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Supreme Court Nixes Medical Marijuana

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Jeff Jones, executive director and co-founder of the Oakland co-op, tells WebMD, "We feel that the ruling is heavy handed and misguided and is not in tune with the current feeling of the population of America. It will probably ignite a change in this country which will bring down the medical cannabis law."

Chuck Thomas, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, tells WebMD, "patients will continue to be allowed to grow and use their own medical marijuana at home and be protected under those state laws." The marijuana project advocates the decriminalization of marijuana.

According to Thomas, state and local officials, not federal officials, make 99% of all marijuana arrests. "No matter what the federal government wants to do, they don't have the resources or the mandate to go into the states and start sniffing around under people's doors."

Thomas claims, "this ruling is really only going to affect anyone who is large scale enough to fall on the federal government's radar screen, which means medical marijuana distribution centers. It will be an inconvenience for patients to have to learn how to grow their own medical marijuana instead of going to their local distribution center to get it. But once they get their marijuana, then they don't need to worry about being arrested."

Marijuana advocates are worried that the high court's ruling may set back movements by additional states to decriminalize medical marijuana use. Jones says that the decision "might set back some of those efforts." According to Thomas, "we need to make sure that state legislatures don't mistakenly think that the Supreme Court ruling prevents them from passing these favorable medical marijuana laws."

Medical marijuana has gained passionate support among those who have gained relief from various ailments through the drug.

But definitive proof that pot has medical value has been elusive. In 1999, the Institute of Medicine found that medical marijuana had potential value as a treatment for pain, nausea, and wasting associated with HIV, but that smoked pot increased the risk for cancer.

A synthetic marijuana pill, Marinol, is available legally with a doctor's prescription. But marijuana advocates have complained that it is less effective than the smoked leaf.

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