Judge Rejects Lawsuit Against Medical Marijuana Law
A San Diego County Superior Court judge on Wednesday rejected a lawsuit by three counties that have refused to issue identification cards to people who have a doctor's recommendation to use marijuana, the AP/San Jose Mercury News reports. The lawsuit seeks to invalidate California laws that permit marijuana use if recommended by a physician because the laws conflict with federal statutes banning the substance.
San Diego, San Bernardino and Merced counties filed the suit (Hoffman, AP/San Jose Mercury News, 12/6). The lawsuit claimed that federal laws prohibiting marijuana use should pre-empt the state law (Conaughton, North County Times, 12/7).
Judge William Nevitt Jr. ruled that counties would not violate federal law by issuing identification cards. However, the ruling did not force counties to issue the cards (AP/San Jose Mercury News, 12/6).
Federal law prohibits all uses of marijuana, but the court decision maintained that state law enforcement officials are not required to arrest and prosecute violators of the federal law (McDonald, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12/7).
The 2003 law requiring the identification cards was an amendment to Proposition 215, a 1996 ballot initiative that gave state residents the right to "obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes" (California Healthline, 11/20).