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Court Rules Against Pot for Sick People
AP ^ | 6/6/05 | Gina Holland

Posted on 06/06/2005 8:58:28 AM PDT by Tumbleweed_Connection

Federal authorities may prosecute sick people whose doctors prescribe marijuana to ease pain, the Supreme Court ruled Monday, concluding that state laws don't protect users from a federal ban on the drug.

The decision is a stinging defeat for marijuana advocates who had successfully pushed 10 states to allow the drug's use to treat various illnesses.

Justice John Paul Stevens, writing the 6-3 decision, said that Congress could change the law to allow medical use of marijuana.

The closely watched case was an appeal by the Bush administration in a case involving two seriously ill California women who use marijuana. The court said the prosecution of pot users under the federal Controlled Substances Act was constitutional.

"I'm going to have to be prepared to be arrested," said Diane Monson, one of the women involved in the case.

In a dissent, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said that states should be allowed to set their own rules.

Under the Constitution, Congress may pass laws regulating a state's economic activity so long as it involves "interstate commerce" that crosses state borders. The California marijuana in question was homegrown, distributed to patients without charge and without crossing state lines.

"Our national medical system relies on proven scientific research, not popular opinion. To date, science and research have not determined that smoking marijuana is safe or effective," John Walters, director of National Drug Control Policy, said Monday.

Stevens said there are other legal options for patients, "but perhaps even more important than these legal avenues is the democratic process, in which the voices of voters allied with these (California women) may one day be heard in the halls of Congress."

California's medical marijuana law, passed by voters in 1996, allows people to grow, smoke or obtain marijuana for medical needs with a doctor's recommendation. Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington state have laws similar to California.

In those states, doctors generally can give written or oral recommendations on marijuana to patients with cancer, HIV and other serious illnesses.

"The states' core police powers have always included authority to define criminal law and to protect the health, safety, and welfare of their citizens," said O'Connor, who was joined in her dissent by two other states' rights advocates: Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justice Clarence Thomas.

The legal question presented a dilemma for the court's conservatives, who have pushed to broaden states' rights in recent years. They earlier invalidated federal laws dealing with gun possession near schools and violence against women on the grounds the activity was too local to justify federal intrusion.

O'Connor said she would have opposed California's medical marijuana law if she were a voter or a legislator. But she said the court was overreaching to endorse "making it a federal crime to grow small amounts of marijuana in one's own home for one's own medicinal use."

Alan Hopper, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney, said that local and state officers handle 99 percent of marijuana prosecutions and must still follow any state laws that protect patients. "This is probably not going to change a lot for individual medical marijuana patients," he said.

The case concerned two Californians, Monson and Angel Raich. The two had sued then-U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, asking for a court order letting them smoke, grow or obtain marijuana without fear of arrest, home raids or other intrusion by federal authorities.

Raich, an Oakland woman suffering from ailments including scoliosis, a brain tumor, chronic nausea, fatigue and pain, smokes marijuana every few hours. She said she was partly paralyzed until she started smoking pot. Monson, an accountant who lives near Oroville, Calif., has degenerative spine disease and grows her own marijuana plants in her backyard.

In the court's main decision, Stevens raised concerns about abuse of marijuana laws. "Our cases have taught us that there are some unscrupulous physicians who overprescribe when it is sufficiently profitable to do so," he said.

The case is Gonzales v. Raich, 03-1454.


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1 posted on 06/06/2005 8:58:29 AM PDT by Tumbleweed_Connection
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To: Tumbleweed_Connection
Interesting that this became a states-rights issue.

This whole business of making marijuana illegal is idiotic. Anyone who wants it can get it. It is grown everywhere for free. Doctors are already prescribing it for use.

Kind of reminds me of prohibition.

2 posted on 06/06/2005 9:01:42 AM PDT by Nachum
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To: Tumbleweed_Connection
Justice John Paul Stevens, writing the 6-3 decision, said that Congress could change the law to allow medical use of marijuana.

Absolutely true. To have ruled otherwise would be an example of the Court making (altering) federal law.

Also, the headline is great. Court opposes giving medicine to sick people. Those meanies!!

3 posted on 06/06/2005 9:02:31 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy
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To: Tumbleweed_Connection

Why can't their doctors just prescribe THC pills or some sort of facsimile? From what I've heard, the potency of this medical marijuana is pretty low anyway.


4 posted on 06/06/2005 9:02:52 AM PDT by poobear
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To: Tumbleweed_Connection
Congress has no authority to pass any sort of law regarding the Koran as a "holy item" or "religious establishment".

It's just paper pulp under our laws.

