Riverside County cannot join medical marijuana suit

October 29, 2006

K. Kaufmann, Desert Sun

Riverside County will not join a legal challenge to California's medical marijuana law, scheduled to be heard in San Diego Superior Court Nov. 16. The county Board of Supervisors voted earlier this month to join the suit originally filed by San Diego, San Bernardino and Merced counties, but the court ruled Friday that Riverside would not be allowed to join the case.

“The court felt it was too late to intervene in the pending action in San Diego,” said Pam Walls, assistant county counsel. “There was a briefing schedule and allowing (the county) to intervene, that would delay or alter the briefing schedule.”

The suit seeks to overturn state requirements that counties issue medical marijuana identification cards to patients with a doctor's recommendation to use the drug.

Americans for Safe Access, and the California Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, both medical marijuana advocacy groups, and the American Civil Liberties Union are arguing against the counties’ suit.

Both sides are looking to the court to resolve the conflict between federal law banning any use or cultivation of marijuana and California law allowing medical use.

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