Tuesday, December 02, 2008

State Law TRUMPS Fed Law on Medical Marijuana

US Supreme Court Rules State Medical Marijuana Laws Not Preempted by Federal Law

Americans for Safe Access
For Immediate Release: *December 1, 2008

*U.S. Supreme Court: State Medical Marijuana Laws Not Preempted by Federal
Law */medical marijuana case appealed by the City of Garden Grove was denied
review today/

*Washington, DC* -- The U.S. Supreme Court refused to review a landmark
decision today in which California state courts found that its medical
marijuana law was not preempted by federal law. The state appellate court
decision from November 28, 2007, ruled that "it is not the job of the local
police to enforce the federal drug laws." The case, involving Felix Kha, a
medical marijuana patient from Garden Grove, was the result of a wrongful
seizure of medical marijuana by local police in June 2005.
Medical marijuana advocates hailed today's decision as a huge victory in
clarifying law enforcement's obligation to uphold state law. Advocates
assert that better adherence to state medical marijuana laws by local police
will result in fewer needless arrests and seizures. In turn, this will allow
for better implementation of medical marijuana laws not only in California,
but in all states that have adopted such laws.

"It's now settled that state law enforcement officers cannot arrest medical
marijuana patients or seize their medicine simply because they prefer the
contrary federal law," said Joe Elford, Chief Counsel with Americans for
Safe Access (ASA), the medical marijuana advocacy organization that
represented the defendant Felix Kha in a case that the City of Garden Grove
appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. "Perhaps, in the future local government
will think twice about expending significant time and resources to defy a
law that is overwhelmingly supported by the people of our state."

California medical marijuana patient Felix Kha was pulled over by the Garden
Grove Police Department and cited for possession of marijuana, despite Kha
showing the officers proper documentation. The charge against Kha was
subsequently dismissed, with the Superior Court of Orange County issuing an
order to return Kha's wrongfully seized 8 grams of medical marijuana. The
police, backed by the City of Garden Grove, refused to return Kha's medicine
and the city appealed. Before the 41-page decision was issued a year ago by
California's Fourth District Court of Appeal, the California Attorney
General filed a "friend of the court" brief on behalf of Kha's right to
possess his medicine. The California Supreme Court then denied review in

"The source of local law enforcement's resistance to upholding state law is
an outdated, harmful federal policy with regard to medical marijuana," said
ASA spokesperson Kris Hermes. "This should send a message to the federal
government that it's time to establish a compassionate policy more
consistent with the 13 states that have adopted medical marijuana laws."

Further information:
Today's U.S. Supreme Court Order denying review:
Decision by the California Fourth Appellate District Court:
Felix Kha's return of property case:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is really great news. Hopefully other states begin to follow.