U.S. Supreme Court Upholds State Medical Marijuana Laws
May 18, 2009
(ChattahBox)—The U.S. Supreme court on Monday, upheld the right of states to implement and administer their own medical marijuana laws, affirming the long held position that federal law does not preempt state medical marijuana laws. The Supreme Court refused to hear San Diego’s case against California, where it claimed it wasn’t required to issue state mandated medical marijuana IDs, because the federal ban on marijuana trumped California’s law.
This decision today comes as great news to the thousands of patients in California suffering from chronic pain and various medical conditions, who can now benefit from the use of medical marijuana. Ten California conservative holdout counties have been fighting the state’s medical marijuana ID law since 2004, stubbornly refusing to issue the IDs with a doctor’s approval to patients requesting them.
The state IDs are required for a patient to enter medical marijuana dispensaries and are needed to show to police to prove the right to possess the drug.
Today’s decision removes the last barrier to full implementation of California’s medical marijuana laws on a statewide basis. The conservative holdout counties no longer can refuse to comply with state law, based on their faulty federal preemption argument.
This ruling also has positive implications for other states that are planning to enact medical marijuana legislation. To date, thirteen states have enacted laws permitting the use of marijuana for medical purposes with a doctor’s approval. The states of Illinois, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey and New York are also considering medical marijuana laws.
With the Obama administration announcing it will no longer raid state medical marijuana dispensaries, providing they comply with state law, the political and legal landscape is positive for medical marijuana legislation, and it’s about time.