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Medical marijuana group sues Solano County

Oakland-based Americans for Safe Access, which advocates for medical marijuana patients, today filed a lawsuit against Solano County for failing to implement the identification-card program required by a state law adopted in 2003. The card program is meant to help law enforcement discern legal marijuana use from illegal, providing more protection for patients and caregivers; despite this law and a July appeals court ruling affirming the mandate’s validity, several counties including Solano still haven’t complied.

“Solano County cannot simply flaunt its obligation under the law,” said ASA Chief Counsel Joe Elford said in a news release today. “This lawsuit is aimed at forcing counties like Solano to fully implement state law and to stop denying medical marijuana patients their legal rights and protections.”

Since 2003, 40 counties have implemented medical marijuana ID cards in compliance with the state law. ASA sent letters in August and again in October to the remaining counties warning of lawsuits unless they adopted card programs too, and the California Supreme Court in October refused to review a related San Diego case, making clear counties’ obligations under the law. ASA says its letters and the court’s ruling have moved 11 more counties to comply or pledge to do so soon, but Colusa, Madera, Mono, San Bernardino, San Diego, Solano and Sutter counties still haven’t taken action.

The Solano County Counsel’s office declined to comment today, saying it had not yet received and reviewed the lawsuit.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.