5 posted on 06/06/2005 9:03:05 AM PDT by muawiyah (q)
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To: Tumbleweed_Connection
Breakdown of Justices:

Opinion of the Court: Stevens, Scalia, Ginsburg, Breyer, Souter, Kennedy

Dissent: O'Connor, Rehnquist, Thomas

6 posted on 06/06/2005 9:05:18 AM PDT by Republican Wildcat
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To: Nachum

If government taxed its own stupidity, it would be self-funding in perpetuity.


7 posted on 06/06/2005 9:05:57 AM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ...... The War on Terrorism is the ultimate 'faith-based' initiative.)
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To: poobear
Why can't their doctors just prescribe THC pills or some sort of facsimile?

That's my question. Why is it that the "legalize pot" types never seem to be interested in a pill form? I understand that, in some cancers, the nauseau is so bad that they can't keep anything down, but in that case it should be in injectable form.

My sister was given cocaine before a surgery back in the '80s to constrict the membranes in her nose so they could put a tube in. In a controlled situation, prescribed and administered by doctors and nurses, I don't really care if they use THC. I *do* care if some beavis is just growing ganga in his backyard - same as I'd care if my sister had just gone out and taken a hit of blow before surgery.

8 posted on 06/06/2005 9:10:01 AM PDT by Terabitten (I have a duty as an AMERICAN, not a Republican. We can never put Party above Nation.)
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To: Terabitten
t's my question. Why is it that the "legalize pot" types never seem to be interested in a pill form?

Because when a sick person can grow their own it is cheap and plentiful. When the drug companies make their weak pills, it will cost $100 a pill.

9 posted on 06/06/2005 9:15:45 AM PDT by Nachum
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To: Terabitten

I'm with on this one. If you're sick get a prescription.

You know, I could almost care less if pot were legalized.
Only morons smoke it anyway. Red eyes with the munchies and far out wisdom does not result in success as a general rule, unless you're some dealer. Smoke on dudes!


10 posted on 06/06/2005 9:17:02 AM PDT by poobear
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To: Nachum
Because when a sick person can grow their own it is cheap and plentiful. When the drug companies make their weak pills, it will cost $100 a pill.

That's what insurance is for.

11 posted on 06/06/2005 9:21:50 AM PDT by Terabitten (I have a duty as an AMERICAN, not a Republican. We can never put Party above Nation.)
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To: poobear
Why can't their doctors just prescribe THC pills or some sort of facsimile?

Because swallowing a horse pill when you are suffering from nausea isn't as much fun as it's cracked up to be, and because patients have fine control over the how much unprocessed marijuana they ingest, compared to being codwhalloped by enough cannanoid to choke a horse. As to "facsimile", why not dig up some testimony from someone this "medicine" has been fobbed off on? This drug was frogmarched thru the FDA tests at the behest of the DEA--it would never have been allowed on the market otherwise, it isn't spectacularly effective, and it is unduly dangerous compared to what it can accompish. It exists because the DEA refused to follow its own rules and reschedule marijuana as its own Judge-Advocate Young instructed it following a year of intensive judicial review of the scientifically verifiable effects of marijuana.

Are you not fascinated by the logic behind unprocessed marijuana (whose physiological effects have never been known to kill anyone) being a schedule 1 drug, of no possible redeeming medical value, whereas marinol (which actually does kill patients) can be had by prescription?

12 posted on 06/06/2005 9:23:41 AM PDT by donh
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Comment #13 Removed by Moderator

To: Nachum
This whole business of making marijuana illegal is idiotic.

This whole business of the Feds controlling marijuana is idiotic. Can anyone tell me how, for example, someone growing pot in Santa Cruz, California for use (or sale) in Santa Cruz, California is a concern for the Federal government. To see the idiocy, forget that it's marijuna and pretend it's strawberries.

Oh, I remember why my analogy doesn't work. We don't need to protect our white women from negro jazz musicians hopped up on strawberries.
/S

14 posted on 06/06/2005 9:26:49 AM PDT by atomic_dog
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To: Terabitten
That's what insurance is for.

Here in Oregon, which is a fairly typical state, virtually all indigent patients who die of cancer, under circumstances where records of any sort are kept, do so without the aid of any painkiller of any sort. You must be so incredibly proud of your ability to withhold cheap street drugs from these awful malfactors.

15 posted on 06/06/2005 9:30:32 AM PDT by donh
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To: donh
"Are you not fascinated by the logic behind unprocessed marijuana (whose physiological effects have never been known to kill anyone) being a schedule 1 drug, of no possible redeeming medical value, whereas marinol (which actually does kill patients) can be had by prescription?"

