Tuesday, December 30, 2008
2 star rating
based on 2 reviews
Categories: Drugstores, Medical Centers [Edit]
233 Hwy 174
Colfax, CA 95713
Dispensary Address delivery service
City Sonoma County
Zip Code 95448
Phone Number (707) 481-8427
Website URL http://www.starbuds.net
S.F. police make second arrest in slaying outside pot club Chronicle Staff Report Tuesday, December 9, 2008
S.F. police make second arrest in slaying outside pot club
Chronicle Staff Report
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
(12-08) 16:17 PST SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco police have arrested a second suspect in connection with the slaying of a man in September outside a Mission District medical marijuana dispensary, authorities said today.
Julius Hughes, 24, was arrested Friday at his home in Brentwood, police said. He is accused in the slaying of Roshawn Holden, 23, who was shot to death the night of Sept. 14 as he left the Mr. Nice Guy cannabis club at Duboce Avenue and Valencia Street.
Court records show that Hughes has a history of drug- and weapons-related offenses.
On Sept. 23, police arrested Ijeoma Ogbuagu, 30, in connection with the slaying.
Police said Holden and a friend had just left the marijuana club when they were approached and ordered out of their car at gunpoint. After Holden was robbed, he ran away and was shot as he fled.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
The Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (Act) (Health & Saf. Code, § 11362.5, added by voter initiative in the November 1996 general election provides partial immunity for the possession and cultivation of marijuana to two groups of people: qualified medical marijuana patients and their primary caregivers.
Roger Mentch was arrested in 2003 and convicted in 2005 for possession and cultivation of marijuana for sale in Santa Cruz County. His conviction was overturned on appeal in October 2006, primarily because the appeals court believed the trial judge should not have instructed the jury Mentch was not authorized by the law to sell or distribute marijuana.
The California Supreme Court examined the appeal, and on November 24 held a person is not a "primary caregiver" under the Compassionate Use Act merely because that person is in charge of getting someone's medical marijuana. Giving someone care doesn't mean you're their "primary" caregiver.
A "primary caregiver" is defined in the Compassionate Use Act as "the individual who has consistently assumed responsibility for the housing, health, or safety of that person," The court went further, and unanimously held that not only does a primary caregiver under the Compassionate Use Act have to be what we might traditionally call a primary caregiver, but further held this relationship must also have been commenced at or before the provision of medical marijuana. The court stated: "[W]e conclude a defendant asserting primary caregiver status must prove at a minimum that he or she (1) consistently provided caregiving, (2) independent of any assistance in taking medical marijuana, (3) at or before the time he or she assumed responsibility for assisting with medical marijuana."
Some pertinent language from the Mentch decision is " a primary caregiver must establish he or she satisfies the responsibility clause based on evidence independent of the administration of medical marijuana. Under the Act, a primary caregiver relationship is a necessary antecedent, a predicate for being permitted under state law to possess or cultivate medical marijuana. The possession or cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes cannot serve as the basis for making lawful the possession or cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes; to conclude otherwise would rest the primary caregiver defense on an entirely circular footing."
News Hawk- BM www.rx215.com
Source: The Willits News
Author: Marc Komer
Contact: The Willits News
Copyright: 2008 The Willits News
Website:Self-Help Law: People v. Mentch Defines Marijuana Caregiver
Pot DEALER Choice Ends in Death
"THE POLICE USED A mini-dealer smoker female to target a medium dealer for a few pounts and they risk'd her life. What right did they have to risk her life for the investigation? Why didn't they Notify the AG like the video says? Why didn't they back out after the sudden changes? Then she was also buying a hand gun....huh with that much cash?? wow I know it doesn't make sense to me.. They claim she offered although they most likely gave her very little option.
Prime example - Never lay down or never roll over. Please patients, friends and community. Let's stop things like this, let's not be tempted by the laws "easy investigation tactics" - "
Read more here http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=5454035
California NORML Release - Dec 21, 2008 News: (1) California NORML agenda for 2009 targets changing federal law: http://www.canorml.org
California NORML Release - Dec 21, 2008 News: (1) California NORML agenda for 2009 targets changing federal law: http://www.canorml.org
California NORML Release - Dec 21, 2008
(1) California NORML agenda for 2009 targets changing federal law:
(2) California Police Chiefs Association called on the DEA to raid
medical marijuana facilities and undermine state law, according to a
letter submitted to the House Juciciary Committee.
(3) Warning: Marinol patients being tested for marijuana!
Cal NORML has recently heard increasing reports that Marinol
patients are being drug tested and denied employment for use of
marijuana. In particular, we have heard from legal Prop. 215
patients who were denied jobs despite presenting Marinol
prescriptions after being re-tested specifically for marijuana.
