Pubdate: Tue, 02 Dec 2008
Source: Alameda Times-Star, The (CA)
Copyright: 2008 ANG Newspapers
Referenced: Supreme Court Order denying review
Referenced: Decision by the California Fourth Appellate District 
Note: Additional documents
Cited: Americans for Safe Access
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal)


An Oakland-based medical marijuana advocacy group today hailed a
decision by the U.S. Supreme Court not to intervene in a California
case concerning the rights of a patient who used the drug.

The high court this morning refused to grant a hearing on the city of
Garden Grove's appeal of a state court ruling requiring it to return
one-third of an ounce of marijuana to patient Felix Kha.

Garden Grove police seized the marijuana from Kha during a traffic
stop in 2005.

After discovering that Kha had a doctor's approval for use of the
substance under the state's compassionate use law, the Orange County
district attorney declined to prosecute.

Kha then asked for his marijuana back, but the police refused on the
ground that the marijuana is illegal under federal law.

Last year, a state appeals court ruled that the police must return the
medical marijuana, saying that "it is not the job of the local police
to enforce the federal drug laws."

After the California Supreme Court declined to hear the case, Garden
Grove appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which in a brief order today
rejected the appeal.

Joseph Elford, chief lawyer for Americans for Safe Access in Oakland,
said the high court action clarifies local law enforcement's
obligations and should result in fewer needless arrests.

Elford said, "It's now settled that state law enforcement officers
cannot arrest medical marijuana patients or seize their medicine
simply because they prefer the contrary federal law."

The California attorney general's office filed a friend-of-the-court
brief in the case supporting Kha's right to possess the substance.
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