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Ruling Lets ACLU, Others Join Suit


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The ACLU and other groups backing medical marijuana use are joining the defense against the county's lawsuit challenging the Compassionate Use Act.

The county filed suit in San Diego Superior Court contending that state laws allowing medicinal use of marijuana are superseded by federal laws banning drug use and possession. The suit was filed in February against San Diego NORML – the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws – after the county Board of Supervisors refused to implement part of the state law requiring counties to issue identification cards to medical marijuana users that could protect them from prosecution.

The counties of San Bernardino and Merced later joined in the suit, on the county's side.

Superior Court Judge William R. Nevitt Jr. ruled yesterday that the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans for Safe Access and the Drug Policy Alliance may join the suit on behalf of medical marijuana users.

Nevitt found the groups do have a direct interest in the lawsuit and will be allowed to intervene as long as they don't raise any new legal issues or seek to delay the case.

The next hearing on the case, a motion for judgment, is scheduled for Nov. 16.

“We look forward to the opportunity to stand together with patients in defense of the rights of states to allow medicine to those in need,” ACLU lawyer David Blair-Loy said in a statement in response to the ruling. “We are heartened that the court recognized the necessity of giving voice to those truly at risk from the counties' ill-conceived actions.”

The Compassionate Use Act, allowing use of marijuana for pain relief and other medical reasons, was passed by California voters in 1996. The state Legislature later added provisions requiring counties to keep a database of users and issue identification cards.

Newshawk: Happykid - 420 Magazine
Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune
Pub Date: 5 August, 2006
Author: Leslie Wolf Branscomb
Copyright: 2006 Union-Tribune Publishing Co
Contact: leslie.branscomb@uniontrib.com
Website: http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/
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