Until recently, Marinol and marijuana were indistinguishable on
the standard drug tests, so that patients with a Marinol prescription
had a valid medical excuse under federal law for testing positive for
marijuana. However, special testing techniques have been developed
that make it possible to distinguish the two by testing for
non-standard cannabinoids that appear in marijuana but not Marinol.
Until recently, these tests were expensive and rarely used except in
high-profile criminal cases. However, it appears that they are now
being routinely used by certain laboratories in cases where Marinol
use is claimed. In particular, we have heard reports of such
testing being used to disqualify Marinol-using Prop 215 patients by
the transportation industry and by Walmart.
Cal NORML has accordingly altered its drug testing advice to
warn against relying on Marinol RXs as a screen for marijuana use.
There is of course no valid scientific or health justification
for allowing patients to use Marinol but not marijuana. The only
purpose is to enforce compliance with the law. It is a tribute to
the power and influence of the drug testing industry that they have
prevailed in foisting the costs of this unnecessary and obnoxious
procedure on employers.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Portland grower sweeps the Oregon Medical Cannabis Awards with ³Lemon Pledge,² ³Train Wreck² and ³Dynamite.²
Portland grower sweeps the Oregon Medical Cannabis Awards with ³Lemon Pledge,² ³Train Wreck² and ³Dynamite.²
Rolling To Victory
December 17th, 2008
A very mellow gathering of 100 medical-marijuana users got some delicious
news at the seventh annual Oregon Medical Cannabis Awards on Saturday night.
³Apparently, the weed keeps getting better and better,² announced Russ
Belville, associate director of the National Organization for the Reform of
Marijuana Laws¹ Oregon branch.
Belville based his statement on the scores this year¹s 27 entries received
from a lucky pool of 28 judges who are medical marijuana patients. Each
judge got a gram of each type to sample over six weeks, and rate on
appearance, taste, aroma, potency, smoothness and medicinal effect.
This year¹s top entry received an 80 percent score. Last year¹s winner, 78.8
The crowd‹many of whom made trips throughout the night to a courtyard set up
outside the Ambridge Events Center in Northeast Portland for
medical-marijuana cardholders to smoke and vaporize their stash‹erupted in
Paul Stanford, head of a Portland-based national chain of medical-marijuana
clinics called THC Foundation (see ³King Bong,² WW, Dec. 12, 2007),
dominated this year¹s awards. Stanford collected first, second and third
prize for his Lemon Pledge, Train Wreck and Dynamite strains.
Stanford, who in past cannabis contests has never broken into the top three,
chalked the victory up to better tilling in his outer East Portland garden.
³We did a lot better job mixing our dirt this year,² he told WW after
collecting his glass trophies and ribbons.
David Verstoppen, the legendary Eastern Oregon grower who¹s won the past
three years and fell victim to a violent attempted weed heist (see
³High-Jacked,² WW, Nov. 12, 2008), had to settle for an honorable mention in
the ³best aroma² category for his Medicine Woman strain.
³This man is living proof that you can¹t keep a good man down,² Belville
told the crowd as Verstoppen took his ribbon after making the five-hour
drive from Long Creek.
The highlights of the evening were the cake table (chocolate, custard or
organic carrot) and the keynote address by Allen St. Pierre, head of NORML¹s
national office in Washington, D.C. He called for legalization as a matter
of ³cognitive liberty.²
³Of course we want to get high. This is self-evident. But we can get plenty
high under prohibition,² St. Pierre said. ³There¹s no moral reason why you
shouldn¹t have access to this incredible plant.²
St. Pierre bemoaned what he called the ³Balkanization² of the marijuana
movement, with hemp advocates, medical patients, pot decriminalizers and
hard-drug legalizers all staking out territory.
He noted a new phenomenon where retiring baby boomers are returning to their
youthful pastimes, including marijuana use, and contributing more money to
NORML. But he also said the organization needs new ways of reaching out.
³What if we had marijuana dating services?² he asked. ³How many of us are
with our spouse or partner because of the commonality of cannabis?²
FACT: NORML¹s Allen St. Pierre hinted he may move the group¹s office to the
West Coast, on the friendly side of America¹s ³marijuana Maginot Line.² He
said Portland is high on the list of possible homes. One audience member
promised plenty of ³green office space.²
Saturday, December 6, 2008
DO YOU TRUST IN CALIFORNIA?
Fiscal Year 2008/09
Fiscal Year 2007/08
Fiscal Year 2006/07
Fiscal Year 2005/06
Fiscal Year 2004/05
Total Issued To Date
*Medi-Cal Numbers are a subset of and included in the Patient Totals.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
PA'IA, Maui -- The head of a medical marijuana advocacy group on Maui
and six other men have been charged with running a drug trafficking ring.
