Friday, February 10, 2006


Roses and raspberries
By: The Californian -

A raspberry ---- the "Tilting at Windmills" award ---- to county Supervisor Jeff Stone, who plans to ask his fellow supervisors to join San Diego and San Bernardino counties in suing the state to overturn 1996's voter-approved medical marijuana initiative. It's an ill-advised waste of time and money and nose-thumbing at the voters of California (who, by the way, have reaffirmed their support for the humanitarian use of marijuana in numerous polls before and since the initiative passed). The conflict between state and federal law ---- which doesn't recognize any legitimate uses for marijuana ---- is long-established, and it's clear that the U.S. Supreme Court will have to be the ultimate arbiter of this and similar laws in 10 other states.

It's questionable whether counties, which are essentially arms of the state government, have the legal standing to sue states, and there is little evidence of any widespread abuse of the medical marijuana laws. And, in fact, the portion of the law Stone wants the county to fight is the part that requires them to issue identification cards to people eligible to legally use the drug, so he is in essence fighting the very controls the county should have to keep it from being abused.

It's also rather disquieting to hear Republicans ---- as Stone and the majority of supervisors in all three counties are ---- assert the supremacy of federal law over state law when it suits their interests, but argue in favor of states' rights, not to mention the inviolability of majority rule, in many other circumstances. Riverside County should pass on Stone's proposal and let its neighbors fight this quixotic battle.

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