Group Plans Lawsuit Asking State To Stop Confiscation of Marijuana for Medical Purposes
Americans for Safe Access, a patient support group, plans to announce in Oakland on Tuesday a lawsuit against Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), Attorney General Bill Lockyer (D) and the California Highway Patrol asking that California cease confiscation of medical marijuana from patients, the Los Angeles Times reports (Bailey, Los Angeles Times, 2/15). Under Proposition 215, a ballot measure approved by California voters in 1996, patients with chronic illnesses such as cancer and AIDS can use medical marijuana to treat pain with a recommendation from a physician (California Healthline, 8/20/04).
CHP spokesperson Tom Marshall said enforcement efforts are complicated because there is a conflict between state and federal laws governing marijuana and the state has not issued identification cards for patients whose physicians have recommended marijuana as a treatment. He said, "Until the day arrives that there's a card, we're going to continue to enforce the law as we always have."
According to the Times, the Legislature in 2003 authorized issuing identification cards to medical marijuana patients, but state health officials "balked at launching the ID program because of budgetary constraints."
Joseph Elford, an attorney for ASP, said that CHP has "an obligation to uphold state laws," adding, "And medical marijuana is legal in California" (Los Angeles Times, 2/15).