I am quite fascinated by it actually. I would like it legalized. I have no problem with that. As far a horse pill with nausea, no that won't work. Back in the seventies, my old college PDR had several forms of the drug in pill form and capsules. Why not make a form that could dissolve underneath your tongue so you don't have to swallow?

When they demonized all forms of these drugs, me thinks they forgot about the benefits that would be lost to many patients. My 2 cents.
16 posted on 06/06/2005 9:33:36 AM PDT by poobear
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To: poobear
From what I've heard, the potency of this medical marijuana is pretty low anyway.

Huh, and yet the drug warriors would have you believe that the newest marijuana is so genetically enhanced it can stun a charging buffalo.

When you smoke or ingest marijuana, you have fine control over your dosage, so it doesn't in the least matter how strong or weak marijuana is. You also are ingesting a large spectrum of cannabanoids, vs. the one most aggressive and unpleasant cannabanoid that anyone was willing to pay the billion bucks to push through the FDA.

17 posted on 06/06/2005 9:38:32 AM PDT by donh
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To: poobear
Only morons smoke it anyway. Red eyes with the munchies and far out wisdom does not result in success as a general rule, unless you're some dealer. Smoke on dudes!

As opposed to all those geniuses who get drunk and stupid on alcohol!

If docs can prescribe Oxycontin for pain, why not pot? Which would be a preferable long term addiction to have? The physical addiction of Oxycontin, or the psychological addiction of marijuana? I'd rather be addicted to pot, thank you. And if some poor lady with cancer, or some guy with advanced glaucoma has to stay pleasantly stoned the bejesus to relieve him/herself of pain, who cares?

18 posted on 06/06/2005 9:40:51 AM PDT by Electrowoman
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To: Terabitten

why do you folks have such problems understanding that if one is puking...swallowing a pill does very little good. Try swallowing a pill (and keep it down) next time you are sick.


19 posted on 06/06/2005 9:41:57 AM PDT by KeepUSfree (WOSD = fascism pure and simple.)
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To: Tumbleweed_Connection
Watch for the states to pass new laws forbiding the use of state funds to enforce federal pot laws.

That's how it ended for booze.

20 posted on 06/06/2005 9:42:32 AM PDT by Dinsdale
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To: poobear
When they demonized all forms of these drugs, me thinks they forgot about the benefits that would be lost to many patients. My 2 cents.

That was in 1937, and they didn't forget. The AMA testified strongly against the criminalization of marijuana, which up until then, was about as common as aspirin is now in the pharmacy, and for much the same reason. When the vote came up in congress, the AMA testimony was not reported before the vote--just Anslinger's diarretic stream of made-up nonsense about how marijuana inspired minority citizens to rape white women.

21 posted on 06/06/2005 9:49:26 AM PDT by donh
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To: ClearCase_guy
"Absolutely true. To have ruled otherwise would be an example of the Court making (altering) federal law."

U.S. Constitution

Article III, Section 2

1. The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this constitution, the laws of the United States

From "Restoring the Lost Constitution,"

…judicial nullification was included within the original meaning of the “judicial power.” Throughout the duration of the Convention no one disputed the existence of a judicial power to nullify unconstitutional laws.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others (rights) retained by the people."

What constitution is Justice Stevens reading?

Is it not a right "retained by the people," of free people, to consume the chemical of their choice, in the quantity of their choce, for the reason of their choice?

Justice Stevens and the majority is so constitutionally incorrect it makes me want to puke.

Why do free people have to beg for their natural rights to be respected and not impugned by the three branches of their federal government that is explicitly prohibited from doing the same?

Does not a "written down" constitution mean anything?

No power of Congress, can usurp the Bill of Rights.

22 posted on 06/06/2005 9:52:31 AM PDT by tahiti
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To: Dinsdale
That's how it ended for booze.

Actually, the nail in the coffin for alcohol prohibition was the stream of testimony, before congress, of mothers who said something like this:

"Before alcohol prohibition, my children had to work very hard to get hold of beer and wine, distilled under federal guidelines, and sold under licensced control by legitimate businessmen who had a reputation to protect, and who could be sued. Under prohibition, my children can buy gin and vodka and rotgut that could easily blind them the first time they try it, from underage deputies of Al Capone, during recess.

Any of that seem vaguely similar to our current problems to you?

23 posted on 06/06/2005 9:57:14 AM PDT by donh
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To: donh

"...just Anslinger's diarretic stream of made-up nonsense about how marijuana inspired minority citizens to rape white women."

Another dark time in our society.


