San Diego City Council Supports ACLU Medical Marijuana Suit

In another boost to patients who need medical marijuana to relieve chronic symptoms of cancer, AIDS, and other diseases, the city of San Diego filed an amicus brief in the lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups against the County of San Diego, which refuses to implement a state law, the Compassionate Use Act, passed in 1996 permitting medicinal use of the drug. A subsequent measure passed in 2003, specifies the quantity that patients can possess.

The California Attorney General’s office joined the ACLU, Americans for Safe Access, and the Drug Policy Alliance in arguing that state medical marijuana laws are not invalidated by conflicting federal statutes – an opinion previously voiced by the attorneys general of several other states, including Colorado, Hawaii and Oregon, which permit medical use of marijuana. The county of San Diego makes the argument that the state law violates federal law, and thus should not be enforced.

The groups argued that while the federal government is free to enforce its ban on medical marijuana, even in states such as California that permit its use, all states remain free to adopt and implement medical marijuana policies of their own design.

The city’s legal brief argued that San Diego “has a compelling interest in ensuring its citizens have the benefit of the medical marijuana program.”

City Councilmember Toni Atkins was the force behind getting the city to file a brief. Mayor Jerry Sanders also supports medical marijuana for qualified patients, and has instructed San Diego city police offiers to respect the state law.

For background on the case, read about past decisions here.

Latest Coalition Brief

San Diego Appellate Brief.FINAL.pdf

City of San Diego Amicus Brief

City of SD brief.pdf