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Doctors may recommend marijuana

Discussion in 'Medical Marijuana Usage and Applications' started by RMJL, Oct 16, 2003.

  1. Doctors may recommend marijuana
    Supreme Court says government shouldn't punish physicians who suggest smoking pot medicinally

    Wednesday, October 15, 2003
    Lyle Denniston
    THE BOSTON GLOBE




    WASHINGTON - In a major legal breakthrough for advocates of marijuana as medicine, the Supreme Court rebuffed an effort by the federal government to stop doctors from suggesting that treatment option to their patients.
    The justices left intact a federal appeals court ruling that doctors have a constitutional right to recommend marijuana, as long as they do not help their patients violate federal law in obtaining the illegal drug.
    The lower court blocked the Drug Enforcement Administration from taking away a doctor's federal license to prescribe drugs as a penalty for proposing that a patient smoke marijuana. The federal agency also was prohibited from starting an investigation of a doctor that could lead to loss of license.
    Dr. Marcus Conant, the San Francisco physician who led the challenge to the DEA, said the court's action "means that I can do my job again and have real conversations with my patients about medical marijuana as part of their treatment options."
    The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, led by the nation's "drug czar," John P. Walters, said in a statement that the court order dealt only with doctor-patient relationships, "not the efficacy of smoked marijuana as medicine." The office added that the "cultivation and trafficking of marijuana remains a federal offense."
    The Justice Department declined to comment.
    The movement to promote marijuana as a medicine has been frustrated for years by the federal government's refusal to relax its controls on that drug as an illegal substance. Marijuana has been on the most-restricted list of illegal drugs since the list was approved by Congress in 1970, and the government has denied repeated requests to reclassify it.
    Throughout the debate about whether marijuana has any value as a medicine, the government has insisted that it has no accepted medical uses.
    The movement to promote the drug as a form of medical treatment began to gather momentum in 1996, when California voters adopted a ballot measure that made it legal under state law for patients to grow and possess marijuana for medical use after a doctor specifically recommended it.
    Soon, other states, not including Ohio, began adopting similar measures. Now, eight states besides California have laws that decriminalize marijuana use in medical care. Those state laws have not affected the illegality of marijuana under federal law.
    The spread of that movement prompted a sharp response by the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration has continued that approach. The key tactic has been to threaten doctors with loss of their DEAapproved licenses to prescribe federally controlled drugs.
    A group of doctors, patients and medical organizations sued the drug czar and the DEA in an attempt to free doctors to continue making recommendations that patients smoke marijuana.
    A federal judge, while finding that the government allows doctors to talk about the pros and cons of marijuana as a medicine, ruled that it violated the First Amendment to take action against doctors when they recommend its use.
    The 9 th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld the judge's order against revoking a doctor's license with the DEA and launching investigations that could result in that penalty. The appeals court rejected the government argument that a doctor's recommendation to smoke marijuana is the same as a prescription.
    If a patient's doctor suggests marijuana, the appeals court said, the patient might use that advice as a way to get into a federally controlled research program on the drug or use it as a way to lobby the government to change its policy.
    Nothing in the judge's order, the appeals court stressed, bars the government from prosecuting doctors who "aid and abet" their patients in the actual distribution and possession of marijuana.
     
  2. thats great news...its kinda sad it took so long though, right now theres one of the leading doctors on marijuana in california is in trial in front of the medical board and might lose his license. Hey is under investagation for malpractice but whats fucked up is not one of his paitents have ever complained about malpractice or bad treatment, only the dea has complained.... If this supreme court ruling happened a couple months earlier this doctor wouldnt be in this situation, instead he still might lose his license just cause he recommended marijuana to sick and dying people.
     
  3. This is a great start!

    BUT,

    So more or less, the Dr's can't prescribe MJ, they can only recommend it? Is that correct?

    It sounds like they are protecting the 'wealthy' doctors from the law, but not the patient. How long will it be before the patient has no fear from our government? Like I said though, this IS a great first step. And all great journeys start with just 1 step.
     
  4. to answer your question it depends on what state you live in. Like in california you cant prescribe marijuana but you can recomonend it and the doctor will fill sign some paperwork for you and you take that paperwork to one of the canibus clubs out here and then they will approve or disapprove you, if they approve you then you are able to purchase weed directly from them. Now some states dont have medical weed legal yet so even if a doctor does recomend the paitent dosent really have anywhere to go to get weed.

    In other words this dosent really affect states that havent legalized marijuana too much, it mainly effects the states that have allready legalized medical marijuana and allready have doctors recomonending weed to sick people, now these doctors dont have to be in fear of losing their license and they can go on with jobs and help out sick people.


    So a example of how this affects medical weed smokers is say in texas it will really have no effect but say in a state like california more doctors now will probally be willing to start recomending marijuana now that they know they cant lose their jobs over it, and with more doctors to go see now sick people will have easier access to getting the medicine they need.
     

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