West Hollywood City Council Declares City a Medical Marijuana ‘Sanctuary’
The West Hollywood City Council on Monday declared the city a medical marijuana "sanctuary," the AP/Contra Costa Times reports. The sanctuary designation is "only symbolic," as federal law "outlawing marijuana use still supersed[es]" state law (AP/Contra Costa Times, 12/4). California voters in 1996 passed Proposition 215, which permitted residents to use medical marijuana under physician supervision. However, the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that using marijuana, even for medicinal purposes, is illegal. The ruling "essentially clear[ed] the way for law enforcement officials to close organized co-ops that distribute marijuana" (California Healthline, 11/13). The resolution comes after the recent Drug Enforcement Administration raids of a West Hollywood cannabis club that provides marijuana to AIDS and cancer patients and a Ventura County cannabis garden operated by patients, actions that were "denounced by city officials." Council member Jeffrey Prang, sponsor of the resolution, said, "Where are the federal government's priorities? When faced with bioterrorist activities across the country, why is the Republican Justice Department focusing its attention on this issue?" (AP/Contra Costa Times, 12/5). A proposal that would declare San Francisco a medical marijuana sanctuary is awaiting approval by Mayor Willie Brown (D) and the city's Board of Supervisors (California Healthline, 11/6).