Keep up with the news by installing RT’s extension for . Never miss a story with this clean and simple app that delivers the latest headlines to you.

 

Supreme Court sides with AZ patient whose marijuana was taken by police

Published time: April 01, 2014 01:37
 AFP Photo / Kevork Djansezian

AFP Photo / Kevork Djansezian

The US Supreme Court will not overturn a series of Arizona court rulings which compelled police in Yuma County to return marijuana they confiscated from a citizen who was allowed to have cannabis in another state for medicinal purposes.

Valerie Okun, a California resident with a medical marijuana prescription in that state, was stopped by Border Patrol agents at a checkpoint in Arizona in 2011. Finding cannabis in Okun’s car, the police confiscated the drug, hashish and drug paraphernalia from her car. She was charged with marijuana possession crimes, although the charges were dropped when she proved in court that she used the drug as medication.

A number of Arizona courts ruled that the Yuma County police should return Okun’s marijuana, although the police argued that since the drug is still technically illegal under federal law it would be a crime to return the weed in question. They consistently refused, asserting that Arizona’s own medicinal marijuana law – which permits people with authorizations from out of state to keep their cannabis in Arizona – is invalidated by the federal statute.

That argument lasted until Monday, when the US Supreme Court refused to review a January ruling by the Arizona Court of Appeals.

The case is especially significant because it serves as a precedent for the 43,000 medical marijuana users that populate Arizona, as well as the hundreds of caregivers who work with the drug every day.

Sheila Polk, a Yavapai County attorney who serves on the Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys Advisory Council, told the Arizona Capitol Times that the Supreme Court missed a chance to clear up the lingering confusion about marijuana laws in the US.

Despite it quickly gaining acceptance in many states throughout the country, including full legalization in Colorado and Washington, marijuana is still listed as a Schedule I drug. This federal government listing declares that the drug has “no currently accepted medical use,” that it has a high potential for abuse, and equates cannabis with substances including heroin and cocaine.

To me, that is the elephant in the room,” Polk said.

That legal contradiction, despite a growing sentiment towards acceptance of marijuana’s medicinal legitimacy, provides justification has opened the door to cases such as Okun’s.

Since marijuana is listed as a Schedule I drug the federal government has long prohibited formal studies that could determine ways it could better serve the more than one million Americans who currently rely on the drug for treatment. Earlier this month the Department of Health and Human Services approved a proposal from University of Arizona scientists who have hoped to buy marijuana from the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, and then identify how cannabis can be used to ease symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

MAPS has been working for over 22 years to start marijuana drug development research, and this is the first time we’ve been granted permission to purchase marijuana from [the National Institute on Drug abuse],” they said in a statement to the Associated Press.

In another case, a judge in Arizona’s Maricopa County Superior Court ruled that marijuana extract is legal for medical use. The extract - which is taken from marijuana then used to make marijuana soda, candy, and other easy methods of ingestion – is often used by families who treat their children with cannabis. American Civil Liberties Union staff attorney Emma Andersson said Jennifer and Jacob Welton, whose son Zander relies on marijuana extract, can now rest easy.

Maricopa County had placed a cruel obstacle between Zander and the medicine that had drastically reduced his seizures,” she wrote on the ACLU’s website. “Now, thanks to this ruling, the county can no longer interfere with sick patients’ access to marijuana in the form that best suits their medical needs. This is precisely what Arizonans intend when they voted for the medical marijuana ballot initiative: compassion over criminalization.”

Comments (17)

 

Bob 28.04.2014 06:01

"Police have become a useless appendage, doing more to violate our Rights than to protect them."

This is why the future will invent robots to be police with an app that follows the law and cant make laws.

 

michael nickalous 02.04.2014 03:05

too many little dictators in america power hungry pigs that need to go to slaughter.

 

oddfoxx 01.04.2014 23:51

I`m beginning to wonder more and more about just how many of these federal "appendages&quo t; we actually need.Aside from actually running the country and civil defense(and by civil defense,I mean actually defending our country,not running all over the globe bombing random civilians) it would seem to me that a very small percentage of the govt. is needed. Just my humble opinion.

View all comments (17)
Add comment

Authorization required for adding comments

Register or

Name

Password

Show password

Register

or Register

Request a new password

Send

or Register

To complete a registration check
your Email:

OK

or Register

A password has been sent to your email address

Edit profile

X

Name

New password

Retype new password

Current password

Save

Cancel

Follow us

Follow us