CALIFORNIA: In an action supported by California NORML, medical marijuana patient James Maral will file a petition with the California Supreme Court to review the recent Third District Appellate Court decision upholding the city of Live Oak’s ban on medical marijuana cultivation.
San Francisco Attorney Joe Elford will draft and file the petition. “If you ban dispensaries and you ban cultivation, you’re ripping the heart out of California’s medical marijuana laws,” said Elford. “This decision conflicts with the intent of the electorate and Legislature and should not be allowed to stand.”
The announcement comes a day after Fresno county took steps to enact a total cultivation ban on first reading at its Board of Supervisors meeting. A second reading on the ordinance will take place on January 7.
Maral, 42, suffers from compartment syndrome, a painful life- and limb-threatening condition caused by insufficient blood supply to muscles and nerves. In addition, he has six damaged discs in his back, the result of his work as a heavy equipment driver. He and his family have lived in Live Oak for 15 years.
Maral is also a caretaker for his mother Donneda Maral, who has severe diverticulitis and Crohn’s disease, for which she is frequently hospitalized.
“The only thing I’m fighting for is the patients who just want a couple of plants in their backyard,” said Maral. “I’m not willing to let my mother die or live out the rest of her time in a hospital.” The Marals live at least two hours away from any medical marijuana dispensary.
Cultivation is exempted from state law for medical marijuana patients by Proposition 215, passed by the voters in 1996. State law SB420 established a “floor” of 6 mature or 12 immature plants as allowable per patient, permitting cities and counties to pass ordinances allowing for greater, not lesser, amounts. The California Supreme Court threw out SB420’s limits in People v. Kelly (2010), opting instead for allowing whatever a patient needs to grow.