The suspects were arrested Tuesday following a two-year investigation
surrounding the Patients Without Time organization located on Baldwin
Avenue in Pa'ia, said Capt. Gerald Matsunaga of the Maui Police Department.
As part of the investigation dubbed Operation Weedkiller, Maui
police, assisted by other county, state and federal law enforcement
agencies, recovered more than 335 plants, nearly 16 pounds of
marijuana, a small amount of hashish and more than $14,000 in cash
from several homes and businesses, he said.
"They exploited the medicinal marijuana laws to sell marijuana to
turn a financial profit," Matsunaga said.
State Rep. Joe Bertram III, D-11th (Kihei, Wailea, Makena), yesterday
defended Patients Without Time and its director, Brian Murphy, 53,
who was indicted on 13 offenses, including criminal conspiracy and
commercial promotion of marijuana. Bertram said the organization
provides marijuana to the disabled and critically ill patients
legally registered under the state's medical marijuana law.
"It's a godsend to sick people here on Maui. It's heartbreaking. A
lot of people now are left in the lurch. They were getting a medicine
that's safe and reliable and now it's gone," Bertram said.
"How are these people who have these permits supposed to have access
to this medicine that the state said is available to them? This is
Bertram, who obtained a medical marijuana permit in 2005 after
suffering a serious illness, said he is not officially connected to
Patients Without Time but is familiar with the group. He said any
money the organization accepted in payment for marijuana is used to
subsidize patients who can't arrange for their own supplies.
He said Murphy is "very strict" about making sure marijuana is
provided only to certified patients.
Murphy did not return calls yesterday seeking comment.
Matsunaga said Hawai'i's medical marijuana law does not allow the
sale of marijuana, and that the drug ring used Patients Without Time
and the state's medical marijuana laws group "to disguise their drug
trafficking organization." The illegal enterprise even hired men to
provide protection for the illicit operation, he said.
"Law enforcement officials predicted that these types of illegal
activities would occur once medical marijuana laws were passed in
Hawai'i," he said. "The investigation exposed how the drug
trafficking organization abused the medical marijuana laws and
philosophy to make a profit, and assisted people in becoming
inebriated from marijuana and other byproducts of marijuana."
The arrests do not signal a change in the police department's
enforcement policy regarding registered medical marijuana patients,
"There was nothing legal about the operation. You cannot sell
marijuana," he said. "We don't go after people with legitimate
medical marijuana permits if they are operating within the law. If
they are breaking the law, then they should be worried about getting arrested."
Indicted along with Murphy were Brian Igersheim, 31, of Makawao,
charged with 15 drug offenses; William "Bill" Cox, 48, of Ha'iku,
charged with five counts; Stuart Hirotsu, 48, of Wailuku, seven
charges; and Robert "Bobby" Armitage, 58, of Wailuku, Douglas
Kaleikini Sr., 54, of Wailuku, and John Cooper, 40, of Kihei, who
each were indicted on a single count of criminal conspiracy.
Nearly all had posted bail as of yesterday.
Matsunaga said police recovered a total of approximately 335
marijuana plants and cuttings, 5 pounds of processed marijuana, more
than 10 pounds of unprocessed marijuana, a little more than an ounce
of hashish, 100 marijuana-laced candies, a vehicle, $14,085 in cash,
and drug paraphernalia associated with marijuana growing and distribution.
He declined to provide additional details of the alleged marijuana
Assisting Maui Police Department's Criminal Intelligence and Special
Response Team in Tuesday's arrests were the Hawai'i Narcotics Task
Force, the statewide Marijuana Eradication Task Force, and the
Hawai'i Inter-Agency Mobile Police Apprehension Crime Task Force.
Bertram said the arrests underscore "the gray areas" in Hawai'i's
medical marijuana law and the difficulty patients have in legally
Under the law, a person must be certified by a physician to use
marijuana for "debilitating" medical conditions. Patients may possess
up to three mature marijuana plants, four immature plants and an
ounce of usable marijuana for each mature plant.
The Department of Public Safety said 4,644 medical marijuana users
were registered with the agency as of last month, including 866 on Maui.
The law allows the "acquisition, possession, cultivation, use,
distribution or transportation" of marijuana by certified patients
and their primary caregivers, but is not clear on what some of that
means in practice.
Matsunaga said it does not allow the sale of marijuana under any
circumstances. He also suggested the alleged drug trafficking ring
was involved in something more sinister than simply providing
seriously ill patients with therapeutic marijuana.
