The U.S. Supreme Court entered the debate over medical marijuana, recently agreeing to decide whether the drug can be provided to patients out of "medical necessity," even though federal law makes its distribution a crime.
The justices said they will hear the Clinton administration's effort to bar a California group from providing the drug to seriously ill patients for pain and nausea relief. A lower court decision allowing the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative to distribute the drug "threatens the government's ability to enforce the federal drug laws," government lawyers said.
The cooperative's lawyer, Annette Carnegie, said the federal Controlled Substances Act does not prohibit the distribution of marijuana for medical reasons.
The Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments in the case in March or April.