Smoke This: Court Refuses To Intervene

More

We've been hearing recently about the various public victories for marijuana advocates, and this might be the most significant: the Supreme Court has refused to hear challenges to California's medical marijuana law, brought by San Diego and San Bernardino counties.

The counties, as reported by The Huffington Post's Ryan Grim, argued that federal drug laws trump California's--and that they shouldn't be required, as they are under California law, to implement ID-card programs, where approved medical marijuana users are issued ID cards they can show to police if found possessing marijuana, and which they can use to enter medical marijuana shops.

A state appeals court had ruled that federal drug law was not intended to restrict states' medical practices, according to the AP.

There seem to be two legal issues in the legal debate over medical marijuana: whether state medical marijuana laws actually contradict federal drug laws (the California appeals court didn't think so), and whether local governments and/or local law enforcement can take it upon themselves to enforce federal law as opposed to state law.

The Obama administration has said it will back off federal raids of medical marijuana patients and sellers; it's conceivable that a new administration could resume conducting raids.

The significance of the Supreme Court's action might be a psychological as much as legal: as Marijana Policy Project Communications Director Bruce Mirken said earlier this month, pushing for new state-level drug laws can be difficult when they contradict federal policy--some people think the process might be fruitless, since "the feds won't let us."

Today's action might alleviate some of that concern and facilitate marijuana initiatives in other states.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Why Are Americans So Bad at Saving Money?

The US is particularly miserable at putting aside money for the future. Should we blame our paychecks or our psychology?


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In