OCTOBER 27, 1999, Associated Press

Feds Want Marijuana Ruling Reviewed

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The Justice Department on Wednesday asked a federal appeals court to reconsider a ruling that could allow seriously ill patients to use marijuana without being prosecuted.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last month told a federal judge to rethink his order that closed down some Northern California medical marijuana clubs, and consider an exemption for patients who face imminent harm without the drug and have no effective legal alternative.
Federal prosecutors have repeatedly argued that Congress has declared pot to be among the most dangerous controlled substances and without a medical purpose - invalidating the medical-necessity argument the court said should be considered.
In its ruling last month, the appeals court said the government has offered nothing to contradict ``evidence that cannabis is the only effective treatment for a large group of seriously ill individuals.''
If the ruling stands, it would affect California and four other states in the 9th Circuit - Arizona, Oregon, Washington and Alaska - that have laws protecting medical marijuana users against state prosecution.