County Moves Marijuana Challenge To State Court

County Moves Marijuana Challenge To State Court
Posted by CN Staff on February 03, 2006 at 06:51:40 PT
By Gig Conaughton, Staff Writer
Source: North County Times 
San Diego, CA -- San Diego County leaders have abruptly switched their precedent-setting lawsuit to overturn California's medical marijuana law from federal to state court this week.County officials denied that they moved their lawsuit ---- which has angered medical marijuana patients and advocacy groups ---- because they feared the lawsuit would be thrown out of federal court.
They said that going through the state court system could be a winning legal strategy ---- by still leaving the option of getting to the U.S. Supreme Court and avoiding the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which has been friendlier to marijuana advocates than opponents."This could still take us to the U.S. Supreme Court," County Counsel John Sansone said. "And if it avoids the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, so be it."Attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union, who were seeking court permission to oppose the county's federal lawsuit, said they would do the same in the state system."Tell them, 'I guess we'll see you in court,' " ACLU attorney Allen Hopper said.Both the county and marijuana advocacy groups say the county's challenge is precedent-setting because it is the first to try to overturn any of the medical marijuana laws that voters have approved in 11 states.The county, pushed by a 4-0 vote in December by its Board of Supervisors, with Supervisor Ron Roberts absent, filed a lawsuit seeking to overthrow California's medical marijuana law on Jan. 20.The lawsuit wants the courts to invalidate the 9-year-old, voter-approved "Compassionate Use Act" ---- Proposition 215 ---- on the grounds that it should be pre-empted by federal law, which says that all marijuana use is illegal and that marijuana has no medicinal value.But Sansone said Thursday that after more research, county attorneys filed essentially the same lawsuit in state Superior Court on Wednesday, and withdrew its federal filing.Hopper and state health department officials said last week that they thought the U.S. District Court might throw out the county's federal lawsuit before it was even heard ---- because it lacked legal "standing."Hopper said counties are not allowed to sue states in federal court over federal law.On Thursday, Sansone said that suggestion had nothing to do with the county's decision to take the state court route."We believe we would have prevailed on that 'standing' issue," Sansone said. "But, for a whole lot of other issues relating to legal strategy, we think this case is best suited to the state courts."Hopper, meanwhile, suggested that if the county was trying to avoid the federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals because it feared the judges there would not side with them, it could backfire.Hopper said the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals was "one of the most often reversed" courts in the country. He said that if the 9th Circuit judges had ruled against the county's challenge, it would almost guarantee a review by the U.S. Supreme Court."If the 9th Circuit says, 'The sky is blue,' they (the Supreme Court) would want to review the decision and actually say the sky is gray," Hopper said.The county's new lawsuit uses the same pre-emption argument as the federal suit they withdrew. But it expands the scope of the suit somewhat.The federal lawsuit was filed against the state and Sandra Shewry, director of California's Department of Health Services. The state lawsuit also names the San Diego chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws to the list.Sansone said NORML sent a letter to county supervisors threatening to sue them because the county had refused a state order in November to create an identification card and registration program for medical marijuana users, to help implement Prop. 215.The new lawsuit alleges that the county believes its defense against the group's threatened lawsuit is that Prop. 215 should be overturned because it clashes with federal law.The county's argument cites the U.S. Constitution's "Supremacy Clause" ---- which states that the Constitution and federal law should be "supreme" over state laws ---- and that a 1961 U.S. treaty with 150 other nations that states that marijuana is illegal.Complete Title: County Moves Medical Marijuana Challenge To State CourtSource: North County Times (CA)Author: Gig Conaughton, Staff Writer Published: February 03, 2006Copyright: 2006 North County Times Contact: letters nctimes.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:ACLU To Mull Joining Medical Marijuana Suit Bernardino Joins SD County MJ Lawsuit Advocates File Challenge To San Diego
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #6 posted by Matt Elrod on March 07, 2006 at 09:41:30 PT
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by mayan on February 03, 2006 at 17:50:36 PT
Second Thoughts
Yes, these dolts have stepped in deep sh*t. They'll need more than shovels to get out!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by kaptinemo on February 03, 2006 at 15:56:26 PT:
They believe themselves to be on the front lines
of a 'culture war'. Very well. In any given war, the first ones on the firing line usually get the chop. They might reconsider if they understood the term 'forlorn hope' as it applies to military conflicts, as they occupy the same position as those unfortunates sent out to waste their lives while the regular soldiers sit back and watch.Then they would understand their real status as pawns in a game for stakes in which their political futures have already been sacrificed. Originally, when they made this singularly *stupid* move, they may have believed themselves invulnerable to political retaliation, but they are learning otherwise, hence their attempt to find what they believe to be a more friendlier venue. But it's too late; the die is cast, the Rubicon has been crossed...and it's time to pay the piper.It won't save their political hides, for what they have done is arrogantly attempt to NULLIFY DEMOCRACY ITSELF. Their neighbors are making it clear that that's not such a good idea. Many's the time I wished I lived in California; this is one such instance. Carving up these arrogant turkeys would be a positive pleasure...
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by unkat27 on February 03, 2006 at 10:41:52 PT
Off top: More DEA pressure obvious in Canada
Try and tell me that something like this would happen in Canada if it weren't for fascist imperial orgs like the DEA. "Canadian Legal Exemptee's Garden Raided by Cops"“Cannabis has kept me alive and healthy,” says former Health Canada licensee #PL-TMS-121597025255-03-A.“My license expired on October 12, 2005, but I had my application in on time. I sent it by Purolator and I have an acknowledgment that Health Canada received it October 11, 2005. But they have not yet renewed it because of a number of stumbling blocks put in my way. After they received my renewal on October 11, they said they had lost the photos I had sent for my laminated ID card. I sent a second set in immediately, signed by my current doctor on the reverse to authenticate my identity.“Health Canada called me back in early November, asking why the signature of the doctor on the photos was different from the doctor on the application. I said my original doctor who had signed my application 18 months prior retired. Health Canada said I had to submit a new application with the same doctor on the application and the photos.Old Faithful, stolen by police
Old Faithful, stolen by police
“I got that done as fast as possible. Health Canada reminded me that since my license had expired, I could no longer legally grow or possess. They said, 'it will come eventually', but until then I could not grow or possess. This was madness, of course – what was I supposed to do?"Then Health Canada called up my doctor and began a long extended correspondence with him as to why he recommended an increase in my dosage. Currently I can grow 25 plants, but I grow a low-yielding strain – quite wonderful for me, but I was hoping to increase my dosage from 5 grams to 10 grams daily as that’s what’s really required. So this doctor recommended an increase from 5 to 10 grams, which held up the reissue of my license.”I continued to grow what I required and on Tuesday January 31, 2006, the police came in and took the 8 mature Old Faithful plants – only a few days from harvest – that you can see in the photos. There were 8 plants ready, 8 in vegetative state, and 5 cuttings. The police listed the number of plants seized at 16, well below my license limits."--- more at link ---
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by OverwhelmSam on February 03, 2006 at 10:00:29 PT
They Think They Are In Charge of the People
I think it's time the people show them who's really in charge.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by dongenero on February 03, 2006 at 07:24:18 PT
abuse of power
This vendetta the county board has against the voters is reprehensible. They have no place in public service.What is especially aggravating about this kind of thing is how they can waste the tax payers money fighting the wishes of those same taxpayers. Then, even when they fail and the will of the voters prevail, the money will have been wasted with no recourse for the taxpayers. There needs to be a legal retribution for this arrogant, smug abuse of power.
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment