Pubdate: Thu, 07 Aug 2008
Source: San Francisco Bay Times (CA)
Copyright: 2008 San Francisco Bay Times
Author: Dennis McMillan
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


In 2003, the California Legislature enacted the Medical  Marijuana 
Program Act (MMP). Among other provisions,  the MMP imposed on 
counties the obligation to implement  a program permitting a limited 
group of persons - those  who qualify for exemption from California's 
statutes  criminalizing certain conduct with respect to marijuana 
(the exemptions) - to apply for and obtain an  identification card 
verifying their exemption.

In a lawsuit that pitted the counties of San Diego and  San 
Bernardino against San Diego NORML and others,  California's Fourth 
district court of appeal ruled on  July 31 that the federal 
Controlled Substances Act does  not preempt California's medical 
marijuana ID card  program.

Citing the Federal Supremacy Clause, the counties sued  in 2006 
rather than implement the ID card program,  which was enacted by the 
California legislature in 2003  as part of SB420. That legislation 
followed voters'  approval of Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use 
Act,  in 1996.

In a unanimous opinion authored by Justice Alex  McDonald, the court 
ruled, "We conclude the  identification card laws do not pose a 
significant  impediment to specific federal objectives embodied in 
the CSA (federal Controlled Substances Act). The  purpose of the CSA 
is to combat recreational drug use,  not to regulate a state's 
medical practices." It also  ruled, "Congress does not have the 
authority to compel  the states to direct their law enforcement 
personnel to enforce federal laws."

Read the full ruling 
at: It is  39 pages 
long, but worth the reading.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom