MEDICAL MARIJUANA: Court Paves Way For Club Closings
The state Supreme Court "left intact a lower-court ruling yesterday that could allow the state to close down all medical marijuana clubs," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The decision "set the stage for Attorney General Dan Lungren to follow through on his promise to shutter the clubs." He will "ask San Francisco Superior Court Judge David Garcia today to issue an injunction to close down the more than 20 cannabis clubs across the state," according to Lungren spokesperson Matt Ross (Rojas, 2/26). The Los Angeles Times reports that the "lower court had ruled in December that Proposition 215 ... only protected a person's right to use marijuana for medical purposes and did not provide any right to sell the drug" nor did it "allow a commercial enterprise to furnish marijuana as a primary caregiver." State officials were waiting to prosecute the clubs until the state Supreme Court heard the case. The high court "unanimously, and without comment" refused to hear the case, leaving the lower court ruling in place (2/26).
Hot Pot Head
Dennis Peron, author of Proposition 215 and founder of the San Francisco-based Cannabis Cultivators Club, "insisted [yesterday] that the club was no longer selling marijuana but was merely being reimbursed for cultivation costs and was in compliance with the ruling." But if the state tries to shut his club down, "we're going to stay here until the tanks come," he said. "Voters did not intend to allow commercial enterprises to sell narcotics," said John Gordnier, senior assistant to the attorney general. But Dr. Tod Mikuriya, who has helped coordinate some of the Bay Area clubs, said, "The state Supreme Court is out of compliance with the law: They have pervasively and systematically broken the law by failing to ensure a safe and affordable source of medicine for people who qualify."
The lower court ruling, written by Justice J. Clinton Peterson, said, "The intent of the initiative was to allow persons to cultivate and possess a sufficient amount of marijuana for their own approved medical purposes and to allow 'primary caregivers' the same authority to act on behalf of those patients too ill or bedridden to do so." The AP/Contra Costa Times reports that Peron's nonprofit marijuana club had patients name it as their 'primary caregiver' to come into compliance with the court's distinction (Egelko, 2/26). The AP/New York Times reports that "[f]ederal prosecutors have also asked a federal judge to shut down Mr. Peron's club and five others, saying the clubs are violating a federal law that prohibits possession and sale of marijuana, regardless of Proposition 215" (2/26).