The Legislature this year approved a Bertram-sponsored bill that
would have created a task force to examine issues related to the
medical marijuana program, but Gov. Linda Lingle vetoed it.
Bertram said in 2009 he will push for further clarification of the
law and decriminalization of minor marijuana offenses.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Morse v. Frederick (06-278)
This page will continue to have further detail and analysis of the "Bong Hits for Jesus" case which was heard in the Supreme Court on March 19, 2007 and decided on June 25, 2007.
On the right are links to court documents and filings regarding the case.
Supreme Court reversed the Ninth Circuit on somewhat narrow grounds, saying that the phrase "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" specifically advocated illegal drug use, the unfurling of the banner was close enough to be considered to be at a school-sponsored activity, and that Morse was allowed to censor the banner.
Text of the decision (pdf)
Early analysis from ScotusBlog:
Morse is a very limited holding -- essentially limited to the drug context. The Alito concurrence, joined by Kennedy, is controlling. He writes:
I join the opinion of the Court on the understanding that (a) it goes no further than hold that a public school may restrict speech that a reasonable observer would interpret as advocating illegal drug use and (b) it provides no support for any restriction of speech that can plausibly be interpreted as commenting on any political or social issue, including speech on issues such as 'the wisdom of the war on drugs or of legalizing marijuana for medicinal use.'"
The opinion of the Court does not endorse the broad argument advanced by petitioners and the United States that the First Amendment permits public school officials to censor any student speech that interferes with a school's "educational mission." See Brief for Petitioners 21; Brief for United States as Amicus Curiae 6. This argument can easily be manipulated in dangerous ways, and I would reject it before such abuse occurs.
Speech advocating illegal drug use poses a threat to student safety that is just as serious, if not always as immediately obvious. As we have recognized in the past and as the opinion of the Court today details, illegal drug use presents a grave and in many ways unique threat to the physical safety of students. I therefore conclude that the public schools may ban speech advocating illegal drug use. But I regard such regulation as standing at the far reaches of what the First Amendment permits. I join the opinion of the Court with the understanding that the opinion does not endorse any further extension.
.... The Chief Justice's opinion, too, indicates that the case would have come out differently if the banner had "convey[ed] any sort of political or religious message," such as that involved in "political debate over the criminalization of drug use or possession," rather than (in the Court's view) mere "student speech celebrating illegal drug use." Debate, political and religious messages -- protected. "Celebration" of illegal activity (drug use, anyway) -- no go. That's the upshot.
Here are some other interesting points in the decision:
Justice Thomas' concurrence is a bit unusual. Basically, he said that he doesn't believe that students have any free speech rights at all, and he's just happy that this ruling limits them a little bit more.
Breyer in his dissent in part, concurrence in part says that the Court should have ruled that the Principal wasn't liable for damages since she was acting in good faith, but that the Court shouldn't have ruled at all on the First Amendment issue.
Stevens, Souter and Ginsburg dissented:
I am willing to assume that the Court is correct that the pressing need to deter drug use supports JDHS's rule prohibit-ing willful conduct that expressly "advocates the use of substances that are illegal to minors." App. to Pet. forCert. 53a. But it is a gross non sequitur to draw from these two unremarkable propositions the remarkable conclusion that the school may suppress student speech that was never meant to persuade anyone to do anything.
In my judgment, the First Amendment protects student speech if the message itself neither violates a permissible rule nor expressly advocates conduct that is illegal and harmful to students. This nonsense banner does neither, and the Court does serious violence to the First Amend-ment in upholding--indeed, lauding--a school's decision to punish Frederick for expressing a view with which it disagreed. [...]
it is one thing to restrict speech that advocates drug use. It is another thing entirely to prohibit an obscure message with a drug theme that a third party subjectively--and not very reasonably--thinks is tantamount to express advocacy. [...]
To the extent the Court independently finds that"BONG HiTS 4 JESUS" objectively amounts to the advocacy of illegal drug use--in other words, that it can most reasonably be interpreted as such--that conclusion practically refutes itself. This is a nonsense message, not advocacy. The Court's feeble effort to divine its hidden meaning is strong evidence of that. [...]
Admittedly, some high school students (including those who use drugs) are dumb. Most students, however, do not shed their brains at the schoolhouse gate, and most students know dumb advocacy when they see it. The notion that the message on this banner would actually persuade either the average student or even the dumbest one to change his or her behavior is most implausible.
