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supreme court rejects medical use of marijuana
May 14, 2001 9:07 AM   Subscribe

supreme court rejects medical use of marijuana oh, goody.
posted by bliss322 (42 comments total)

 
The Supremes have just put a ton of sand on that slippery slope. Too bad, potheads!
posted by tenbroeck at 9:37 AM on May 14, 2001


No problem: pharmaceutical companies already manufacture similar products for Aids, cancer and glaucoma patients. Of course those drugs don't work very well, have nasty side effects and are much more expensive than a joint. But the War on Drugs must not be stopped, God forbid...
posted by matteo at 9:59 AM on May 14, 2001


Then I might as well stay healthy! Damn.
posted by Postroad at 10:20 AM on May 14, 2001


just means to me that the law that is being challenged has no leeway. in other words, overturn the fucking law. stop using federal blanket law on matters of preference to people that could be managed county by county or state by state.

tenbroeck, i've never met you, but i'm suspicious.
posted by whoshotwho at 10:25 AM on May 14, 2001


somehow, i don't think this is going to stop too many people from using it anyway.
posted by tolkhan at 10:26 AM on May 14, 2001


They turned it down based on lack of medical proof of its benefits. Although I was surprised at the unanimous decision, I can see why they ruled as they did (no medial proof).

This just means medical research into the benefits of marijuana usage should be ramped up. If there were at least a few studies showing benefits, I'm sure this would have passed today.
posted by mathowie at 10:32 AM on May 14, 2001


"It is clear from the text of the act that Congress has made a determination that marijuana has no medical benefits worthy of an exception," Thomas wrote.

cool. congress is now a medical board of some sort. not to sound like some liberal or anything, but wonder if it has anything to do with all the money pumped into congress by drug/alcohol/tobacco industries? Whoops. there i go sounding all left-wing.
posted by th3ph17 at 10:32 AM on May 14, 2001


tolkhan
no it won't stop them, it'll just make it so much harder to find a joint for very sick people who can't go out to buy it. so many cancer and glaucoma patients have never smoked a joint before getting sick, many of them are elderly people
mathowie
go ask anybody who ever had chemo treatments. ask them about nausea, what did they use to try and stop it? did it work? all the people who tried marijuana say it helped, a lot.
posted by matteo at 10:39 AM on May 14, 2001


Now come one, th3ph17... do you really think the nine robes just sit there alone and make decisions? They are NOT "a medical board of some sort," but are obliged to be fully informed before signing off on any decision. This one was UNANIMOUS, damnit! Don't make it sound like they just had nothing better to do today...

And whoshotwho... don't be so suspicious! -T
posted by tenbroeck at 10:47 AM on May 14, 2001


While "all the people who tried marijuana say it helped, a lot" is an unsubstantiable blanket statement, I do agree that this substance has potential in this area, and that it's certainly worth investigating. Others do too, and the slippery slope has hardly had sand thrown on it elsewhere.
posted by DiplomaticImmunity at 10:50 AM on May 14, 2001


PS: This ruling was more about federal law trumping state law than it was about marijuana.
posted by tenbroeck at 10:52 AM on May 14, 2001


it seems pretty silly to me that the new administration that always talks of getting the government out of our lives and returning power to the states is the one making these decisions.

tenbroeck -
there was a time when alcohol was illegal and a time when heroin kits were sold in sears catalogs - so... just b/c the government one day says something is illegal/legal doesn't mean much at all. take a break, huff down a cigarette, guzzle a beer and think about it.
posted by ggggarret at 10:55 AM on May 14, 2001


oh, quite the contrary, i don't think the nine robes just sit there and make decisions. i think there are many many strings attached to the nine robes helping them decide.
posted by th3ph17 at 10:55 AM on May 14, 2001


Hmmm....

Is this the same SCOTUS that is supposed to be such an ardent defender of states' rights?? Oh, I almost forgot, that doesn't count when it comes to the rights of individuals within those said borders. Things like say... the right to suffrage!!

Will the continued erosion of human and individual rights by this court eventually create an entire society of outlaws?

