US Court Rules Medical Marijuana Not Protected by ADA

Submitted on Jun 22, 2012

In a case recently decided by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, it was ruled that the ADA did not protect the use of medical marijuana. The plaintiffs obtain medical marijuana through collectives located in Costa Mesa and Lake Forest, California. These cities, however, have taken steps to close medical marijuana dispensing facilities operating within their boundaries. Concerned with the possible shutdown of the collectives they rely on to obtain medical marijuana, the plaintiffs brought this action in federal district course alleging that the cities' actions violate Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination in the provision of public services. In the ruling, it was stated "We also acknowledge that California has embraced marijuana as an effective treatment for individuals like the plaintiffs who face debilitating pain. Congress has made clear, however, that the ADA defines illegal drug use by reference to federal, rather than state, law, and federal law does not authorize the plaintiffs' medical marijuana use. We therefore necessarily conclude that the plaintiffs' medical marijuana use is not protected by the ADA." Read the full ruling.