The dissent, written by Stevens, also had this remarkable passage:
Reaching back still further, the current dominant opinion supporting the war on drugs in general, and our anti-marijuana laws in particular, is reminiscent of the opinion that supported the nationwide ban on alcohol consumption when I was a student. While alcoholic beverages are now regarded as ordinary articles of commerce, their use was then condemned with the same moral fervor that now supports the war on drugs. The ensuing change in public opinion occurred much more slowly than the relatively rapid shift in Americans' views on the Vietnam War, and progressed on a state-by-state basis over a period of many years. But just as prohibition in the 1920's and early 1930's was secretly questioned by thousands of otherwise law-abiding patrons of bootleggers and speakeasies, today the actions of literally millions of otherwise law-abiding users of marijuana,9 and of the majority of voters in each of the several States that tolerate medicinal uses of the product,10 lead me to wonder whether the fear of disapproval by those in the majority is silencing opponents of the war on drugs. Surely our national experience with alcohol should make us wary of dampening speech suggesting--however inarticulately--that it would be better to tax and regulate marijuana than to persevere in a futile effort to ban its use entirely.
From Court may untangle student-speech cases with 'Bong Hits' by Tony Mauro at First Amendment Center.
The dispute arose in advance of the Winter Olympics of 2002. The Olympic torch relay was passing through Juneau as the torch was on its way to Salt Lake City, and Juneau schools decided to turn the event into a teachable moment by letting students watch.
At Juneau-Douglas High School, Principal Deborah Morse allowed students, under supervision, to watch the torch runner pass in front of the school. School cheerleaders and the pep band performed.
Some students watched from across the street as well -- significantly, not on school property. In that group, student Joseph Frederick had other plans for when the torch passed. As cameras recorded the moment, he and other students unfurled a large banner that read: "BONG HITS 4 JESUS." He later described it as a humorous, meaningless, and not at all pro-drug, message.
When Morse asked the students to take down the banner, all complied except Frederick, who asserted his First Amendment rights. Morse grabbed and crumpled the banner and suspended Frederick for five days. During a later discussion, according to his brief, Frederick quoted Thomas Jefferson to her -- and his suspension was increased to 10 days. Frederick sued in federal court.
[Note: the degree to which the event was "supervised" is open to interpretation. It appears that may have been much more informal, with no attempt to control whether students remained.]
The school won in the district court, but the 9th Circuit court overturned and ruled that the Principal (Morse) had violated the First Amendment rights of the student (Frederick) and could be held liable for damages.
The school board appealed the case to the Supreme Court, led by attorney Kenneth Starr (known primarily to the public for his role as special counsel in the Monica Lewinski blow job case), who is acting pro-bono. On December 1, 2006, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.
This case deals with the free-speech rights of students versus the authority of schools to control certain messages. A separate issue deals with whether Morse had immunity from damages (the 9th Circuit ruled that she didn't -- that essentially she should have known that her actions were a violation of the student's free speech rights).
Complications include the fact that the speech took place off school property at a non-school event, and did not directly cause a disturbance to the educational process. There is also the question as to what the phrase "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" means. Frederick claims it was a nonsensical phrase he saw on a sticker that he thought would get attention. Those arguing for Morse say the phrase is clearly advocating an illegal act. This has the potential for some rather surreal discussions with the Justices.
Those on the side of petitioner Morse (Starr, D.A.R.E., etc.) also appear to want the Supreme Court to give schools wide latitude to identify and censor any drug-related speech as counter to their anti-drug/zero-tolerance/abstinance-only message mission.
Those opposed (Student Press Law Center, SSDP, etc.) are concerned for the potential of chilling a wide range of student speech, including speech off-campus, and including speech that may have political value.
Note: the ACLJ (much different than the ACLU) has joined in on the side of Frederick, although being strongly opposed to the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" message (whatever that is), because they're concerned that increasing the power of schools to censor student speech might one day be used to suppress religious expression.
(See links at right.) Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District established that schools may not suppress speech unless it provides a significant disruption to the educational process. Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier dealt with the ability to control student speech that would likely appear to carry the sanction of school administration (such as a school newspaper or yearbook or a planned speech at a public event, where the school specifically provides the platform for the speech. Bethel School Dist. No. 403 v. Fraser provides that even speech that doesn't substantially disrupt the educational process can be suppressed if it is sexually vulgar and lewd.
In Morse v. Frederick, those arguing for the petitioner Morse appear to be attempting to combine the three cases to allow suppression of drug-related speech that, in the opinion of school officials, undermines the school's propaganda efforts. This speech, they claim is, by its very nature, both vulgar significantly disruptive.
Those arguing on behalf of the respondent Frederick note that Frederick's actions did not fall into any of the three controlling cases.
An additional complication is that then Judge Alito wrote the opinion in Saxe v. State College Area School District, which analyzed the interplay of those three cases and determined that speech that did not specifically fall under those three was protected under the Constitution.
