How do you say: “Game, set, match” in southern California? Here’s how:
High court won’t hear county’s marijuana challenge
The U.S. Supreme Court will not take up San Diego County’s challenge to state medical marijuana laws.
For more than three years the county has been fighting in court to overturn state laws that require counties to issue medical marijuana identification cards. The county contends federal law, which does not recognize medical marijuana usage, trumps the state law.
The county has lost that argument in state trial and appellate courts, and the state Supreme Court declined to take up the case, too. The county’s last, long-shot chance was to have the U.S. Supreme Court take up the case.
San Bernardino and Merced counties initially joined the suit, but Merced eventually dropped out. The high court also rejected San Bernardino’s petition to take up the case.
In other words, the oft-heard prohibitionist refrain that federal law trumps state medical marijuana laws has no legal merit.
None. Nada. Zero.
To anyone who has followed the unethical actions of the San Diego and San Bernardino Supervisors over the past three years, the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear their appeal shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, the counties’ vapid arguments had previously been struck down — unanimously — by the Superior Court of the state of California the 4th District Court of Appeals.
In addition, the Legislative Counsel of California, the state Attorney General’s Office, and a majority of the California legislature had also previously determined that local politicians and law enforcement were obligated to uphold the provisions of California’s medical marijuana laws.
Finally, California’s constitution is also quite clear on this point — mandating that police have a sworn duty to uphold state law, not to enforce federal statutes.
Let’s be blunt: 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 never about resolving legal ambiguity.
Rather, it was about the arrogance and recalcitrance of those who willfully chose to abuse their power and position to hamstring the will of the voters, the legislature, and the courts.
And while this particular legal battle is now over, our outrage shouldn’t be.