Supremes refuse to force doctors to shut up.

A picture named rx.gif The big news around today is the fact that the Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that affected whether doctors could talk to their patients about marijuana.
The quick synopsis: The government wanted to gag doctors and punish them if they even mentioned marijuana to patients. The 9th Circuit correctly ruled that the government has no right to prevent doctors from discussing medical options. The government appealed and now the Supreme Court has agreed with the Circuit Court by refusing to hear the case. So doctors will be able to talk to patients about medical pot. See more coverage at TalkLeft.
One problem with the news coverage today. The AP story that has been used by all the major media outlets starts out:

The Supreme Court cleared the way Tuesday for state laws allowing ill patients to smoke marijuana if a doctor recommends it.

That is a bit deceptive. It’s true that if the Supremes had agreed to hear the case, and had sided with the government, it would be a severe blow to the future of medical marijuana. However, this victory does not clear the way for medical marijuana use. Federal laws still hold, allowing the DEA to hassle medical marijuana patients and providers, and even go after doctors if they move beyond talking and actually help patients get marijuana.
In a related story (and a follow-up to my speculation about Arnold yesterday):

Tomorrow morning at 10:00 am [Wednesday, October 15],
medical marijuana patients and their supporters will be at California
Governor-Elect Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Santa Monica office. After a press
conference out front, they will ask him to use his meeting with President
Bush later this week to help put an end to the federal attacks on patients
and doctors.

Count on Americans for Safe Access to make sure the Governator doesn’t forget his medical marijuana campaign promise! If you’re in the area, why not stop by the Santa Monica office tomorrow.

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