San Diego County board votes to appeal medical marijuana ruling
December 11, 2006
SAN DIEGO - The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to appeal a judge's recent decision to reject the county's challenge to California's decade-old law legalizing marijuana use by the chronically ill.
The county sued California and its health services director in February over a state requirement that counties issue identification cards for medical marijuana users and maintain a registry of people who apply for the cards. San Bernardino and Merced counties joined the suit.
The counties argued that local governments shouldn't be bound to uphold state laws that are weaker than the federal blanket ban on marijuana.
Superior Court Judge William R. Nevitt Jr. ruled last week that county officials would not be breaking federal law by giving out state identification cards.
Marijuana users in California can still be prosecuted under federal drug laws.
Fifty-five percent of California voters approved the law in a 1996 vote. Since then, 10 other states have adopted measures protecting qualified patients from prosecution: Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.