Judge Upholds Ruling Dismissing Counties' Prop. 215 Challenge

Thursday, 07 December 2006

San Diego, CA:  Superior Court Judge William Nevitt upheld last month's preliminary ruling rejecting a lawsuit filed by San Diego County supervisors, who had argued that the state's medical cannabis laws should be pre-empted by the federal Controlled Substances Act.

In his opinion, Nevitt declared that the state's ten-year-old medical marijuana law is legal because it does not "require" conduct that violates federal law. Nevitt also rejected plaintiffs challenge to California's three-year-old medical ID card system, ruling that "requiring the counties to issue identification cards for the purpose of identifying those whom California chooses not to arrest and prosecute for certain activities involving marijuana does not create a 'positive conflict' [with federal law.]"
In 2004, the California legislature approved legislation calling on counties to issue identification cards to state-authorized medical cannabis patients.  San Diego supervisors, along with lawmakers from San Bernardino and Merced counties, filed suit against the state of California and NORML's San Diego affiliate earlier this year rather than comply with the ID card law.
It is unclear whether defendants will appeal Judge Nevitt's ruling.

"We are pleased that the court ruled that San Diego must follow California's medical marijuana law," said California NORML Coordinator Dale Gieringer.  "[Defendants] would be well advised to stop wasting taxpayers' money on this ill-advised lawsuit. The ID cards will save the county money by avoiding needless arrest and prosecution of legal patients."

For more information, please contact Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel, at (202) 483-5500 or Dale Gieringer, California NORML Coordinator, at (415) 563-5858.  Text of the decision in the case, County of San Diego v. San Diego NORML and the State of California, is available online at: http://www.normlaudiostash.com.

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