Patients Get OK To Oppose County's MMJ Challenge

Patients Get OK To Oppose County's MMJ Challenge
Posted by CN Staff on August 04, 2006 at 06:30:20 PT
By North County Times 
Source: North County Times 
San Diego, CA -- Medical marijuana patients will have the chance to oppose San Diego County's challenge to overturn California's "Compassionate Use" law, according to a tentative ruling Thursday by a Superior Court judge.Judge William R. Nevitt issued a tentative ruling Thursday that said several patients in Southern California who use marijuana medicinally ---- and represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Americans for Safe Access and the Drug Policy Alliance ---- could "intervene" and oppose San Diego County's lawsuit. Nevitt is scheduled to hold a hearing and issue a final ruling today.
The county angered local medical marijuana patients and state and national marijuana advocacy groups in December by filing a lawsuit seeking to overturn California's voter-approved, 1996 medical marijuana law.In June, Nevitt rejected the state's request to toss out the county's lawsuit, and said it should go to trial ---- which could happen in September.Meanwhile, the ACLU, Americans for Safe Access and the Drug Policy Alliance, filed a request last month to be able to intervene in the lawsuit, to represent the interests of actual patients who use marijuana as medicine.Source: North County Times (Escondido, CA)Published: Thursday, August 3, 2006Copyright: 2006 North County TimesContact: letters nctimes.comWebsite: http://www.nctimes.comRelated Articles & Web Sites:Drug Policy Alliance For Safe Access County's Marijuana Suit Should Go To Trial State Asks Court To Toss SD County Marijuana Suit Advocates File Challenge To San Diego
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on August 04, 2006 at 14:15:01 PT
Press Release from The ACLU
Medical Marijuana Patients Get Say in Counties’ Legal Challenge to California Medical Marijuana Law ***CONTACT: media aclu.orgAugust 4, 2006ACLU, Drug Policy Alliance and Americans for Safe Access Step In to Represent Medical Marijuana Patients in LawsuitSAN DIEGO – A San Diego Superior Court ruled today that lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans for Safe Access and the Drug Policy Alliance will be permitted to intervene in a lawsuit brought by several California counties seeking to thwart the state’s Compassionate Use Act, which makes medical marijuana legal for patients with a doctor’s recommendation. The groups joined the case on behalf of medical marijuana patients and their caregivers and doctors in order to assure their adequate representation in the legal proceedings. “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,” said David Blair-Loy, an attorney with the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties. “We are heartened that the court recognized the necessity of giving voice to those truly at risk from the counties’ ill-conceived actions.”San Diego, San Bernardino and Merced counties argued in a lawsuit filed in state court that federal laws prohibiting all use of marijuana invalidate state laws that allow qualified patients to use medical marijuana. The ACLU, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) and the Drug Policy Alliance (the Alliance) filed legal papers on July 7, 2006 seeking to intervene in the proceedings.“As the largest grassroots organization of patients, doctors and scientists advocating for safe and legal access, we feel it’s critically important that California’s medical marijuana laws be respected by everyone,” said Steph Sherer, executive director of ASA.Daniel Abrahamson, director of legal affairs for the Alliance, added, “These county governments have ignored the needs of their sick and dying residents and the advice of California's physicians. By intervening in the lawsuit, patients will have the chance to confront their rogue county officials in court and defend the legality of the Compassionate Use Act.” In addition to entering the case, the group’s filing asked for a court order compelling the counties to abide by and implement California’s medical marijuana laws, as well as an order affirming that the state’s medical marijuana laws are not preempted by contrary federal statutes. 
The lawsuit, initially brought by San Diego County and later joined by San Bernardino and Merced counties, challenges state laws that permit patients to use, and doctors to recommend, medical marijuana under explicit exemptions from state criminal laws that otherwise prohibit all marijuana use. The counties’ lawsuit further challenges the state’s Medical Marijuana Program Act, which calls for the implementation of an identification card program that would allow police and others to more easily identify legitimate medical marijuana patients.The ACLU, the Alliance and ASA maintain that state medical marijuana laws are not preempted by the federal ban on medical marijuana. While the federal government is free to enforce its prohibition on medical marijuana, even in states such as California that permit its use, all states remain free to adopt and implement policies of their own design – an opinion shared by the California Attorney General’s office and the attorneys general of several other states, including Colorado, Hawaii and Oregon, that permit medical use of marijuana.The groups represent Wendy Christakes, Pamela Sakuda, William Britt and Yvonne Westbrook, Californians who use physician-recommended marijuana to treat medical conditions and their side-effects, including chronic pain and sciatica, multiple sclerosis, rectal cancer, epilepsy and post-polio syndrome. The groups also represent Sakuda’s spouse and caregiver, Norbert Litzinger, as well as Dr. Stephen O’Brien, a physician who specializes in HIV/AIDS treatment in Oakland, California, and believes that many of his seriously ill patients benefit from the medical use of marijuana.In addition to being co-counsel, ASA is also a party to the proceedings on behalf of its membership, which includes thousands of medical marijuana patients, caregivers and physicians residing in California. The Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM) is also represented by the groups. WAMM is a medical marijuana collective and hospice located in Santa Cruz, California, whose 250 members, the majority of whom are terminally ill, use marijuana to treat a range of conditions.The groups’ legal papers are available online at: ACLU’s January 19, 2006 letter to the San Diego Supervisors explaining why California’s medical marijuana laws are not preempted by federal law is online at: Attorney General Bill Lockyer’s opinion issued to the state’s Department of Health Services affirming the validity of the state’s medical marijuana laws is available at: background on the case can be found at:
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Comment #1 posted by mayan on August 04, 2006 at 06:50:26 PT
It ought to be interesting if sick and/or dying medicinal cannabis users get to confront the San Diego County Supervisors face to face. I'd pay money to see that. I'd like to see the fascists try to tell those patients that their state law is null & void and that they can't have their damned medicine! Meanwhile, more of the taxpayer's money is being spent suppressing the rights of those very taxpayer's. In other cannabis-related news, it's looking very good for the Colorado Initiative...Marijuana measure may make ballot: Progressive...Cleveland billionaire backs S.C. marijuana measure: unrelated news, it's looking very bad for the neo-cons... Generals warn of civil war in Iraq: could bode disastrous for the neo-cons come November. They desperately need a distraction or something to overshadow their horrendous Middle East policy.We must keep our eyes peeled...False Flag News - Saving the world one drill at a time: blogger has some great audio/video interviews up today...9/11 Blogger:
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