Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Despite Sympathy for Medical Pot Users, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds Anti-Dispensary Laws

The bans on medical marijuana in the California cities of Irvine and Lake Forest, both located in Orange County, have been upheld by The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Opponents of the law challenged it on the grounds of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA classifies users of an illegal drug for an ailment as disabled and protected against discrimination. However, that protection only applies if the drug is taken under supervision by a licensed health care professional, or obtained by other uses authorized by law.

The court agreed that the law could be interpreted to cover medical marijuana users who use the drug with their doctor's approval — but it would undermine existing federal anti-drug laws.

The judges were sympathetic for the case of medical pot, but Judge Raymond Fisher in the majority opinion wrote, "for now, Congress has determined that, for purposes of federal law, marijuana is unacceptable for medical use."

In a dissenting opinion, Judge Marsha Berzon stated the ADA does show an intent to allow doctor-approved use of marijuana, but the anti-dispensary laws probably are not discriminatory.

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