Huge Victory for Patients in California!
Impact will be felt across the country as the medical marijuana issue
continues to gain momentum
The San Diego Superior Court ruled in favor of patients today, as the
attempt to overturn California's medical marijuana law was soundly
defeated. Judge William Nevitt, Jr. ruled that there is no "positive
conflict" between federal and state law, and that the voluntary
identification (ID) card program does not interfere with the purpose of
Proposition 215 (Compassionate Use Act or CUA). This ruling upholds
Proposition 215 and SB 420, and confirms the protections provided to
patients under state law. This is a huge victory for patients in
California and across the country with an affirmation that states can
exempt qualified patients from criminal penalties, despite federal
policy that prohibits all marijuana use.
In his ruling, Judge Nevitt concluded that "[n]either the CUA nor the
MMP (Medical Marijuana Program) is preempted by the Supremacy Clause,
the CSA (Controlled Substances Act), or by the Single Convention."
Judge Nevitt also ruled that the provision of the MMP that authorizes
the implementation of a voluntary ID card program is not an amendment
the CUA. Furthermore, Judge Nevitt ruled that the MMP "does not add or
take away from the CUA," and "does not interfere" with the stated
purpose of the CUA, "[to] ensure that seriously ill Californians have
the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes..."
This ruling is similar to the tentative ruling that was issued November
15, 2006, and a resounding victory for patients in California and
the country. As we move forward with implementation of laws in
California and ten other states, pass laws in even more states, and
toward safe access for every U.S. resident that needs to use it
medically, we can stand on the success of this lawsuit. This
clearly recognizes that states can pass laws that protect their people
without conflicting with federal laws that are out of step with the
majority of the country.
This ruling is the result of a lawsuit filed by San Diego County on
February 1, 2006, and later joined by San Bernardino and Merced
Counties. Americans for Safe Access and member patients joined with the
ACLU Drug Law Reform Project and Drug Policy Alliance and successfully
intervened in the lawsuit on August 4. A motion was then filed on
September 1, which was argued by ASA Chief Counsel Joe Elford,
culminating in this landmark ruling.
ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer declared that, "for the tens of
thousands of seriously ill Californians who depend on medical
this victory could not be more significant.” San Diego Supervisors
sought clarification from the courts and now, with this ruling, we
encourage San Diego and counties across California to move forward with
implementing state law.
Legal Campaign Director
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