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Medical Marijuana Activist Drops Lawsuit

na use neither crosses state lines nor involves money changing hands.

The U.S. Supreme Court heard the case in November 2004 and in June 2005 ruled 6-3 to uphold the federal ban, finding that even marijuana grown in back yards for personal medical use can affect or contribute to the illegal interstate market for marijuana and so is within Congress' constitutional reach.

But the 9th Circuit panel and the Supreme Court at that point had dealt only with the Commerce Clause argument, not other constitutional issues. Monson dropped out, but Raich pressed on as the case returned to the 9th Circuit for those other arguments.

Though clearly sympathetic to Raich's medical plight, a three-judge 9th Circuit panel concluded in March that medical necessity doesn't shield medical-marijuana users from federal prosecution, and that medical marijuana use isn't a fundamental right protected by the Constitution's guarantee of due process of law.

Raich could've asked that the March decision be reviewed by a larger, 11-judge 9th Circuit panel; or that it be reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court; or that it return to U.S. District Judge Martin Jenkins of San Francisco for a few unresolved issues.

But Robert Raich, her ex-husband and one of her attorneys, said Thursday the legal avenues left to them "did not look fruitful. It's a sorry commentary that right now we simply cannot depend on the courts to uphold fundamental rights, even the right to life."

Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C., said Congress is where Raich is needed most, as the House this summer probably will take up - for the fifth consecutive year - a bill to forbid federal prosecution of patients in the 12 states with medical marijuana-laws.


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