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Hearing on Historic Medical Marijuana Patients' Lawsuit Tuesday, Dec. 17

DECEMBER 16, 2002

In an historic hearing set for Dec. 17, two medical marijuana patients and their caregivers will ask U.S. District Court Judge Martin J. Jenkins for protection from the federal government.

Patients Angel McClary Raich and Diane Monson, along with the two caregivers who grow Angel's medical marijuana, sued U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and Drug Enforcement Administration chief Asa Hutchinson Oct. 9, charging that federal raids on medical marijuana patients and providers whose activities occur entirely within California are unconstitutional and pose a direct threat to the lives and health of McClary Raich and Monson. In Tuesday's hearing, they will ask Judge Jenkins for a preliminary injunction barring the federal government from taking any action to prevent them from growing or using medical marijuana.

"The government, in its brief, has not contested the central fact of this case: that marijuana -- or cannabis, as it is more properly known -- provides these patients relief from severe, chronic pain and other disabling and even life-threatening symptoms, relief that no other medicine provides," noted Robert Raich, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs. "Any action by the DEA to take away their medicine would subject these two women to extreme suffering and, in the case of Angel, a serious risk of death. The injunction we are seeking will protect their lives and health while the court considers the serious constitutional issues raised by this case," said the other attorney, David Michael. The suit argues that the Constitution's Commerce Clause and Fifth, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments, along with the medical necessity doctrine, bar federal interference with state-sanctioned medical cannabis activities that do not cross state lines.

"This is a potentially landmark case," said Bruce Mirken, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project, based in Washington, D.C. "The federal government has overstepped its constitutional authority in attacking medical marijuana patients whose activities never cross state lines. These two brave women deserve the protection they seek, and one can only hope the court will have the courage to give it to them."

WHAT:  Hearing on injunction to protect medical marijuana patients
WHO:  Plaintiffs Diane Monson and Angel McClary Raich and attorneys representing both sides
WHERE:  San Francisco Federal Building, 450 Golden Gate Ave., Courtroom 11, 19th floor
WHEN:  Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2002, 9:30 a.m. PST

With more than 10,000 members nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the nation.

© Copyright 2002, MMP