County Asks U.S. Supreme Court To Erase State's Medical Marijuana Law

San Diego County filed papers this week asking the U.S. Supreme Court to erase California's medical marijuana law, arguing that federal prohibitions outlawing the substance supersede California's law allowing sick people to use it.

The county is asking the nation's highest court to overturn a state appellate court's July decision upholding the voter-approved law legalizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes.

"You have a conflict here between federal and state law, and we are in the middle," 5th District Supervisor Bill Horn said Friday. "What we have been asking all along is which takes precedence here. We will take it as far as we can take it and get a definitive answer."

Horn's district encompasses much of North County.

County officials sued the state in 2006, arguing that federal law that makes marijuana illegal should trump the 1996 passage of state Proposition 215, which legalized it for patients to use with a prescription. Patients who use marijuana say it helps them treat chronic pain.

In July, California's 4th District Court of Appeal handed medical marijuana users a victory when it rejected the county's contention that the state law flies in the face of federal pot prohibitions. The appellate court found that the purpose of the federal law "is to combat recreational drug use, not to regulate a state's medical practices."

In October, the California Supreme Court rejected the county's request that it review the ruling. That left the county with the option of asking the nation's highest court to step in.

San Diego Deputy County Counsel Tom Bunton said the U.S. Supreme Court might decide by June if it will take the case.

The county's filing was met with a thumbs down but no surprise from Adam Wolf, the lead attorney for medical marijuana patients opposed to the challenge. Wolf on Friday called the county's request "a waste" of taxpayers' money.

"This is an ill-fated and doomed lawsuit," Wolf said. "These are the same recycled arguments that have been rejected by the Superior Court, the Court of Appeals and the California Supreme Court.

"With each day that San Diego does not comply with the state's medical marijuana laws, the medical marijuana patients needlessly suffer."

Wolf, with the American Civil Liberties Union, represents the San Diego chapter of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. NORML is a defendant in the county's suit.

San Bernardino County, which has worked with San Diego during the battle, also filed a similar writ.

There also is a battle over a 2003 directive from state legislators calling for counties to create medical marijuana identification cards. Thus far, San Diego County has declined to issue such cards, even though the appellate court said in its July ruling that issuing the state-mandated cards would not put counties in conflict with federal law.

County attorney Bunton said "the state has not established any deadline whereby the counties have to begin issuing the ID cards."

Wolf said that as many as two-thirds of California's counties have started issuing ID cards to medical marijuana patients.

News Hawk- Ganjarden http://www.420Magazine.com
Source: North County Times
Author: Teri Figueroa
Contact: North County Times
Copyright: 2009 North County Times
Website: County Asks U.S. Supreme Court To Erase State's Medical Marijuana Law
420 Magazine News Team
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"Prohibition... goes beyond the bound of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded"
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