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California Court Affirms Patients' Rights to Grow Collectively and Sue Over Illegal Raids

As reported by Steve Elliot on his SFWeekly.com blog, "The Snitch" on July 1 ("Chronic City: Court Says Patients Can Collectively Grow Marijuana"), California's Third District Court of Appeals upheld a similar ruling issued by Butte County Superior Judge Barbara Roberts in 2007 in the case of County of Butte v. Superior Court. The case began as a lawsuit filed by Americans for Safe Access (ASA) on behalf of David Williams and six fellow medical marijuana patients after Williams' home was subjected to a warrantless search and Butte County Sheriff's deputies "forced Williams to uproot more than two dozen marijuana plants or face prosecution". However, the appellate court's 2-1 ruling in favor of the Superior Court bodes well not just for Williams and his cohorts but for medical marijuana patients and caregivers throughout the state.

The favorable ruling, as ASA chief counsel Joe Elford states in Elliot's blog post, "sends yet another strong message to state law enforcement that they must abide by the medical marijuana laws of the state and not the competing federal laws". Elford goes on to assert that, "In addition to protecting patients' rights to collectively cultivate, the Court has reaffirmed that medical marijuana patients enjoy the same constitutional rights as everyone else, [...] including the ability to file civil rights actions when those rights are violated." Furthermore, Elliot cites "[o]bservers [who] say [that] today's court decision could have repercussions statewide in other (predominantly rural) counties with pot-phobic local law enforcement."

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