When pot is outlawed only outlaws in outlaw states will have pot. :) When the right to vote is outlawed only outlaws will vote. Hey, I kinda like that one!

"...there is no right to suffrage..." Antonin Scalia 12-01-2000
posted by nofundy at 10:57 AM on May 14, 2001


Personally I think it is about time that marijuana smokers did something a little more active in showing the need for reform. If everyone who wants marijuana to be legal would all go to their local city police department and turn them selves in for marijuana smoking, then the courts would not be able to process all the cases. It would effectivly overload the courts and the government would be forced to recognize that marijuana should be legal.
posted by DragonBoy at 11:01 AM on May 14, 2001


What does the new administration have to do with this?
posted by netbros at 11:02 AM on May 14, 2001


I'm curious to know if non-biased research can be done on pot and illness in this country. Even if a grand effort went into it isn't the anti-drug machine more or less designed to discredit anything against policy and equate all controlled substances with the same level of naughtiness?
posted by skallas at 11:07 AM on May 14, 2001


I note that the court ruling essentially said that they were endorsing Congress's credentials at judging whether medical research supported medical decisions.

Somehow, that's not something I would normally consider Congress good at ... y'know?
posted by dhartung at 11:08 AM on May 14, 2001


Sad day for States' rights! This proves that there truly are no progressives on the court. Oh, how I miss Marshall and Brennen (even though he was a Nixon appointee!). Today we are left with right wing extremists to moderates -- no progressives at all! To me this is more hypocrisy on part of states-rights/less government conservatives.

First the election, now this! Wonder how far off abortion rights are from being affected? All it takes is ONE new justice, which will be decided by you-know-who.
posted by Rastafari at 11:08 AM on May 14, 2001


I'm with William Burroughs, this medical research stop-the-clock technique is bullshit. Anybody can tell you the benefits. How long would it take the government to discover the benefits marijuana has to offer as a drug and as an agricultural product? They're full of it. This has to do with dissent.



Who are these anti-drug freaks? Where do they come from for Chrisakes?

"Marijuana decreases short-term memory, interferes with coordination, causes lung cancer. (And rots the brain and moral values.)"

Fact: Cannabis is one of the best anti-nausea drugs and increases appetite and general well-being. Also stimulates visual centers in the brain. I have gotten so many excellent images from cannabis. I used nothing else in my salad days and "quelle accomplishments!" A few drags on the green tit and I can see multiple ways out and beyond. So why all this heat on this harmless and rewarding substance?

Who are you to whom truth is so dangerous?

posted by mblandi at 11:33 AM on May 14, 2001


Yuppies like me and my friends just lost a semi-legitimate way to buy our bags. Now, we'll have to risk our lives in dangerous places to score.

I have a friend who was buying from the Oakland Cannabis club. The bags were great quality, and came with a hilarious label. Among other things, the label said the marijuana was for medicinal uses only (my friend paid a doctor $175 to get a prescription for his migraines).

Of course, he was not using it for migraines. And besides using recreationally, he was re-selling to friends like me. Laws, what laws?
posted by msacheson at 11:49 AM on May 14, 2001


mblandi--for an eye-opener, please re-read your comments to yourself when you come down off "the green tit."
posted by tenbroeck at 11:51 AM on May 14, 2001


I offer the following by way of empirical evidence for the efficacy of marijuana: I've been...er, self-medicating for almost 20 years and not developed cancer, AIDS, lumbago, shingles, scurvy or emphysema. I therefore submit that medical use of marijuana be approved immediately for all applications, pallative as well as prophylactic.
posted by bradlands at 11:52 AM on May 14, 2001


tenbroeck -
i'm not very quick ( a little too much of "the green tit" i guess ), please explain to me what makes marijuana so horrible and destructive that it would need to be made illegal. then please explain to me the medical and psychological benefits of alcohol and tobacco and why they should be legal.
posted by ggggarret at 12:19 PM on May 14, 2001


You know, it actually is possible for a non-marijuana user to support its decriminalization. I haven't smoked any since college, mainly because I just don't like the way it makes me feel (dumb and sleepy). But I don't have any problem at all with people who want to use it (a) recreationally or (b) medicinally (especially medicinally, as the stuff is literally a godsend for a helluva lot of suffering people) as long as I can have my beer in peace.

