U.S. Supreme Court sides in favor of California's Medical Marijuana laws, sides against San Diego and San Bernardino Counties' illegal prosecution of pot users.

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    May 19, 2009 5:20 AM GMT
    This just in:

    The U.S. Supreme Court will not take up San Diego County’s challenge to state medical marijuana laws.

    For more than three years the county has been fighting in court to overturn state laws that require counties to issue medical marijuana identification cards. The county contends federal law, which does not recognize medical marijuana usage, trumps the state law.

    The county has lost that argument in state trial and appellate courts, and the state Supreme Court declined to take up the case, too. The county’s last, long-shot chance was to have the U.S. Supreme Court take up the case.

    San Bernardino and Merced counties initially joined the suit, but Merced eventually dropped out. The high court also rejected San Bernardino’s petition to take up the case.

    In other words, the oft-heard prohibitionist refrain that federal law trumps state medical marijuana laws has no legal merit.

    None. Nada. Zero.

    To anyone who has followed the unethical actions of the San Diego and San Bernardino Supervisors over the past three years, the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear their appeal shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, the counties’ vapid arguments had previously been struck down — unanimously — by the Superior Court of the state of California the 4th District Court of Appeals.

    In addition, the Legislative Counsel of California, the state Attorney General’s Office, and a majority of the California legislature had also previously determined that local politicians and law enforcement were obligated to uphold the provisions of California’s medical marijuana laws.

    Finally, California’s constitution is also quite clear on this point — mandating that police have a sworn duty to uphold state law, not to enforce federal statutes.

    Let’s be blunt: San Diego and San Bernardino’s protracted lawsuits — lawsuits that arguably cost county taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars and jeopardized the health and safety of thousands (if not tens of thousands) of citizens — were never about resolving legal ambiguity.

    Rather, it was about the arrogance and recalcitrance of those who willfully chose to abuse their power and position to hamstring the will of the voters, the legislature, and the courts.

    And while this particular legal battle is now over, our outrage shouldn’t be.

    (Reprinted from the NORML website.)
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    May 19, 2009 9:45 AM GMT
    it's about time California takes a step in the right directon. For being a liberal state, they sure have had their share of conservative movements. Now, I'm going to get hammered to celebrate and then drive home!
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    May 19, 2009 2:01 PM GMT
    Do you have any idea how the legal system works? the supreme court refusing to take up the case does not mean that San diego was wrong. the supreme court refusing to take the case means they want more time to see how the issue plays out. Generally the supreme court will not take up a case without a circuit split where different parts of the country are doing different things and they feel that one way is working better than another. They are likely just waiting for more states to bring up medical marijuana cases so they can see how things work out. the supreme court does not like to take up issues that have not been played out because they are the highest court in the land and what they say goes for everyone, they like to make sure they know what they are talking about.
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    May 19, 2009 4:03 PM GMT
    chungo44 saidDo you have any idea how the legal system works? the supreme court refusing to take up the case does not mean that San diego was wrong. the supreme court refusing to take the case means they want more time to see how the issue plays out. Generally the supreme court will not take up a case without a circuit split where different parts of the country are doing different things and they feel that one way is working better than another. They are likely just waiting for more states to bring up medical marijuana cases so they can see how things work out. the supreme court does not like to take up issues that have not been played out because they are the highest court in the land and what they say goes for everyone, they like to make sure they know what they are talking about.


    I don't claim to be a lawyer or a Supreme Court Justice. But I think what they just ruled comes under the heading of PRECEDENT, at least in a vague manner.

    Their refusal to hear this case sends a strong message to those counties that refuse to follow the law as passed by the voters or legislators of any given state. It is a considerable shift from their stance of 8 years ago, when they ruled against medical marijuana, as their judgment during that earlier ruling was based on the judges' flawed logic, Bush-era doctrines of oppression, and a right-wing refusal to consider the mountains of evidence, by the medical community, that favored compassionate use by AIDS patients and those suffering with cancer. In short, at that time, the right-wing judges on the court felt that THEIR idiology trumped expert medical opinion, the will of the doctors and the voters be damned. In short, they supported flawed ideology over compassion and logic, as well as years of evidence.

    Now, they have taken a more thoughtful, moderate approach to the subject. They may be adopting a "we'll see" stance, but at least that's a step in the right direction.
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    May 19, 2009 4:11 PM GMT
    I think California clearly has the masses headed in the right direction on this issue.

    It's high time that the absurdity of The War on Drugs comes to a close.

    I'm not sure that The Supreme Court set much precedent here, but, it did leave it alone, for the moment, which, in and of itself, says something. I'm more inclined to think The Justices are giving it time to shake out in the lower courts, but, I don't think that's all bad.

    Clearly, Prohibition does not work, and has far reaching negative consequences on society.
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    May 19, 2009 4:14 PM GMT
    chuckystud saidI think California clearly has the masses headed in the right direction on this issue.

    It's high time that the absurdity of The War on Drugs comes to a close.


    Thank you, Chucky! Hear Hear!