Pubdate: Tue, 24 Jan 2012
Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)
Copyright: 2012 Appeal-Democrat
Author: Jonathan Edwards


A Live Oak resident is suing to stop a ban on growing medical 
marijuana in the city that he said would force him to make "cruel choices."

James Maral is seeking an injunction in Sutter County Superior Court 
on to temporarily halt a ban on cultivating marijuana that the Live 
Oak City Council passed Dec. 21 and that took effect Friday. The suit 
seeking the injunction was filed Monday afternoon.

A judge is scheduled to hear arguments from Maral and the city of 
Live Oak at 3 p.m. today in Superior Court.

"I will suffer irreparable harm as will my aged and infirm mother," 
said Maral, who said he grows 12 marijuana plants in his backyard, 
half for himself and half for his mother, Donneda Maral.

There are dozens of Live Oak residents like the Marals who have a 
doctor's recommendation and grow their own medicine, according to the 
suit. Maral is urging the court to temporarily stay the ban while he 
and others pursue ways to kill it permanently.

The ban would force patients taking marijuana to choose between 
suffering without medicine, getting arrested or dealing drugs, 
according to the complaint. "If I can't cultivate my own personal 
supply of marijuana, I will be forced to purchase it through whatever 
channels are available," Maral says in the suit. "And neither my 
mother nor I can afford to not grow our medicine."

State law guarantees Maral that right, the suit claims. Voters in 
1996 passed Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act, which gives 
patients the OK to use marijuana to cope with their illnesses so long 
as they have a recommendation from a doctor. The city, by banning 
those patients from growing that medicine, is running afoul of state law.

"The city has acted in excess of its power," the complaint reads. 
"Live Oak has taken upon itself to override a state constitutional 
amendment that over 15 years gave ... medical marijuana patients the 
right to cultivate and use marijuana to treat their medical problems."

The ban doesn't stop Maral or any other patient from smoking, eating 
or otherwise using marijuana to ease their pain, said Live Oak City 
Manager Jim Goodwin. It just stops them from growing it in Live Oak.

"The city's intent is not to deny anyone's ability to have 
marijuana," Goodwin said. "The City Council is simply trying to 
address a land use conflict in our community."

The City Council voted unanimously last month to stop them from doing 
just that. Council members agreed with dozens of residents who said 
marijuana grows plagued their neighborhoods with a horrible stench 
and the threat of violence from thieves willing to bust into 
backyards for a quick score.

"I don't want people to be afraid, in their front yard, in their 
backyard, to be afraid for their children to play," said council 
member Diane Hodges.
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