HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Ruling Lets ACLU, Others Join Suit
Pubdate: Sat, 05 Aug 2006
Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA)
Copyright: 2006 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.
Note: Seldom prints LTEs from outside it's circulation area.
Author: Leslie Wolf Branscomb, Staff Writer
Cited: NORML
Cited: American Civil Liberties Union
Cited: Drug Policy Alliance
Cited: Americans for Safe Access
Related: The ACLU's Press Release with links to filings
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal)


Groups Back Use of Medical Marijuana

The ACLU and other groups backing medical marijuana use are joining 
the defense against the county's lawsuit challenging the Compassionate Use Act.

The county filed suit in San Diego Superior Court contending that 
state laws allowing medicinal use of marijuana are superseded by 
federal laws banning drug use and possession. The suit was filed in 
February against San Diego NORML - the National Organization for the 
Reform of Marijuana Laws - after the county Board of Supervisors 
refused to implement part of the state law requiring counties to 
issue identification cards to medical marijuana users that could 
protect them from prosecution.

The counties of San Bernardino and Merced later joined in the suit, 
on the county's side.

Superior Court Judge William R. Nevitt Jr. ruled yesterday that the 
American Civil Liberties Union, Americans for Safe Access and the 
Drug Policy Alliance may join the suit on behalf of medical marijuana users.

Nevitt found the groups do have a direct interest in the lawsuit and 
will be allowed to intervene as long as they don't raise any new 
legal issues or seek to delay the case.

The next hearing on the case, a motion for judgment, is scheduled for Nov. 16.

"We look forward to the opportunity to stand together with patients 
in defense of the rights of states to allow medicine to those in 
need," ACLU lawyer David Blair-Loy said in a statement in response to 
the ruling. "We are heartened that the court recognized the necessity 
of giving voice to those truly at risk from the counties' 
ill-conceived actions."

The Compassionate Use Act, allowing use of marijuana for pain relief 
and other medical reasons, was passed by California voters in 1996. 
The state Legislature later added provisions requiring counties to 
keep a database of users and issue identification cards. 
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