Sadly, this will never happen as long as the climate continues to be dominated by hysteria, misinformation, and the idea that even the vaguest leaning toward being softer on pot equals mollycoddling of criminals and drug addicts.
posted by Skot at 12:33 PM on May 14, 2001


This ill-fated decision by the supreme court reinforces the paranoid notion that marijuana can do no good, as a conservative I am disheartened and disappointed by this infringement of personal rights by the feds.
posted by PatMcGroin at 12:52 PM on May 14, 2001


This is just a technical decision whereby the court is respecting the seperation of powers. They don't say there are no medical benefits. They simply say any benefits do not, so far, have sufficeint scientific documentation to warrant declaring a Federal Law unconstitutional. It will be up to the Congress to change the law, or up to supporters of medical use to present enough data for the court to find medical use is a sufficeint reason to invalidate the law.
posted by sixdifferentways at 1:11 PM on May 14, 2001


You know, it actually is possible for a non-marijuana user to support its decriminalization.

No shit. I've never smoked it, never really been inclined to try any more than I've been inclined to try alcohol or cigarettes. But I don't see any reason it should be illegal while booze and tobacco aren't. It looks mostly harmless, especially when compared to booze. It's not something I have enough of a personal interest in to go to a NORML rally or anything like that, but if decriminalization came up for a vote it'd probably get mine.

There are probably a lot of people who feel like that.
posted by kindall at 1:42 PM on May 14, 2001


Here you have a long history of an illegal product. People were tried, convicted, sentenced and sent to prision for use and distribution of the product. Now some want to change the law so it can be made freely available. The opposite case is made with tobacco. A legal product that many are free to purchase and easily accessible which is slowly becoming illegal since some individuals need to be a certain age. Does it stop use in either case? No. People still want to subject themselves to whatever they want. Where would the trial lawyers be without going after a legal system that has punished many users for so long? What settlement with the states and federal government will be made for those with prior convictions? And those who answered the criminal questions on job applications? Yes it is in my opinion a drug that helps some who are suffering, but it is also a starter to more powerful drugs and social ills. Should the federal laws change, would one medical supplier be appointed? how would such limits or direction be decided? should it be up to each of the 50 states to run? or run through a bloated federal government? Once a program is started it is difficult to reverse (see the original idea for SS, Medicare, Medicaid). Now they are untouchable for a politician other than to leave them for the "next generation". Well, I for one would certainly say that no politician wants to be remembered for starting a nation towards drug addiction by being the ones to legalize drug use. What's next heroin use makes you kind to the citizens in the neighborhood? Crack make you a more outgoing person? Seems to me feeding the addictions only gets you shot in some places. Until then I say it was a good choice by the 9 on the "puppet court."
posted by brent at 4:12 PM on May 14, 2001


Five points:

1. Someone mentioned side effects -- many drugs have side effects. Some severe, some not. Side effects depend on what you're treating and how and what other medications you are taking as well as your own body chemistry. One of the arguments against marijuana is the side effects -- might cause lung problems, may alter your brain, etc. I think these should be taken into consideration but not end the argument.

2. Brent -- marijuana has not proven to be addictive. It could be said that it is psychologically addictive but nowhere reaching the addictive power in substances such as alcohol, cigarettes and harder drugs. To say the next step is heroin is laughable. However, I think anyone who has known a serious pothead (or, perhaps, been one themselves) knows that marijuana can change a person. Everything in moderation, though, right?

3. Msacheson -- I'm not sure what point you were trying to make by the fact that you and your yuppie friends are abusing the system -- this is nothing new. In fact, I know plenty of people that go through something like a wisdom-tooth extraction and share their pain-relieving drugs with others. It doesn't make it any more right what you are doing. That kind of abuse is fuel for the people who are against medicinal marijuana, though.

