San Diego Supervisors To Appeal Prop. 215 Ruling

San Diego, CA: The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 this week to appeal a recent Superior Court decision rejecting the county’s challenge to California’s medicinal cannabis laws.

Last week, Superior Court Judge William Nevitt denied the county’s lawsuit, which had argued that both Prop. 215 and the state’s medical marijuana ID card program should be pre-empted by the federal Controlled Substances Act.

In his opinion, Nevitt declared that the state’s decade-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.]”

On Tuesday, San Diego supervisors reaffirmed in a closed-session vote that they believe California’s medical marijuana laws promote drug abuse and should be superceded by federal law. They intend to file an appeal imminently with California’s 4th Appellate District.

NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre strongly criticized the supervisors’ decision.

“This appeal is not about politicians seeking clarity in the law; it’s about the supervisors opposition to any use of medicinal cannabis,” he said. “Legal experts, including California’s Legislative Counsel, the state attorney general, and now a superior court judge have all determined that the physician-supervised medical use of marijuana is legal in the state of California. The supervisors’ decision to appeal this case is an affront to their constituents and a gross waste of taxpayers’ dollars.”

San Diego’s supervisors, along with lawmakers from San Bernardino and Merced counties, initially filed suit in February against the state of California and NORML’s San Diego affiliate rather than comply with the statewide ID card program.

For more information, please contact Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel, at (202) 483-5500 or Dale Gieringer, California NORML Coordinator, at (415) 563-5858. Further discussion of this case, County of San Diego v. San Diego NORML and the State of California, is available on the December 13, 2006 edition of NORML’s daily AudioStash at: http://www.normlaudiostash.com.