Thursday, June 20, 2013
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Supreme Court Rejects San Bernardino and San Diego Counties' Attempts to Overturn California's Medical Marijuana Law
In a May 19 article ("Supreme Court Action Upholds California's Medical Pot Law"), Los Angeles Times reporter David G. Savage writes that "The Supreme Court rejected appeals today from two hold-out counties in Southern California that object to the state's 13-year-old medical marijuana law and claimed it should be struck down as violating the federal drug-control act." He adds, "Without comment, the court turned down the pair of appeals." The ruling in effect forces the counties to begin issuing ID cards, a process in which neither had previously engaged despite the fact that, as Savage reminds readers, the issuance of identification cards has"been required under state law since 2004."
Savage cites Graham Boyd, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Drug Law Reform Project, who proclaimed that "today's order 'marks a significant victory for medical marijuana patients and their advocates nationwide.' It dispels any remaining doubts that the state laws are valid, [Boyd] said, and it leaves 'ample room for states to move forward . . . with independent medical marijuana policies.'"
For residents of San Diego and San Bernardino Counties, however, the effects of the ruling have been somewhat more immediate if not quite swift enough. Writing on June 25 for the Riverside Press-Enterprise ("San Bernardino County to Issue Medical Marijuana ID Cards"), Imran Ghori reported that "San Bernardino County will begin providing identification cards to [...] patients within 45 days." San Diego County began "taking applications" for the cards on July 6, 2009, according to the county's eponymous city's CBS affiliate ("Legal Issues Still Cloudy for Medical Pot in San Diego").