Ninth Circuit Rules Against Raich
By Jordan Smith,
3:10PM, Fri. Mar. 23, 2007
Famed medi-pot user and activist Angel Raich – whose quest to be free from fed narco harassment for using medi-mari in compliance with California state law has gone all the way to the Supreme Court and back – was dealt a legal blow March 14, when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that Raich could still face federal pot charges, even though Raich’s doctors deem medi-pot necessary to keep her alive. Back in 2005, the Supremes caught a mess of reefer madness, and ruled against Raich, and against state rights, affirming the feds’ continued ability to bust state-sanctioned medi-pot use by seriously ill people in their quest to uphold federal pot prohibition. (Then Chief Justice William Rehnquist, retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Justice Clarence Thomas dissented from the majority opinion, which rather shockingly found an ally in Justice Antonin Scalia, generally a vociferous supporter of state’s rights issues.) After losing that case Raich headed back to federal court, renewing her argument that the feds’ complete prohibition on pot was a violation of her fundamental right to life, protected by the Due Process clause of the Fifth Amendment.
Although the appeal court rejected her argument, the court did suggest that if Raich were prosecuted she could defend her use as medically necessary. (Generally, the doctrine of “necessity” posits that when a person is faced with the choice of obeying a law or saving his own life, he may not be punished for choosing the latter.) Of course, in order to assert this defense, Raich must first be busted and face prosecution for her medi-pot use, which is exactly what she has been trying to avoid.