4. One of the stronger points against medicinal marijuana is there doesn't seem to be an easy way to control it. I have heard that a pill containing THC has been developed but that it doesn't solve the problem when you're dealing with a patient who has severe nausea. Just swallowing the pill can make them sick again. Smoking an actual joint isn't a very measured way to administer the drug -- at least, this isn't something the medical community seems very comfortable with. The traditional doctors are far more comfortable with measured, exact doses. I think some sort of inhaler needs to be developed.

5. Lastly, more research does need to be done. Taking an illegal drug and making it available to a wide populace is a huge challenge. The medical community and our lawmakers have to have solid evidence before they want to risk changing a long-standing law about something that relates to public health. Having said that, of course, I have to say that the snail's pace at which all issues related to public health move can be so trying -- especially for those who need action now.
posted by amanda at 5:01 PM on May 14, 2001


Yeah, pot isn't addictive at all. I just suppose my friend had legitimate reasons to smoke before we went out, in the mall parking lot, in the bathroom, before we left the mall in the parking lot, in the car out in front of his house, then inside his room. Addiction, no way.

Sure you want to explore the uses of medical pot. How about we take out all the side effects you like? Then you can take all the pot you want. Maybe we should make a pot enema. Then you can cleanse your colon too.

Don't tell me someone who is high isn't a threat to anyone else. I don't know about you, I don't want some high nurse working on me, or some guy who did to many bong shots coming at me in a 2000lb piece of metal. I'm a very good driver. No really.

I could pay to have research done to say anything. Hell I could have research saying that eating dung is good for the skin. Money talks to research companies. What prevents some rich pothead (can we say the publisher of high times) from paying a research company to say what he wants? Heck I'm surprised that there hasn't been a study that says pot users can walk on water.

Like a driver on a cell phone, I don't need a study to see what is in front of me everyday.

Oh, you smoke pot? Guess what, you stink. I smell your stank ass everyday at work. Your so used to it you don't even know.

Oh yeah, that friend I mentioned in the first paragraph, I dropped his ass because I was tired of sitting around his room all day watching him get high and acting like a moron. So I guess his best friend leaving his ass didn't effect his life at all, well at least he has the pot for a friend.

Greg
posted by andryeevna at 12:08 AM on May 15, 2001


This whole medical marijuana thing was a great ploy by the WoD guys. See, until now they had all the potheads telling them to try to prove that pot was harmful. Not an easy thing to do. Now they just have to sit back while all the potheads have to try to prove that it's beneficial. Also not an easy thing to do.

The truth is, it's a pretty benign drug, as drugs go. I mean seriously, the worst thing that the DARE program, a program heavily reliant on scare tactics, could come up with is that it's some mystical thing called a "gateway drug." The worst thing about it is OTHER DRUGS. It's not too harmful, and it's not too beneficial. It just makes people feel good, which is why it's the perfect treatment for cancer patients and people with nausea. Some people do appear to become dependant on it, but not all that many. I'd guess the percentage of users who are dependant is much lower than with alcohol and certainly it's lower than with tobacco.
posted by Nothing at 3:46 AM on May 15, 2001


Don't tell me someone who is high isn't a threat to anyone else. I don't know about you, I don't want some high nurse working on me, or some guy who did to many bong shots coming at me in a 2000lb piece of metal.

similiarly, you wouldn't want some drunk nurse working on you, or some guy who had too many tequila shots coming at you in a 2000lb piece of metal. that's why we have laws and corporate policies against such things. as stated above, all things in moderation. someone who wants to get high after work or on the weekends is no different than someone who drinks a six pack in the evening or goes drinking with the buddies on Saturday night. doing it before going to work, though, is a different matter entirely.
posted by tolkhan at 5:15 AM on May 15, 2001


This just means medical research into the benefits of marijuana usage should be ramped up. If there were at least a few studies showing benefits, I'm sure this would have passed today.

In 1999 there was a statement made by the National Institute of Medicine to the effect that marijuana had the potential to be beneficial in certain medical situations. At that point, one would have expected more intensive research into the drug's medical benefits - but in fact hardly any has been done. Why? Because the US government is the only legal supplier of marijuana, and as you might imagine, they aren't too keen on providing any for this type of research.

