Pubdate: Thu, 22 Jan 2009
Source: Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA)
Copyright: 2009 The Press-Enterprise Company
Author: Imran Ghori
Cited: Marijuana Policy Project
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


San Bernardino County is being accused of violating the Brown Act,
California's open-meeting law, as it challenges the state's medical
marijuana user program.

San Bernardino County joined San Diego County three years ago in
challenging the program, which requires it to issue medical-marijuana
identification cards to patients.

The counties petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case
last week. The courts have so far ruled against them, upholding the
medical marijuana law approved by voters in 1996.

The Marijuana Policy Project, a national marijuana policy reform
organization, said Wednesday that the San Bernardino County Board of
Supervisors has failed to keep the public informed of its decisions
to appeal.

The group filed a complaint with the district attorney's office in
September after an Aug. 26 meeting where the board discussed the
lawsuit in closed session but made no announcement of any action taken.

That same day, a sheriff's spokeswoman announced that the county was
appealing the case to the California Supreme Court.

Aaron Smith, California policy director for the Marijuana Policy
Project, said his group has been stymied in its attempts to find out
the status of the case.

"They seem to have a certain arrogance where they feel like they can
flout any state law, including the open-meeting laws," he said.

The county counsel's office was given the authority to pursue the
case as far as necessary when the county joined the lawsuit in
January 2006, county spokesman David Wert said.

No announcement was necessary at the Aug. 26 meeting because no
action was taken, he said.

Terry Franke, general counsel for Californians Aware, an open
government advocacy group, said the board must report on any
decisions made in closed session about whether to pursue the appeals.

The district attorney's Public Integrity Unit is reviewing the
complaint, said spokeswoman Susan Mickey.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin