Marijuana for medical needs: Smoke or not to smoke?

Several U.S. Supreme Court justices expressed doubts that states can let seriously ill patients ease their symptoms by using &to=http:// ' target=_blank>marijuana, a drug the federal government has designated as illegal.

The &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Bush Administration is appealing a lower court decision allowing two California women to use marijuana on their doctors' recommendation. The administration says the federal Controlled Substances Act, which lists marijuana among the most strictly controlled drugs such as cocaine and LSD, overrides laws in 10 states that permit medical use of marijuana.

There's no reason to believe "everybody is going to get it from a friend or from plants in the back yard," Justice David H. Souter told the lawyer for the two women Angel Raich and Diane Monson. "They're going to get it in the street. Why isn't that the sensible assumption?", reports Bloomberg.

The justices are deciding whether a federal law outlawing marijuana applies to two seriously ill California women whose doctors recommended cannabis for their pain. California is one of 10 states allowing medical use of marijuana, experts said.

At issue is whether the federal law, the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, amounts to an unconstitutional use of the U.S. Congress' power to regulate commerce among the states and does not apply to medical marijuana.

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