Court Cases - 2003



Below are some major court decisions and briefs that pertain to medical marijuana.

  1. Conant v. Walters
  2. Raich & Monson v. Ashcroft & Hutchinson
  3. U.S.A. v. Oakland CBC
  4. Seeley v. State of Washington

I. Conant v. Walters - Case No. 00-17222
First filed Jan. 14 1997 [as Conant v. McCaffrey], Case No. C97-0139;
Honorable William H. Alsup presiding
. DOCUMENT DATE FILED DESCRIPTION
A. U.S. Supreme Court
Conant v. Walters
2003
Oct. 14
"The Supreme Court rejected an appeal" of the 9th Circuit Courts decision [IB., below] in Conant v. Walters, turning down "the Bush administration's request to consider whether the federal government can punish doctors for recommending or perhaps even talking about the benefits of the drug [medical marijuana] to sick patients.

The Supreme Court's refusal to hear the appeal keeps the permanent injunction in place. Filings in the Supreme Court by some California doctors and patients "compared doctor information on pot to physicians' advice on 'red wine to reduce the risk of heart disease, Vitamin C, acupuncture, or chicken soup.'"
Oct. 14, 2003 Associated Press

B. 3-0 Decision -
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Conant v. Walters
Click here to view in pdf format.
2002
Oct. 29
"This is an appeal [by the U.S. Government] from a permanent injunction entered to protect First Amendment rights [of physicians]. The order enjoins the Federal Government from either revoking a physician's license to prescribe controlled substances or conducting an investigation of a physician that might lead to such revocation, where the basis for the government's action is solely the physician's professional 'recommendation' of the use of medical marijuana."

The 3-0 decision kept the permanent injunction in place. An appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is pending.

C. Brief for Appellees in support of keeping the perm. injunction against the U.S. Govt. in place.
On appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
Conant v. Walters
Click here to view in pdf format.
2001
Sep. 25
"The plaintiff classes in this case include prominent and respected physicians and seriously ill patients suffering from cancer, AIDS, and other conditions, as well as a physicians' group. This lawsuit challenges the federal government's policy of forbidding any physician 'recommendation' of marijuana -- a term the government has construed to be so broad as to censor any meaningful discussion of marijuana between California physicians and patients."
D. Brief of Amici American Public Health Association -
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Conant v. Walters
Click here to view in pdf format.
2001
Sep. 25
"Amici Curiae are highly respected health care and medical organizations, including the American Public Health Association, the California Nurses Association, and the Lymphoma Foundation of America, and four individuals who have found marijuana uniquely effective in treating their particular conditions and who, under a physician's supervision, are receiving federally supplied medical marijuana..."
E. Permanent Injunction -
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
Conant v. Walters
Click here to view in pdf format.
2000
Sep. 7
"Defendant [U.S.] Government was permanently enjoined from revoking a class-member physician's Drug Enforcement Agency's registration merely because the doctor recommended medical marijuana to a patient based on a sincere medical judgement and from initiating any investigation solely on that ground."
F. Preliminary Injunction -
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
Conant v. McCaffrey
Click here to view in pdf format.
1997
Apr. 30
"Order Granting Plaintiffs' Motions for Preliminary Injunction, Class Certification; Denying Defendants' Motion to Dismiss"
G. Plaintiff's Complaint -
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
Conant v. McCaffrey
Click here to view in pdf format.
1997
Jan. 14
"Class Action Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief - A federal class-action lawsuiton behalf of physicians who recommend and seriously ill patients who need medical marijuana."


 
II. Raich & Monson v. Ashcroft & Hutchinson
Case No. C 02-4872 EMC: U.S. Dist. Court, No. District of California
Initiated Oct. 9, 2002
. DOCUMENT DATE FILED DESCRIPTION
A. Filing - Defendants' Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction -
Raich & Monson v. Ashcroft & Hutchinson
Click here to view in pdf format.
2002
Dec. 10
"None of the arguments raised by the plaintiffs has merit. Governing Supreme Court and Ninth Circuit authority forecloses each of the plaintiff's contentions. The Ninth Circuit has squarely held that the Controlled Substances Act's prohibition on the distribution, manufacture, or possession of marijuana and other controlled substances 'is constitutional under the Commerce Clause,' and this conclusion necessarily disposes of the plaintiff's Tenth Amendment challenge, for 'if a power is delegated to Congress in the Constitution, the Tenth Amendment expressly disclaims any reservations of the power to the States.'"
B. Filing - Complaint for Declaratory Relief and for Preliminary and Permanent Injunctive Relief -
Raich & Monson v. Ashcroft & Hutchinson
Click here to view in pdf format.
2002
Oct. 9
"The Defendants are unconstitutionally exceeding their authority by embarking on a campaign of seizing or forfeiting privately-grown wholly intrastate medical cannabis from California patients and caregivers, arresting or prosecuting such patients and caregivers, mounting paramilitary raids against such patients and caregivers, harassing such patients and caregivers, and taking other civil or administrative actions against them."

