What is it lately with all the bad news coming out of Lake Forest and Costa Mesa when it comes to medical marijuana? Both cities have been the location of several recent, high-profile raids targeting pot dispensaries. In Lake Forest, two clubs were busted, with one owner already on his way to prison and the other, Mark Moen, subject of the Weekly's current cover story, facing 40 years upstate if convicted. And then there's the lawsuit by Lake Forest aimed at prohibiting any of the cannabis collectives that haven't already been shut down from doing business there. (That suit is still pending, but only 11 of the original 35 dispensaries originally named in the suit are still operating).
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The latest bummer?
Yesterday at the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse--that name is always a giveaway that something bad is about to happen--federal judge Andrew Guilford ruled that four disabled residents of Lake Forest and Costa Mesa do not have the right under the Americans with Disabilities Act to smoke marijuana, according to this story in the OC Register. "Marijuana is a Schedule 1 controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act, and under that Act, it current has no medical purpose," Guilford argued. The lawsuit had been filed April 2 by Marla James, Wayne Washington, James Armatrout and Charles Daniel.
In fairness, Guilford has a point: marijuana is still illegal, so a lawsuit citing federal law in an effort to allow people to smoke pot that is legal under state law is a bit of a reach, although peyote, which is also banned under federal law, is legal to ingest for certain Native Americans. More hopeful, perhaps, is a lawsuit filed on April 19 by two Costa Mesa dispensaries, Herban Elements, Inc. and MedMar Patient Care Collective, which argues that the city's ordinance prohibiting cannabis club violates California law. The Register had that story yesterday too, quoting city officials pretty much promising to continue to harass medical marijuana providers until ordered not to do so.
One thing is certain, Orange County is certainly living up to its reputation as a bastion of hypocritical phony conservative politicians who love to talk about limited government but spend our vital tax resources going after people who are trying to do nothing more than carry out the clearly-expressed (Prop. 215 anybody?) will of the people. Who knows, given this November's ballot initiative that supporters hope will vastly expand marijuana rights in California--even allowing anyone 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of pot without any doctor's note--the authorities are just desperate.