FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 31, 2008
Contact: Keith Stroup, NORML 202-483-5500
ACLU Drug Policy Project 831-471-9000
California Appeals Court Upholds Medical Marijuana Law Against Federal Preemption
In a case brought by the counties of San Diego and San Bernardino against San Diego NORML and others, California’s Fourth district court of appeal ruled today that the federal Controlled Substances Act does not preempt California’s medical marijuana ID card program. Citing the federal supremacy clause, the counties sued rather than implement the ID card program, which was enacted by the California legislature in 2003 as part of SB420. That legislation followed voters’ approval of Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act, in 1996.
In a unanimous opinion authored by Justice Alex McDonald, the court ruled, “We conclude the identification card laws do not pose a significant impediment to specific federal objectives embodied in the CSA [federal Controlled Substances Act]. The purpose of the CSA is to combat recreational drug use, not to regulate a state’s medical practices.” It also ruled, “Congress does not have the authority to compel the states to direct their law enforcement personnel to enforce federal laws.”
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