San Diego NORML Lawsuit Argued On Appeal
A three-judge panel of the California appeals court in San Diego heard oral arguments on Tuesday, June 10, on the suit earlier filed by the counties of San Diego and San Bernardino against the state of California and San Diego NORML, claiming the state medical marijuana law was in conflict with federal law and therefore unenforceable. San Diego and San Bernardino Counties are appealing the earlier dismissal of their suit by a San Diego Superior Court judge, finding the state had acted properly.
San Diego NORML had been named in the lawsuit because the group had publicly threatened to sue the county for failing to implement the state’s medical marijuana law, Proposition 215 and SB 420. San Diego NORML was represented in this matter by Adam Wolfe, Esq., staff attorney with the ACLU Drug Law Reform Project based in Santa Cruz, CA.
At the trial court level, Superior Court Judge William Nevitt, Jr., dismissed the challenge brought by the two counties, finding the state had the authority to legalize the medical use of marijuana despite federal law.
“California has the sovereign authority to not criminalize sick and dying patients,” said ACLU attorney Wolfe. “This case is really a matter of life and death for patients around the country.”
“What is important is that the patients who need medical marijuana have legal protection to use it, and they do under state law,” said NORML Legal Counsel Keith Stroup. “It is incredible that these two California counties would attempt to disrupt this important state program. Fortunately it appears the state courts will not allow this to happen.”
No decision is expected in this matter for a few months. June 12, 2008