US Supreme Court Upholds Medicinal Marijuana – Throws Out San Diego County’s Appeal

by on May 18, 2009 · 10 comments

in Civil Rights, Environment, Health, San Diego, War and Peace

Editor: A major victory was scored today by medicinal marijuana advocates at the US Supreme Court. The Supreme Court refused to hear our very own San Diego County government’s attempt not to have to issue medical marijuana identification cards. The County appealed earlier lower court decisions that upheld California state law that required our County – and all others – to put together an medicinal marijuana ID card program that would allow patients to enter dispensaries and prove their illness to police.

This is yet another set back for our very conservative County Board of Supervisors – who used taxpayers’ money to file their appeals – not only at the US Supreme Court, but also at the California Supreme Court earlier, and to wage this unprincipled, retrograde battle before all the other lower courts – just to simply prevent patients from having access to a natural herb with proven medicinal powers. How much longer are we, the citizens of this huge county, going to allow this cabal of Republican reactionary dinosaurs to speak for us?

by Ryan Grim / The Huffington Post / May 18, 2009

The U.S. Supreme Court handed medical marijuana patients and advocates a resounding victory on Monday, refusing to hear a case brought by San Diego County, which has long chafed at implementing statewide medical marijuana laws.

The state of California, in an effort to systematize the 1996 voter-approved initiative, required localities to implement identification card programs for patients with doctor approval in 2004. Such ID cards are required to enter medical marijuana shops in California and can be shown to police officers who find patients in possession of marijuana.

San Diego County, however, argued that the federal ban on marijuana trumps the state law, meaning they are not required to follow the state law. The county filed suit in 2006. Both the San Diego Superior Court and the Fourth District Court of Appeals rejected the argument, which was followed by the California Supreme Court’s refusal to review the case in 2008.

The San Diego Board of Supervisors voted to appeal to the Supreme Court.

“The courts have made clear that federal law does not preempt California’s medical marijuana law and that local officials must comply with that law,” said Joe Elford, chief counsel with Americans for Safe Access (ASA), a national medical marijuana advocacy group with a large presence in California. “No longer will local officials be able to hide behind federal law and resist upholding California’s medical marijuana law.”

It is not the job, in other words, of local cops or municipalities to enforce federal laws. In fact, the federal government has never made such an argument. The California counties acted on their own.

The Supreme Court ruling, following the Obama administration’s decision not to raid medical marijuana clubs acting in accordance with state law, removes one of the last barriers to full implementation of the state law.

Editor: Apparently, this map is somewhat out of date, as I can only count 11 states here. What states are missing?

ASA has now given notice to 10 conservative holdout counties (Colusa, Madera, Mariposa, Modoc, Mono, San Bernardino, San Diego, Solano, Stanislaus, and Sutter) of their legal obligation to implement the ID card program. In January 2009, ASA, something of an industry trade group, filed a lawsuit in January against Solano County for its refusal to implement the state ID card program.ASA was joined by the ACLU Drug Law Reform Project in assisting the California Attorney General in the case against San Diego. San Bernardino teamed with San Diego.

“The Supreme Court and the lower courts in California have blown away the myth that federal law somehow prevents states from legalizing medical marijuana,” said Rob Kampia, executive director for the Marijuana Policy Project.

Thirteen states have laws that allow certain folks to use medical marijuana if their doctor recommends it. Illinois, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey and New York are currently considering medical marijuana bills in their state legislatures.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

OB Joe May 18, 2009 at 12:51 pm

I’m not sick, but I’ll fire one up in celebration.


Gary Gilmore May 18, 2009 at 1:56 pm

My 87 year old mom and her rheumatoid arthritis thank the Supreme Court. So do I. This is a start. In time, more developments will follow.


Wireless Mike May 18, 2009 at 4:03 pm

By refusing to hear the case, the Supreme Court sidestepped having to pit federal law against state law, while allowing both laws to prevail. If they had overturned the federal ban, there would have been political repercussions from the right. This way, they passively upheld the state laws without actively changing the federal law. Good political move, and a major step toward legalization.


Old Hermit Dave May 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm

A small step in the God protect me from the crazy republicans who want to protect me part of life.


Dave Gilbert May 18, 2009 at 7:26 pm

The Times They Are A-Changin’ (lyrics by: Bob Dylan)

Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’.
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin’.
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin’.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’.

Copyright ©1963; renewed 1991 Special Rider Music


OB Server May 19, 2009 at 1:26 pm

I would think that Dianne Jacobs and Bill Horn owe us taxpayers every dollar they spent on their frivolous lawsuit. This isn’t house money that they’re wasting, but rather public money that neither our city nor our state has to blow on personal vendettas.

If they want to operate their lives with an antiquated belief system that’s fine for them, but please do it on someone else’s dime. The voters of this fine state legalized Medical Marijuana over 10 years ago and yet these same stupidvisors still try to cram their prohibitionist, head in the sand attitudes down our collective throats.

The next election can’t come quick enough to oust these dinosaurs so we can elect public servants who are more in tune with their constituents, or at the very least live in the 21st century.


Shawn Conrad May 19, 2009 at 1:31 pm

Marijuanna is illegal? Who knew?


annagrace May 21, 2009 at 4:24 pm
jon May 21, 2009 at 7:40 pm

lol. Shawn Conrad…you have won me over sir. You funny muthrfkr.


Uncle Don June 16, 2009 at 1:02 am

While I know that everyone is tired of the rangling and idiocy, now is not the time to stop!


And get everybody else that’s too lazy, stoned or stupid that you can find, and let’s get this thing done!!!!


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