Supreme Court Affirms CA Medical Marijuana Law—YES! Today, the US Supreme Court REFUSED to hear a landmark case. They denied hearing the case brought by San Diego County. It stemmed from a law suit they filled back in ’06. That suit challenged the state-mandated use of ID cards for medical marijuana patients. The ID card program was adopted in 2004. It resulted from the legislature’s passage of SB 420, the Medical Marijuana Program Act. The ID cards can substitute for doctor recommendations for the use of cannabis. And allow patients to access medical marijuana dispensaries in California. It also can be shown to police officers who find patients in possession of marijuana.
SB 420 the Medical Marijuana Program Act
SB 420, or the Medical Marijuana Program Act, is a California state law. It was enacted in 2003 to clarify the state’s medical marijuana laws. It also establishes guidelines for the cultivation, distribution, and use of medical cannabis. The law was named after Senate Bill 420, which was the bill number assigned to the legislation.
Under SB 420, qualified patients who have been diagnosed with a serious medical condition can obtain a recommendation from a licensed physician. This allows them to use cannabis for medical purposes. Patients can then apply for a Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC) from their county health department. That gives them legal protection under California’s medical marijuana laws.
SB 420 also established guidelines for the cultivation and distribution of medical cannabis. This includes limits on the amount of cannabis that patients and caregivers can possess and cultivate. The law allowed for the creation of medical marijuana cooperatives and collectives. This enable patients to grow and distribute cannabis to other qualified patients.
While SB 420 was an important step towards establishing legal protections for medical cannabis patients in California, it has since been superseded by the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA). It’s also known as Proposition 64, which was passed in 2016 and legalized recreational cannabis in the state. However, many of the provisions of SB 420 are still relevant to the medical cannabis industry in California today.
When was SB 420 passed?
SB 420, or the Medical Marijuana Program Act, was passed by the California State Legislature and signed into law by Governor Gray Davis on October 14, 2003. The law was named after the bill number assigned to it, Senate Bill 420. SB 420 clarified the state’s medical marijuana laws and established guidelines for the cultivation, distribution, and use of medical cannabis in California. The law has since been superseded by the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), also known as Proposition 64, which was passed in 2016 and legalized recreational cannabis in the state.
San Diego Superior Court
Well, San Diego decided not to play along with the ID card game arguing that the federal ban on weed trumps state law. The San Diego Superior Court and the Fourth District Court of Appeals rejected that argument. And, the California Supreme Court refused to review the case in 2008. Despite those failures the San Diego Board of Supervisors voted to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court! And, well that didn’t work out! The end of this case and the Obama administration’s decision not to raid law-abiding medical marijuana clubs has supercharged the legalization movement now.
“The courts have made clear that federal law does not preempt California’s medical marijuana law. And that local officials must comply with that law.” Said Joe Elford, chief counsel with Americans for Safe Access (ASA), a national medical marijuana advocacy group with a large presence in California. “No longer will local officials be able to hide behind federal law and resist upholding California’s medical marijuana law.”
“The Supreme Court and the lower courts in California have blown away the myth that federal law somehow prevents states from legalizing medical marijuana.” Said Rob Kampia, executive director for the Marijuana Policy Project.
ASA has also notified ten weed-unfriendly holdout counties. They include Colusa, Madera, Mariposa, Modoc, Mono, San Bernardino, San Diego, Solano, Stanislaus, and Sutter. Telling them of their legal obligation to implement the ID card program. Change is coming whether they like it or not.
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