Washington The Supreme Court on Tuesday barred distribution of marijuana to people in California whose doctors recommend it for medicinal purposes.
The court, voting 7-1 to grant an emergency Clinton administration request, postponed the effect of federal court rulings that would have allowed a California club to distribute the illegal drug for medicinal use.
Government lawyers had sought emergency help from Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who referred the request to the full court. Only Justice John Paul Stevens dissented. Justice Stephen Breyer disqualified himself from the case. His brother, Charles, a federal trial judge, previously had barred distribution of marijuana only to have his decision reversed by a federal appeals court.
The state initiative allows seriously ill patients to grow and use marijuana for pain relief, with a doctor's recommendation, without state penalties. But federal law says marijuana has no medical purposes and cannot be administered safely under medical supervision.