24 posted on 06/06/2005 9:58:38 AM PDT by poobear
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To: Electrowoman
The subject here is pot and the legalizing for medical use. If you look at my other posts you will see I am FOR legalizing it. As far as drug abuse goes, it ALL can be misused. Look, I smoked my fair share growing up. You see, that's the point, I grew up. I could see myself at a school meeting, recital or trying to do payroll bombed out of my gourd or drunk on my @ss, NOT!

Anyway, if they won't let these poor sick people smoke, then why not give them some form of the drug that could help them medically and not upset their stomach somehow. Powder form under the tongue perhaps?

If you are still using, fine. I'm not, that's all.
25 posted on 06/06/2005 9:58:51 AM PDT by poobear
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To: atomic_dog

Don't know about strawberries, but the federal government can and does regulate homegrown personal use wheat and it was upheld by the Roosevelt Supreme Court as affecting interstate commerce because you wouldn't be buying the name brand at the grocery.

Here is the flaw of logic: The Constitution gave Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce, not things that affect interstate commerce. In theory, Congress could tell you which brand of wheat to buy at the store because your personal choice affects interstate commerce. Welcome to democracy. All your "rights" are subject to vote.


26 posted on 06/06/2005 10:00:32 AM PDT by UnbelievingScumOnTheOtherSide (Give Them Liberty Or Give Them Death! - Islam Delenda Est! - Rumble thee forth...)
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Comment #27 Removed by Moderator

To: sayitaintso

They should make it so strong that just holding it between your fingers would get you high. ;D!


28 posted on 06/06/2005 10:03:11 AM PDT by poobear
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To: Nachum
Kind of reminds me of prohibition.

Except that "Prohibition", the War on Alcohol, required a Constitutional Amendment.

Why doesn't the War on Other Drugs require a Constitutional Amendment?

29 posted on 06/06/2005 10:05:01 AM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: Nachum
"This whole business of making marijuana illegal is idiotic. Anyone who wants it can get it. It is grown everywhere for free. Doctors are already prescribing it for use."

It would appear that the Supreme Court has ruled and your contrarian/loserdopian point[s] are moot.

Bout friggin time!

30 posted on 06/06/2005 10:06:04 AM PDT by VaBthang4 ("He Who Watches Over Israel Will Neither Slumber Nor Sleep")
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To: Terabitten
That's what insurance is for.

Where does the insurance money come from?

From higher premiums.

You might as well say "That's what Welfare/Medicare/Medicaid/s for."

31 posted on 06/06/2005 10:06:57 AM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: Terabitten
That's what insurance is for.

Insurance is part of the problem with the current health care system. People are insulated from costs and thus make poor choices. We need to move from the health care system to a market based system.

http://www.hsainsider.com

32 posted on 06/06/2005 10:07:32 AM PDT by Sinner6 (www.digital-misfits.com)
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Comment #33 Removed by Moderator

To: Tumbleweed_Connection
"This is probably not going to change a lot for individual medical marijuana patients," he said.

One thing will change. They won't fall for registering with the gov't, or comply with centrlized distribution methods.

34 posted on 06/06/2005 10:09:23 AM PDT by Wolfie
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To: VaBthang4
The Supreme Court has ruled...

The Supreme Court also ruled, once upon a time, that it was acceptable for one man to own another as property.

35 posted on 06/06/2005 10:09:24 AM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: Tumbleweed_Connection
"O'Connor said she would have opposed California's medical marijuana law if she were a voter or a legislator. But she said the court was overreaching to endorse 'making it a federal crime to grow small amounts of marijuana in one's own home for one's own medicinal use.'"

Rush was talking about this today. He said the majority opinion grounded the federal government's authority to trump state law regarding medical marijuana on an FDR-era Supreme Court decision that made a joke of the Constitution's commerce clause. Trashing the constitution by purposefully misinterpreting it in that way allowed many of FDR's socialist programs to go forth that would have otherwise been struck down as unconstitutional. Those who wish to relieve themselves of constitutional restrictions have two options: 1) amend it, or 2) avoid it by mangled interpretations. Because option 1 is laborious and uncertain, federal centralizers almost always choose option 2. That is what happened in this case (according to the facts I heard presented by Rush): no interstate commerce was involved, but the majority relied on the circa-1942 FDR court misinterpretation to once again achieve federal hegemony. O'Connor said she would have opposed the state law if she were a state voter or state legislator. I think I might also. But the federal government had no constitutional authority in this intrastate matter. Alas for the states and the constitutional separation of powers between the states and the D.C. government. Sorry to see Scalia not opposed to this form of constitution trampling.
36 posted on 06/06/2005 10:10:20 AM PDT by reelfoot
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To: UnbelievingScumOnTheOtherSide

Yet more New Deal bs


37 posted on 06/06/2005 10:10:39 AM PDT by Sinner6 (www.digital-misfits.com)
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To: DuncanWaring; Wolfie; jmc813
Why doesn't the War on Other Drugs require a Constitutional Amendment?

