U.S. Supreme Court Denies AppealsMay 19th, 2009 by Rick
A case that has gone all the the way to the U.S. Supreme Court has been rejected today, striking another blow for state medical marijuana laws.
Three years ago, some lawyers for San Diego and San Bernardino counties in California tried to claim that the state violated federal drug law when they legalized medical marijuana. These counties refused to issue medical marijuana cards in accordance with the medical marijuana law and dared to take the case all the way to the top. In a serious negative track record, the counties lost in:
- the initial state trial.
- the appellate courts.
- the state Supreme Court.
- the U.S. Supreme Court.
They were even threatened with a lawsuit from San Diego NORML, back in 2005 for not complying to the state law when they held back from issuing medical marijuana cards. The Justices today, flat out denied a hearing to the counties.
So now, out of all other legal options, the counties have to finally abide by state law and issue medical marijuana cards to patients and stop arresting medical marijuana patients.
Thomas Bunton, a lawyer in the San Diego County counsel’s office said:
The cards are objectionable because the state law authorizes individuals to engage in conduct that the federal law prohibits. [...] We are disappointed that the court did not take the case to resolve what we believe was a conflict between federal and state law.
As far as this case went, it was the sole one that threatened the state medical marijuana law. Joe Elford, lawyer for Americans for Safe Access said:
No longer will local officials be able to hide behind federal law and resist upholding California’s medical marijuana law.
Elford said that this case will provide ammunition for other cases pending — where other counties are still holding out from issuing medical marijuana cards.
Either nobody wants to deal with the hot potato that marijuana becomes in the news or the Supreme Court doesn’t want to rock the boat, lest it too gets swallowed by the sea of green. At any rate, the fact that it is once again left up to state law is a good sign of things to come.