Washington, DC: The US Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal brought by a pair of Southern California counties that sought to challenge the legality of the state's medical marijuana laws. The Court's order lets stand a unanimous 2008 Fourth District CA Court of Appeals ruling that determined that state laws allowing for the medical use of cannabis by qualified patients "do not create a 'positive conflict' [with federal law.]"
In 2006, lawmakers from San Diego and San Bernardino filed suit against San Diego NORML and the state of California, arguing that federal anti-drug laws preempt the state's medical marijuana laws. Both the California Superior Court and the Court of Appeals had rejected the counties' legal arguments.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, which represented San Diego NORML in the suit: "The Court's order ... hold[s] that state medical marijuana laws are entirely valid despite the federal prohibition on marijuana. ... The Court's order leaves ample room for states to move forward with enacting and implementing independent medical marijuana policies."
Commenting on the outcome, NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said: "San Diego and San Bernardino's protracted lawsuits — lawsuits that arguably cost county taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars and jeopardized the health and safety of thousands, if not tens of thousands, of citizens — were not about resolving legal ambiguity. These cynical efforts were about the arrogance and recalcitrance of a few who were willing to abuse their political power to hamstring the will of the voters, the state legislature, and the courts."
For more information, please contact Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel, at (202) 483-5500. The case is County of San Diego et al. v. San Diego NORML et al.