 

 
III. USA v. Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative and Jeffrey Jones -
Case No. 02-16534; U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Case No. 00-151 in the Supreme Court of the U.S.
Case Nos. 98-16950, 98-17044 and 98-17137; U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Case No. No. C 98-00088 CRB in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
From an Order dated May 13, 1998
. DOCUMENT DATE FILED DESCRIPTION
A. Filings - Appellants' Opening Brief -
Appeal from Entry of Final Judgment by the U.S. District Court for the Northern Dist. of Calif.
USA v. Oakland CBC
Click here to view in pdf format.
2002
Nov. 18
"Whether the district court erred when, under the purported authority of the federal Controlled Substances Act, it enjoined Appellants' wholly intrastate distribution of medical cannabis, when that distribution was undertaken pursuant to state and local laws designed to protect the public health and welfare of California citizens..."

[Note: The U.S. Supreme Court ruling noted below was specifically concerned with the "medical necessity" defense issues. The court remanded the case back to the Ninth Circuit for resolution of other issues.]

B. 8-0 Decision -
In the Supreme Court of the United States
USA v. Oakland CBC
Click here to view in pdf format.
2001
May 14
"There is no medical necessity exception to the Controlled Substances Act's prohibition on manufacturing and distributing marijuana."
C. Oral Arguments -
In the Supreme Court of the United States
USA v. Oakland CBC
Click here to view in pdf format.
2001
Mar. 28
"Oral argument of Barbara D. Underwood, Esq. [Acting Solicitor General, Dept. of Justice, Washington, D.C.], on behalf of the Petitioner. Gerald F. Uelman, Esq. [Santa Clara, California], on behalf of the Respondents. Rebuttal argument of Barbara D. Underwood, Esq., on behalf of the Petitioner."
D. Filings -
In the Supreme Court of the United States
United States of America, PETITIONER; Brief for the Petitioner
USA v. Oakland CBC
Click here to view in pdf format.
2001
Jan.
Brief from the U.S. Government. "The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) makes it unlawful to 'manufacture, distribute, or dispense, or possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense' any controlled substance, '[e]xcept as authorized by [21 U.S.C. 801-904].' The CSA imposes criminal and civil penalties for violations of the Act, see 21 U.S.C. 841-863, and further gives district courts jurisdiction to enjoin violations of the Act. 21 U.S.C. 822(a)."
E. Filings -
In the Supreme Court of the United States
United States of America, PETITIONER; Reply Brief for the Petitioner
USA v. Oakland CBC
Click here to view in pdf format.
2000
Nov.
Reply Brief from the U.S. Government. "The Ninth Circuit has held that medical necessity is a 'legally cognizable defense' to a charge of distributing marijuana, a Schedule I controlled substance, in violation of the Controlled Substance Act (CSA), and that district courts have 'equitable discretion' to permit an organization to engage in the ongoing distribution of marijuana, wholly outside the Act's strict controls, to individuals claiming a medical need for the drug. Those unprecedented holdings are fundamentally wrong and warrant review."
F. Filings -
In the Supreme Court of the United States
United States of America, PETITIONER; On Petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
USA v. Oakland CBC
Click here to view in pdf format.
2000
July 17
"This interlocutory appeal involves a preliminary injunction entered at the United States' request, to stop the distribution of cannabis in the wake of California's initiative supporting the medical use of marijuana. The district court held that the distribution of marijuana by certain cannabis clubs and their agents, including appellant, Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative and Jeffrey Jones (collectively "OCBC"), likely violates the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 (the "Controlled Substances Act"), 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). See United States v. Cannabis Cultivators Club, 5 F.Supp.2d 1086, 1105 (N.D. Cal. 1998)."

 

 
IV. Ralph V. Seeley v. State of Washington -
Case No. 63534-0; The Supreme Court of the State of Washington
Decision Filed July 24, 1997; Oral Argument Date: Sep. 25, 1996
Appeal from Superior Court of Pierce County; Docket No: 94-2-11862-1; Filed: 11/13/95
. DOCUMENT DATE FILED DESCRIPTION
A. Filings - Majority Decision
Seeley v. State of Washington
8-1
1997
July 24
The Supreme Court of Washington rejected the use of marijuana as medicine. The decision reverses a declatory judgment handed down by Superior Court Judge Rosanne Buckner in October 1993 stating that a seriously ill patient's need to use medical marijuana overrides the state's interest in outlawing use of the drug.

"The rights of privacy and personal liberty do not establish a fundamental right to drug treatment free of government police power."

"The evidence presented by [Seeley] is insufficient to convince this court that it should interfere with the broad judicially recognized prerogative of the Legislation."

B. Filings - Minority Decision
Seeley v. State of Washington
1997
July 24
Dissent by Judge Richard Sanders, who cited precedents set in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey to establish the defendant's constitutional right to self medicate with marijuana.

"If the state cannot prohibit abortions consistent with due process, it can hardly constitutionally prohibit drug use as its interest to do so is arguably less important."

"From the perspective of one writhing in nausea on the tiled floor of an oncological recovery room, the State's justifications to withhold the blessings of relief are more sophomoric than substantive."

"When our rulers worry about our health, we should worry about our liberty."