Pubdate: Thu, 22 Jan 2009
Source: San Bernardino Sun (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Los Angeles Newspaper Group
Author: Joe Nelson
Cited: Marijuana Policy Project
Bookmark: (Corruption - United States)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


SAN BERNARDINO - A marijuana advocacy group claims the Board of
Supervisors violated the state's open meeting law by failing to
disclose publicly its decision to appeal its lawsuit challenging
California's medical marijuana law to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The nonprofit Marijuana Policy Project maintains that the board, at
its Aug. 26 meeting, voted in a closed-door session to appeal its
joint lawsuit with San Diego County to the state Supreme Court after
a San Diego County judge ruled in favor of the state.

When the board returned to the dais to continue its meeting, it
failed to mention its decision to those in attendance, the nonprofit

If the two counties prevail in their lawsuit, neither would be
required to issue identification cards to legitimate medical
marijuana patients.

The state Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal, so, the
counties' appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which received the case
Jan. 12, county spokesman David Wert said. He said the county expects
to learn of the court's decision within 90 days.

Wert said the board did not violate California's open meeting law,
the Ralph M. Brown Act. He said when the two counties teamed up in
2006, it was with the understanding that the litigation would be
appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. No further action 
was required, Wert said.

"They're assuming . . . that the board took some action in that
closed session, and there was no action taken," Wert said.

Since September, the nonprofit has sent two letters to the District
Attorney's Office requesting an investigation, said Aaron Smith,
California policy director for the Marijuana Policy Project.

The complaints are currently under review.

"If they find enough to look into they'll open up an investigation,"
said Susan Mickey, spokeswoman for the District Attorney's Office.

If an investigation is launched, the county will be completely
vindicated, Wert said.

"The DA's office will quickly find that there was no violation of the
Brown Act," Wert said.

In response to allegations that the lawsuit is a waste of time,
taxpayer money and county resources, Wert said San Diego County has
conducted all the legal research and all the court filings.

"They've gone through all the expense in this case," he said.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin