. There is fixes to all the associated problems that those against legalization bring up. So I see reason other than just they say it is illegal because they say it is. Everyone that reads this article needs to share it with everyone so they can see the hypocritical ideas of the governments reasoning.

johnny15150
johnny15150

 The people have taken these steps to make cannabis available. Every shop , grower ,worker is subject to arrest ,search and seizuregetting a conviction for cannabis charges is very slim unless other charges are filed.

good conversation.

giving more jobs too gov. workers just feeds the drugwar machine.taxing cannabis will drive the price back up past $5. we know how well they budget money

Tobacco costs nothing to produce , look at those numbers.5 yrs ago a pack of smokes cost $3 ,now $5 to 10  . when cigs cost 10 a pack someone will bootleg thus creating a black market with the current economy the need will be filled.

education goes a long way , teaching people about cannabis is more productive

it is a god given herbit is safer than alchohol,oxcotin,tylenol etc.

hemp has thousands of applications

as long as the politics behind drugs remains the status quo of "not in my town"other countries will fill the gap.as long as the"tough on crime" attitude gets votes ,we wil see more prohibitions

Dvr S Rogers
Dvr S Rogers

I was conversing with a man who left Russia 24 years ago, he's my age 45, the thing he emphasized was how much this country now reminds him of the Soviet country of his birth.  This is no longer the land of the free, it's a fascist, oligarchy.  Peeps, keep to your faith, use wisely and live free!

Chris Kaczmarek
Chris Kaczmarek

Why do we keep electing these assholes in these courts?

rsteeb
rsteeb

The Federales had better get ready to issue reparations.  They know damned well that their law, "Schedule I Cannabis" is a damned lie.  Get REAL, Haag!

 

Marie Hauser-Adee
Marie Hauser-Adee

Tautologies, circular logic. Here's another one. The judges don't have time, because the legislatures are too busy trying to criminalize normal people ;) We need more judges, online judges? And less cops looking for easy money, goods and targets. A HUGE conflict of interests. There has got to be a way to speed this legalization process up. 

johnny15150
johnny15150

Here we go  , great article. I have to think the people who have been through DEA raids ,property stolen, lives ruined,drug courts  the list goes on,but the charges are dropped?

WHO CARES! go to court fight all the way , once you get charged with a fake crime whats left?

My heart goes out to the people of Marin alliance and the countless people who died there.And the folks who ran that place , took a chance to help people no matter what consequences and the brave people who are running safe-cannabis access in Ca and other states ,thousands of people want and need this plant.

people curing cancer with cannabis 

Rick Simpson can tell you how google phoenix tears for more info

SHAME ON THE DEA.

Cannadude
Cannadude

Is this constitutional? The Supreme Court can throw out a lawsuit because they suspect the feds will probably lose? Do we not have a set of guidelines for Judges in determining whether or not a lawsuit will be "frivolous"? I thought this was a democracy! I and many others are becoming increasingly frustrated with our current system.

kevin hunt
kevin hunt

The Feds are so out of touch on this issue.  Legalization would solve so many problems.  No one has ever died from ingesting marijuana.  People are not going to stop using cannabis, EVER!

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