Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Medical marijuana implementation: no excuses left

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the Orange County city of Garden Grove's appeal of a California appellate court decision ordering it to return marijuana it had confiscated from a patient with a physician's recommendation, in accordance with California law. I don't expect that this will be the end of official foot-dragging in implementing a law passed by the voters 12 years (!) ago, but it eliminates virtually the last excuse these cops and thugs have. The cops and Garden Grove pretended to be concerned that by returning the guy's medicine they would be violating federal law against distribution. But the appellate court told them that when a court orders return of property they are simply creatures of the court; their duty is to follow its orders. If the feds want to try to arrest a judge, let them have at it.

The duty of state and local authorities when there is a question about whether state law conflicts with federal law is to enforce California law unless and until a federal court issues a ruling that federal law supersedes state law. That hasn't happened and it isn't going to happen. It's long past time for those sworn to uphold the law to start doing it instead of trying to undermine it. Here's the Register's editorial on the subject.

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