Medical marijuana group sues Solano County for not issuing ID cards

January 04, 2009

Henry K. Lee , San Francisco Chronicle

A medical-marijuana advocacy group filed a lawsuit today against Solano County for its failure to issue identification cards to users of medicinal cannabis as required by state law. The suit, filed in Solano County Superior Court, said the county is among several in California that have failed to give out the cards, which protect their holders from arrest by state or local police for possessing small amounts of marijuana.

"Solano County cannot simply flaunt its obligation under the law," Joe Elford, an attorney for Americans for Safe Access, said in a statement.

The group sent letters to Solano County in August and October urging it to comply with the 2003 law requiring the marijuana ID card program, Elford said.

In July, a state appeals court upheld California's medical marijuana law enacted in 1996, rejecting arguments by San Diego and San Bernardino counties that allowing patients to use the drug with their doctor's approval condoned violations of federal narcotics laws.

Of California's 58 counties, 51 are now in compliance with the ID card program, Elford said.

Jo Ann Parker, deputy Solano County counsel, said the county had not yet been served with the suit. But she noted that the Board of Supervisors is scheduled to discuss the ID card program in closed session Jan. 13.

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