California Cannabis Club Asks Federal Judge to Nullify Injunction Barring it From Selling Marijuana for Medicinal Purposes
The Oakland Cannabis Buyers Cooperative on Tuesday filed a motion asking a federal judge to lift an injunction that bars the group from selling marijuana for medicinal purposes, the AP/Contra Costa Times reports. The request reopens a case thought to be settled in May when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the injunction, ruling that, under a 1970 federal law, marijuana has no medical benefits and cannot be prescribed by doctors. Justice Clarence Thomas noted in the decision, however, that the court was only addressing the "medical necessity defense" and that questions regarding Congress' "ability to interfere with intrastate commerce, the right of states to experiment with their own laws and whether Americans have a fundamental right to marijuana as an avenue to be free of pain" remained unanswered. In 1996, with the passage of Proposition 215, California became the first state to approve the use of marijuana to relieve pain associated with chronic illnesses such as cancer and AIDS. Since then, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Oregon and Washington have all passed similar measures. Federal officials rarely interfered with medical marijuana clubs in these states prior to the Supreme Court decision, but the ruling "spread fear" among medicinal marijuana suppliers and users (Kravets, AP/Contra Costa Times, 1/8). Last year, however, federal agents closed a West Hollywood cannabis club, uprooting 400 marijuana plants and seizing growing equipment and computers containing the names and medical histories of the club's clientele (Mitchell, Los Angeles Times, 1/9). The club has refiled its suit and at a hearing next month will ask a federal judge to lift the injunction, focusing its arguments on the issues Thomas listed as unaddressed in the decision. "The Supreme Court issued a very narrow ruling. We are taking the invitation to open up other issues," Robert Raich, the club's attorney, said (AP/Contra Costa Times, 1/8).
Los Angeles Woman to Challenge Marijuana Law
Somayah Kambui, a 51-year-old Los Angeles woman with sickle cell anemia arrested in October for growing more than 200 pounds of marijuana plants in her garden, on Tuesday asked a Los Angeles Superior Court judge for a "speedy trial," the Los Angeles Times reports. Kambui is the founder of Crescent Alliance Self Help for Sickle Cell -- a marijuana cooperative that supplies the drug to people with the disease to help them relieve pain. Law enforcement officials have been observing Kambui since 1998, when she was arrested and released for growing the plants in her backyard. However, in light of the May Supreme Court decision, officials have again cracked down on her operation, which she said supplies a "dozen or so" sickle cell patients with the drug. The case is "another test" for Proposition 215, the Times reports. The trial will begin on Jan. 18 (Mitchell, Los Angeles Times, 1/9).