The 9th Circuit lays out the issues and points out some interesting quirks in the case.
Frederick's banner... was displayed outside the classroom, across the street from the school, during a non-curricular activity that was only partially supervised by school officials. It most certainly did not interfere with the school's basic educational mission.
- From 9th Circuit opinion, page 2478
The issue of "illegal" drug use is a little complicated under Alaska law. Alaska has an express constitutional right to privacy that the federal constitution does not have. The Alaska Supreme Court has held unanimously that the state had the burden of justifying its statute prohibiting marijuana use, and "no adequate justification for the state's intrusion into the citizen's right to privacy by its prohibition of possession of marijuana by an adult for personal consumption in the home has been shown." ... Frederick was an adult citizen of Alaska, not a minor, at the time he displayed the sign.
- From 9th Circuit opinion notes, page 2468-2469
Starr, the U.S. Government and D.A.R.E. lay out new areas of power for school administrators, while attacking libertarian principles.
Here, had Principal Morse failed to react to Frederick's inappropriate display, she would have foregone an opportunity to teach her students--including Frederick-- that they should be law-abiding citizens. And she would have failed to protect her students from further exposure to a harmful message.
- From DARE brief, page 21
... an effective anti-drug program must not only teach the dangers of drugs; it must also protect impressionable young people from the countervailing effects of peer pressure. At a minimum, such a program entails prohibiting student advocacy of illegal drug use in school or at school events, where students are entrusted to the schools' care. [...]
If schools permitted advocacy of illegal drugs, such speech could counteract, if not drown out, the schools' anti-drug message, especially because of peer pressure. Permitting students to make light of the school's anti-drug message or launch a pro-drug use campaign would undermine both that message and the school's disciplinary authority generally. [...]
The juxtaposition between an event honoring amateur athletic competition and the use of marijuana made the speech particularly disruptive. [emphasis added]
- From U.S. Government brief, page 13, 17, 18
... the court of appeals substituted its unforgiving libertarian worldview for the considered judgment of school officials (and school boards) in seeking, consistent with Congress' statutory mandate, to foster and encourage a drug-free student lifestyle. [...]
As to both the First Amendment and the law of qualified immunity, the court of appeals' uncompromisingly libertarian vision is deeply unsettling to public school educators across the country. The decision below is doubly -- and dangerously -- wrong.
- From the Morse brief, page 15
The Student Law Center notes the "new" provisions being requested by the U.S. Government, and point out the educational value of protecting the Constitution.
There is likewise no constitutional exception, as Petitioners argue, for "subject-changing" speech that diverts the audience's attention away from the school's preferred message. [...]
Robust independent student speech is fundamental in a democratic society. Not only is it constitutionally safeguarded, but it also provides students with a powerful and vital civics lesson. This Court has stated repeatedly that the fact that schools are educating the young for citizenship is reason for scrupulous protection of Constitutional freedoms of the individual, if we are not to strangle the free mind at its source and teach youth to discount important principles of our government as mere platitudes. [...] ( It is most important that our young become convinced that our Constitution is a living reality, not parchment preserved under glass. ).
- From the Student Press Law Center brief, page 5 and 29.
From the Supreme Court hearing:
MR. KNEEDLER: ... a, school does not have to tolerate a message that is inconsistent with its basic educational --
JUSTICE ALITO: Well, that's a very -- I find that a very, a very disturbing argument, because schools have and they can defined their educational mission so broadly that they can suppress all sorts of political speech and speech expressing fundamental values of the students, under the banner of, of -- of getting rid of speech that's inconsistent with educational missions.
- From the Supreme Court transcript, page 20
It's a little early to make predictions at this point, and my idealism tends to be a handicap for accurate guesses, but it's always interesting to speculate.
Start with this statement, for example:
"The student has a better case than the school," said Martha Minow, professor at Harvard Law School. "But the trend of the Supreme Court has been toward curbing student speech and increasing deference to school administrators. If the school district wins here, it could have important ramifications."
That's the general sense that I'm getting from a number of directions. That if you analyze the case strictly on Constitutional grounds or even on precedent, Frederick wins easily. But conventional wisdom is that the Court will side with Morse and overturn the 9th Circuit. The Supreme Court has consistently ruled in favor of governmental authority in recent years, particularly if the drug war is invoked (which may be why Starr is pushing that button so hard).
On the other hand, the Court has been a protector of speech more than any other rights, and the potential new school powers that Starr asserts as necessary, are blatantly offensive to free speech principles.
Finally, the Court could just wimp out and focus their opinion on the immunity issue.
