Journal of the California Cannabis Research Medical
An Unusual Apology
"The uncontradicted evidence in the record indicated that
marijuana did provide important therapeutic benefits." --John
"Apology: something said or written in defense
or justification of what appears to others to be wrong."
New international Dictionary, 2nd Edition
U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has issued an apology
for the majority opinion he wrote in the Raich case. Addressing
the Clark County, Nevada, Bar Association August 18. Stevens acknowledged
that his votes in four cases decided last session would cause real
harm to large groups of people. "In each case I was convinced that
the law compelled a result that I would have opposed if I were a legislator,"
"...The fourth case in which I was unhappy about the consequences
of an opinion I authored presented the question owhether the use of
locally grown marijuana for medicinal purposes pursuant to the advice
of a competent physician may be punished as a federal crime.
The uncontradicted evidence in the record indicated that marijuana
did provide important therapeutic benefits to the two petitioners,
that no other medicine was effective, and that without access to that
drug one of the petitioners may not survive.
"Moreover, their cultivation and use of marijuana for health reasons
was perfectly lawful as a matter of California law. I have no hesitation
in telling you that I agree with the policy choice made by the millions
of California voters, as well as the voters in at least nine other
States (including Nevada), that such use of the drug should be permitted,
and that I disagree with executive decisions to invoke criminal sanctions
to punish such use.
"Moreover, as I noted in a footnote to our opinion, Judge Kozenski
has chronicled medical studies that cast serious doubt on Congress'
assessment that marijuana has no accepted medical uses.
"Nevertheless, those policy preferences obviously could not play any
part in the analysis of the constitutional issue that the case raised.
Unless we were to revert to a narrow interpretation of Congress' power
to regulate commerce among States that has been consistently rejected
since the Great Depression of the 1930s, in my judgement our duty to
uphold the application of the federal statute was pellucidly clear."