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Dec-02-2008 20:17printcomments

State Medical Cannabis Laws are Final

Supreme Court says legal cannabis is not pre-empted by federal law.

Salem-News.com
Police in Oregon and California and other states have refused to follow state medical marijuana laws, now the nation's highest court is telling them that they have no choice in the matter. Courtesy: Wikimedia

(OAKLAND, Calif.) - The U.S. Supreme Court refused to review a landmark decision yesterday in which California state courts found that its medical cannabis law is not preempted by federal law.

The Supreme Court’s decision in Garden Grove v. Superior Court means that federal law does not prevent state and local governments from implementing medical cannabis laws adopted by voters or state legislatures.

In short: the group Americans for Safe Access, says federal law does not override state law on medical cannabis.

Yesterday’s decision follows three years of strategic legal work by Americans for Safe Access in a California case involving the return of wrongfully confiscated medicine, says Steph Sherer, the Executive Director of ASA.

"The Court’s decision has broad implications for medical cannabis patients in the 13 states where medical cannabis is legal, and signals a sea change in the impasse between state and federal laws. Better adherence to state medical cannabis laws by local police will result in fewer needless arrests and other problems for patients, allowing for better implementation of medical cannabis laws in all states that have adopted them."


Sherer says medical cannabis advocates should be encouraged by opportunities for change in federal policy with a new Presidential Administration and shift in Congress.

But until now, federal pre-emption has haunted patients whose state laws allow for medical cannabis use.

This decision further clears the way for state implementation and Sherer says it also adds new urgency to ASA’s work in the nation’s capitol, where they have been working full-time to change federal policy since 2006.

A clear example of a California law enforcement agency wasting large amounts of time and money trying to bring down a lawful medical marijuana dispensary owner, is found in the story of San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Pat Hedges. (see Tim King's Salem-News.com article: Meet California's Lawless Sheriff)

This Salem-News.com article from December 1st 2008, has more information about the new clarification to federal interpretation of state cannabis laws: U.S. Supreme Court: State Medical Marijuana Laws Not Preempted by Federal Law




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