Ross Runkel in the Supreme Court Times predicts for Morse, but uses as part of the reasoning that Frederick was advocating an illegal act, something that is not clearly supported in the filings. Runkel somehow claims that the phrase "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" is in its very nature not a "lawful opinion" (as opposed to the armbands in Tinker) -- a rather bizarre and frightening notion -- one which would actually make the Alaskan Supreme Court guilty of unlawful opinions regarding marijuana.
Early reactions to the Oral Hearings:
SCOTUSblog, as always, has great analysis: here, here, and here
The Supreme Court on Monday toyed with the notion that public school officials should have added discretion to censor student speech that they may interpret as advocating use of illegal drugs. But this was only a flirtation, not a warm embrace. During the argument in Morse v. Frederick (06-278), a clear majority of the Justices showed significant skepticism about creating a wide exception to the curb on suppression of student speech that the Court spelled out in 1969 in Tinker v. Des Moines School District
As blog colleague Marty Lederman has pointed out in the post below, a sweeping exception to Tinker had the visible support Monday of only Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and Justice Antonin Scalia, who seemed to be competing to lay out the most generous view of officials' discretion to enforce school-preferred messages.
Coverage from PBS
Crumple Zone: Drug Warriors Push Broad Censorship of Student Speech by Jacob Sullum at TownHall
Dahlia Lithwick in Slate
We've come a long way since "Fuck the Draft."
Up in Smoke at the High Court by Dana Milbank
So maybe this is why all those figures in the Supreme Court friezes are wearing togas.
New York Times editorial
The Bush administration joined the school district in arguing that schools have broad authority to limit talk about drugs because of the importance of keeping drugs away from young people. But if schools can limit speech on any subject deemed to be important, students could soon be punished for talking about the war on terror or the war in Iraq because the government also considers those subjects important.
Washington Post editorial
WHAT IS a bong hit 4 Jesus? We're not sure, and we doubt anyone really knows what the phrase means -- which is one reason the Supreme Court ought not to regard it as prohibited speech.
Shortcut address to this page:
Location of incident. Frederick was standing across Glacier Avenue (Route 7) opposite the school.
Court Documents Online
Text of the Supreme Court decision (pdf)
Court transcript of March 19 Hearing (pdf)
Briefs in the Supreme Court case
(all pdf files)
Petitioner's Brief (on behalf of School Principal Morse)
Respondent's Brief (on behalf of the student Frederick)
Petitioner's Reply to Respondent's Brief
Joint Appendix (affidavits, policies and documents referred to by both sides)
Amicus Curiae briefs (briefs from interested outside parties who feel they have relevant arguments to add to the case)
U.S. Government (on behalf of Morse)
D.A.R.E. (on behalf of Morse)
National School Boards Association (on behalf of Morse)
Student Press Law Center (joined by Feminists for Free Expression, The First Amendment Project, The Freedom to Read Foundation and the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression. on behalf of Frederick)
National Coalition Against Censorship (joined by American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression on behalf of Frederick)
American Center for Law and Justice (on behalf of Frederick)
Students for Sensible Drug Policy (on behalf of Frederick)
Certiorari documents (regarding requesting the Supreme Court to consider the case)
Petition for Certiorari
Brief in Opposition
Amicus briefs related to Certiori or earlier arguments:
D.A.R.E. brief (on behalf of Morse)
National School Boards Association brief (on behalf of Morse)
Rutherford Institute (on behalf of Frederick)
Liberty Legal Institute (on behalf of Frederick)
LAMBDA Legal Defense and Education Fund (on behalf of Frederick)
Drug Policy Alliance (on behalf of Frederick)
Christian Legal Society (on behalf of Frederick)
Center for Individual Rights (on behalf of Frederick)
ACLJ (on behalf of Frederick)
Alliance Defense Fund (on behalf of Frederick)
9th Circuit Opinion
Arguing the Case
For petitioner Morse:
Kenneth W. Starr
Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Los Angeles, CA
For respondent Frederick:
Douglas K. Mertz
Mertz Law Office, Juneau, AK
Other cases with relevance
Bethel School Dist. No. 403 v. Fraser (1986) -- Whether school officials may prohibit a vulgar and lewd student speech at a student assembly even if the speech does not create a substantial disruption.
Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier -- To what extent, consistent with the First Amendment, may educators exercise editorial control over the contents of a high school newspaper produced as part of the school's journalism curriculum
Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District -- The case established that public school students did not "shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gates."
Saxe v. State College Area School District -- a 3rd Circuit ruling written by then-judge Alito -- extensively reviewed the interplay of the three cases above.
Sites with legal information on the case
Supreme Court Times
First Amendment Center
Medill School of Journalism
Websites of interested parties
Juneau School District pages about the case
National School Boards Association
Free Expression Policy Projeft
American Center for Law and Justice
Student Press Law Center
American Civil Liberties Union
Joseph Frederick, from a yearbook photo.
