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Govt OKs Med Use

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Government OK's Pot For Sick People

.c The Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The Justice Department will appeal a court ruling that cleared the way for an Oakland club to distribute marijuana for medicinal purposes, according to documents filed Tuesday.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Quinlivan submitted notice of the appeal of last week's ruling, which could lead to a slew of new marijuana clubs. Quinlivan declined to comment Tuesday.

Under the federal court ruling, the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative could provide marijuana to people facing imminent harm from serious medical conditions, and for whom legal alternatives to marijuana don't work or cause intolerable side effects.

The victory for the club is the latest development in a years-old conflict between federal narcotics laws and Proposition 215, passed by California voters in 1996.

The California 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 purpose and cannot be administered safely under medical supervision.

Initiatives similar to California's have passed in Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Oregon and Washington state.

AP-NY-07-25-00 2201EDT

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