Medical Marijuana

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate August 2001

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Brian White Mrs. Perri Lampe Introduction to American National Politics 14 November 2001 Medical Marijuana Heading: U.S. vs. Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative and Jeffrey Jones.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Monday, May 14,2001.

Facts: Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative violated the Controlled Substances Act in distributing marijuana. The District Court found the accused guilty. After the Cooperative continued to distribute to people it was placed in contempt and its defense that the distributions were essential medically were rejected. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said that medical necessity is a legally recognizable defense. However, the Supreme Court held up the decision of the District Court. Marijuana is classified as a schedule I controlled substance, which says there is only one exception to the Act""government approved research.

Issue: Whether federal law should allow distribution and possession of marijuana if it is proven a medical necessity, though it violates the Controlled Substances Act.

Decision: The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative was in violation of the federal law, regardless of its defense of medical necessity. Due to the fact that the Controlled Substance Act specifically states the only exception for the use of marijuana is for government research the Cooperative is unable to succeed in their claim that medical necessity is an exception. The court declared that Congress examined the issue and came to the conclusion that smoking marijuana holds no medical value. As a result of this statement, Cooperative cannot avoid the ruling of the court to shut down by again arguing it was fulfilling a medical need. Justice Breyer omitted himself from the case since his brother made the first ruling to close down the buyers' cooperative at the lower level.