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OCTOBER 6, 2003
11:13 AM
CONTACT: Marijuana Policy Project
Bruce Mirken 415-668-6403
Federal Appeals Court To Hear Medical Marijuana Suit Tuesday Oct. 7
SAN FRANCISCO - October 6 - On Tuesday, Oct. 7, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in the lawsuit brought against U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and the Drug Enforcement Administration by medical marijuana patients Angel McClary Raich and Diane Monson and two caregivers. The suit seeks to bar the federal government from raiding or arresting the plaintiffs for growing or possessing medical marijuana.

The suit -- supported by friend-of-the-court briefs from the State of California, the California Medical Association, the California Nurses Association, and the Marijuana Policy Project, among others -- contends that under the U.S. Constitution's Commerce Clause and 5th, 9th, and 10th Amendments, the federal government has no right to interfere with activities of patients and their caregivers conducted entirely within the state of California. In March, U.S. District Judge Martin J. Jenkins declined to issue a preliminary injunction on behalf of the plaintiffs.

"The government still has not contested the fact that medical marijuana -- or cannabis, as it is properly known -- provides these patients relief from chronic pain and other disabling, even life- threatening symptoms," said Robert Raich, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs.

"This case differs from other medical cannabis cases now pending in court," said Raich. "It involves only individual patients and caregivers. There is no distribution -- indeed no commercial activity whatsoever -- at issue in the litigation."

WHAT: Hearing before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

WHO: Plaintiffs Angel McClary Raich and Diane Monson and attorneys representing both sides

WHERE: 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, 95 Seventh St., Courtroom 3 (3rd floor), San Francisco

TIME: 9:00 a.m.

The plaintiffs and their attorneys will be available for interviews after the hearing. Major pleadings in the case are available at


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