Interstate Commerce Clause.

Anyone just hear Rush talking about the ICC aspect of the medipot decision? He's a little late to the game ... we libertarians have been crying in the wilderness about Commerce Clause abuses by the feds for years.

I wonder why Rush is on board now, and he mentioned nothing about "dope-smoking, maggot-infested FM types" ... :^)

38 posted on 06/06/2005 10:11:07 AM PDT by bassmaner (Let's take the word "liberal" back from the commies!!)
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To: bassmaner

Perhaps when you've felt the hot breath of Leviathan on your own neck, its just not fun anymore.


39 posted on 06/06/2005 10:12:40 AM PDT by Wolfie
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Comment #40 Removed by Moderator

To: Terabitten

Because everyone has health insurance, right?


41 posted on 06/06/2005 10:14:06 AM PDT by Quick1
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To: bassmaner

The Interstate Commerce Clause was in effect during the War On Alcohol. Why did the War on Alcohol require a Constitutional Amendment?


42 posted on 06/06/2005 10:14:17 AM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: muawiyah

Congress decided against prayer in public schools. Interesting...


43 posted on 06/06/2005 10:14:54 AM PDT by Tumbleweed_Connection (http://hour9.blogspot.com/)
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To: sayitaintso
I think just talking about it gets prohibitionists high! ;p

NO DOUBT!

I can't believe I been sitting here for the last hour trying to remember the last time I smoked. Oh well, that's why quite in the first place. ;D!
44 posted on 06/06/2005 10:14:59 AM PDT by poobear
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To: DuncanWaring
"The Supreme Court also ruled, once upon a time, that it was acceptable for one man to own another as property."

Well, hold your breath...maybe they'll change their mind[s] sometime in the next 50 years. ROTFLOL!!!!


'MOOT' I SAY!!!

I gleefully sing to all of my contrarian/loserdopian wannaFRes...

Nah Nah Nah Naah...Nah Nah Nah Naah...Hey'eeyy Goodbye!!

45 posted on 06/06/2005 10:15:39 AM PDT by VaBthang4 ("He Who Watches Over Israel Will Neither Slumber Nor Sleep")
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To: donh
I'm going to have to disagree.

The feds would have gladly left 'boozers' to die and go blind. After all they are EVIL.

NY state was the first to ban spending any state money enforcing prohibition.

Simple fact is it's generational. The brainwashing success rate fell drastically for anybody born after 1950-1960. Of course there are exceptions.

46 posted on 06/06/2005 10:16:26 AM PDT by Dinsdale
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To: sayitaintso
"So you side with the majority 'liberal' judges on this ruling?"

No...I came to my position first...therefore they sided with me. :o)

47 posted on 06/06/2005 10:17:04 AM PDT by VaBthang4 ("He Who Watches Over Israel Will Neither Slumber Nor Sleep")
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To: VaBthang4

Supreme Court has ruled the New Deal is good for you.
Supreme Court has ruled your homegrown wheat is interstate commerce.
Supreme Court has ruled that seperate but equal is equal.
Supreme Court has ruled that Free Speech is unimportant, CFR.
Supreme Court has ruled that the Supreme Court is Supreme.


48 posted on 06/06/2005 10:17:29 AM PDT by Sinner6 (www.digital-misfits.com)
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To: Tumbleweed_Connection

Now there's an unbiased headline. *LOL*


49 posted on 06/06/2005 10:18:01 AM PDT by k2blader ("A kingdom of conscience ... That is what lies at the end of Crusade.")
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To: VaBthang4
It would appear that the Supreme Court has ruled and your contrarian/loserdopian point[s] are moot.

A Drug Warrior TROLL has decided to join this thread. Imagine that ...

Guess what, pal, this is going to open a lot of eyes to just how stupid and counterproductive federal MJ prohibition is, and people will in the next few years vote out politicians who don't support a change to the federal laws. And bootlicking a$$holes like YOU who think the same way as the commie left with regard to your precious Drug War will be left out in the cold.

My fondest wish for you is that YOUR SON or someone else close to you gets busted for pot possession and spends time in jail. Maybe you'll change your tune then - in the meantime, you can go to hell.

50 posted on 06/06/2005 10:19:42 AM PDT by bassmaner (Let's take the word "liberal" back from the commies!!)
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