Pubdate: Sun, 14 Sep 2008
Source: Redlands Daily Facts (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Los Angeles Newspaper group
Author: Lauren McSherry, Staff Writer
Cited: San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors
Referenced: The Court of Appeals ruling
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal)


San Bernardino County has appealed its medical marijuana lawsuit to 
the California Supreme Court, but it remains unclear whether the 
court will agree to hear the case.

The county lost its lawsuit July 25 when a court of appeals ruled 
that a state law requiring counties to issue medical marijuana 
identification cards is constitutional.

The county maintains that the state law is at odds with federal law, 
which criminalizes the drug.

"The lower courts haven't done what the county has asked them to do 
and address the conflict between state and federal law," said David 
Wert, county spokesman.

The state Supreme Court is expected to announce whether it will hear 
the case within the next 60 days, although that deadline could be 
extended, according to a statement from the county.

Wert said the county appealed the case upon the urging of the 
sheriff. Some sheriff's deputies serve on joint federal task forces, 
which puts them in a difficult position because they are sworn to 
uphold federal law, Wert said.

Lanny Swerdlow, director of the Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project, 
said the county is wrong to appeal the case because the courts have 
ruled that the state law is not in conflict with federal law.

"They are trying to stall issuing cards," Swerdlow said. "My 
perspective is it's a waste of taxpayers' money, and a violation of 
their responsibility to enforce state law, and a failure to protect 
the health and welfare of San Bernardino residents."

He said other counties, such as Orange, Santa Barbara and Imperial, 
have issued cards.

In 1996, voters approved Proposition 215, which exempted patients and 
their primary caregivers from criminal liability under state law for 
the possession and cultivation of marijuana. In 2004, the Legislature 
passed the Medical Marijuana Program Act, which included establishing 
an identification card system, according to a statement from the 
Attorney General's Office.

On Aug. 25, state Attorney General Jerry Brown issued guidelines to 
clarify the state's laws governing medical marijuana.
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