Frederick's years since unfurling the banner have been... interesting. He received a settlement from the Juneau Police Department for harassment happening after the Bong Hits incident, and his father received a settlement from his employer -- the school district's insurance company (he claims he was fired for not pressuring Joseph into dropping the suit). Joseph Frederick is now teaching English in China.
Articles of Interest
'Bong Hits 4 Jesus' Goes to the Supreme Court by Tom Kizzia in the Anchorage Daily News is a good feature on the case, with additional information about Frederick and his difficulties since the banner incident.
Justices to Hear Landmark Free-Speech Case by Robert Barnes in the Washington Post.
The most important student free-speech conflict to reach the Supreme Court since the height of the Vietnam War...
Free Speech Case Divides Bush and Religious Right by Linda Greenhouse in the New York Times:
What galvanized most of the groups on Mr. Frederick's side was the breadth of the arguments made on the other side. The solicitor general's brief asserts that under the Supreme Court's precedents, student speech "may be banned if it is inconsistent with a school's basic educational mission."
The Incident on Glacier Avenue: 3/19/07 Argument by Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog
If the Supreme Court on Monday finds itself interested in the facts in a case coming up for argument, it might never get to the law.
Morse v. Frederick Timeline
Note: The author of this page is not a constitutional scholar or lawyer, but an interested party with some knowledge of Supreme Court law, constitutional principles and drug policy, who has followed this case closely. This guide is intended to be an informational tool for lay people who want to know more, not to provide legal expertise.
This page will continue to be updated throughout the life of this case.
Drug Policy Reform Links:
Alternet: Drug Reporter
ACLU Drug Policy
Americans for Safe Access
Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy
Cato Institute: Drug War
Change the Climate
Christians for Cannabis
Common Sense for Drug Policy (CSDP)
Drug Action Network
Drug Policy Alliance
Drug Policy Forum of Illinois
A Drug War Carol
Drug War Facts
Educators for Sensible Drug Policy (EfSDP)
Daniel Forbes articles at MAP
Forfeiture Endangers American Rights (FEAR)
Fully Informed Jury Association
Harm Reduction Coalition
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP)
The Lindesmith Center
Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts
Marijuana Policy Project (MPP)
A Marijuana Smoker's Lounge
M.A.S.H. Action Group
Media Awareness Project (MAP)
Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)
The November Coalition
Orange County NORML
Religious Leaders for a More Just and Compassionate Drug Policy
Salon.com Drug War Archives
Stop the Drug War (DRCNet)
Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP)
Unitarian Universalists for Drug Policy
U.S. Marijuana Party
Vaults of Erowid
Drug War Cheerleaders:
Pushing Back - the Drug Czar's "blog"
Miserable Failure at Drug Policy
2. Write a letter to the editor
The government is using your tax dollars to campaign for continuing the failed war on drugs. You can't afford to do the same advertising they can, but you can make a huge difference. A letter to the editor has the same impact as an expensive ad, but at no cost but your time and effort.
There's a fabulous resource called Media Awareness Project, which has just about every important article printed in a newspaper anywhere (usually within a day), along with contact information for writing a letter to the editor. There are even resources to help you write letters. Voluteer contributors got enough letters printed last year to be equivalent to almost $4 million worth of advertising.
3. Contact your elected officials
When issues come up in Congress, I'll give you an alert on Drug WarRant. There are also some excellent places to find out about alerts, that will walk you through an easy web process to send an email or fax to your representatives. If you have time, write a regular letter, or call their office and talk to the staff. It has even more impact. Recently, I called the office of Senator Durbin to say how much I appreciated his efforts regarding the Tandy nomination, and the staff was so happy to hear a positive word. It can really make a difference.
Go to the NORML Action site
Or visit the ACLU Drug Policy Action Site.
4. Sign up for informative newsletters
StopTheDrugWar.org has an excellent weekly newsletter with a review of what's going on in the drug war called "The Drug War Chronicle". Click on the link and sign up for the free email newsletter.
Another site with a newsletter is the Drug Policy Alliance:
Drug Sense has a weekly newsletter:
Check the list of Drug Reform Organizations on the Drug WarRant front page for more places to visit.
5. Know your rights
Go to Flex your Rights and order a copy of the DVD: "Busted"
6. Know how to talk to young people
Go to Safety First - a reality based approach to teens, drugs, and drug education, with some outstanding wiritng by Marsha Rosenbaum.
7. If you live somewhere on this planet...
Sign the international appeal for an Anti-prohibitionist Reform of Drug Laws.