California Attorney General Bill Lockyer sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno this week urging her to forego the filing of a petition to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals seeking a rehearing of the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Club case. The appellate decision, as it now stands, calls upon the District Court to reconsider its ruling against the assertion of a medical necessity defense in cases of medicinal use of marijuana.

Locker wrote, in part: "As you know, the voters in my state have endorsed the medicinal use of marijuana and the court's decision holding that a citizen may present evidence that the use of marijuana, under certain narrow conditions, may be a lawful exception to the federal drug laws is consistent with that expression of their will."

Robert Raich, lead counsel for the Oakland CBC, said, "The significance of this letter is that it represents a concrete action Bill Lockyer has taken in support of legal access to medical cannabis, and by writing in an attorney-general-to-attorney-general capacity, it might actually have a positive effect with the Clinton Administration."

Nathan Barankin, spokesman for Attorney General Lockyer, told The Week Online that while their office has no indication of how the letter will be received at Justice, they are doing all they can to resolve the federal/state dispute.

"The reality is that the voters of California passed an initiative which directly contradicts federal law," Barankin said. "Attorney General Lockyer is attempting to make the best of that untenable position. He is doing everything in his power to implement Proposition 215, and the 9th Circuit opinion, which is narrowly drawn, provides, in our opinion, the right sort of guidance on how to do that."

Read the 9th Circuit Court decision online -- the relevant portion is in the section entitled "Denial of the Motion to Modify."

-- END --
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Issue #112, 10/15/99 California Attorney General Urges Reno Not to Call for Rehearing of Medical Marijuana Case | GHB Closer to Schedule I Status | DPF Alert: Senator Session's Version of Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Bill Worse than Nothing; Public Action Needed | House Holds Hearing on Youth-Targeted Anti-Drug Ads | California Governor Misses the Point, Signs Watered Down Syringe Exchange Bill | Addicted AIDS Patient Kicked to Death by Vigilantes Following Community Anti-Drug Meeting | Harm Reduction in the Australian Capitol Territory: A Brief Conversation with Michael Moore | Jamaican Parliament Approves Commission to Look at Decriminalization of Marijuana | Hemp Embargo Continues | Public Comment Still Needed on Proposed Methadone Changes in US | Cato Conference Proceedings Online | Job Opportunity | Editorial: Just Another Front Page Drug Bust
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