I think a big part of the reason marijuana is so demonized while cigarettes and alcohol remain freely available is that there are no large corporate interests who depend on marijuana for their profits.

I don't smoke marijuana, but I think the "War on Drugs" is not only ridiculous but downright harmful, and it needs to be stopped.
posted by binkin at 7:24 AM on May 15, 2001


there are no large corporate interests who depend on marijuana for their profits.

Hmm...I'd think the makers of Doritos might have a stake.
posted by bradlands at 8:01 AM on May 15, 2001


I just suppose my friend had legitimate reasons to smoke before we went out, in the mall parking lot, in the bathroom, before we left the mall in the parking lot, in the car out in front of his house, then inside his room.

So this friend of yours represents every pot smoker on the planet, does he? I've been smoking pot recreationally for almost 10 years now. Sometimes I'll be high for an entire weekend, and sometimes I won't touch any for months on end.

Addicitive is cigarettes, which make me shake if I don't get one every couple of hours. Addictive is caffeine, which gives me a headache if I don't have my morning cup. Addictive is not marijuana, which makes me really want to write code.

I don't care if pot is ever decriminalised for personal usage. I haven't ever had difficulty buying some.

What I do care about is figuring out a way to make marijuana legal for medicinal purposes. My girlfriends brother has CP, he spends most of his life with his hands clenched into a claw-like shape because of it. He's had a migraine since he was 13. Constantly.

(he's seen and is seeing many doctors about it, and he was on the maximum legal demerol dosage for 7 years, it's not your regular migraine)

Every time we smoke a joint, his hands relax. Every time we smoke a joint his face relaxes, wrinkles of pain are smoothed. He can sleep through the night because his migraine fades to a point where it doesn't wake him up three or four times.

So just because your friend is an idiot doesn't mean that all pot smokers are, and more importantly it doesn't mean that there's no medicinal benefit to the drug.
posted by cCranium at 9:48 AM on May 15, 2001


It's none of your damn business what I smoke as long as I don't endanger you.
posted by norm at 11:02 AM on May 15, 2001


I think some sort of inhaler needs to be developed.

Kinda like what the folks at GW Pharmaceuticals were/are doing?
posted by MUD at 12:21 PM on May 15, 2001


Thanks for the link, MUD, very interesting! I applaud the efforts in the UK to think it out.

I think a big part of the reason marijuana is so demonized while cigarettes and alcohol remain freely available is that there are no large corporate interests who depend on marijuana for their profits.

Ding that!
posted by amanda at 3:52 PM on May 15, 2001


Perhaps those on this thread who've made rather vague claims about cannabis being bad for you should have linked to something like this article in the Independent (I would link to the reference paper cited but it requires a subscription to view). Of course, the whole point of the study is that as hash gets more potent via cultivation and crossbreeding recreational users risk damage to themselves but, hey, that's a choice thing - and a tempting choice when you look at tobacco & alcohol blah, blah, blah (old ground). Medicinal use of cannabis or, more likely, drugs derived from cannabis is a whole different ball game.
posted by MUD at 4:38 PM on May 15, 2001


I occurs to me that all the potheads who talk of the "glorious" benefits of this stuff (oohh, it opens your mind, ooh it makes you feel great, oooh you see beautiful things) are, for lack of a better term, pathetic. You need a drug to feel good about yourself? You need a drug to have an open mind? You've got some problems. Stop pissing away your money on pot and work on your self esteem - I have never had pot or any other illegal drug, or cigarettes, or alcohol, and I feel pretty darn good about myself and have a pretty open, expanded mind. Drug users are just weak little children who need a crutch to feel good.
posted by Spirit_VW at 5:43 PM on May 16, 2001


You need a drug to feel good about yourself?

Did anyone in this thread even imply such a thing?

I feel pretty darn good about myself and have a pretty open, expanded mind. Drug users are just weak little children who need a crutch to feel good.

You are aware of the contradiction here, right? You have an open mind, and yet you make a pretty silly claim about all drug users.

You're funny. :-)
posted by cCranium at 5:39 AM on May 17, 2001


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