(CN) - The cities of Costa Mesa and Lake Forest in Orange County, Calif., can ban marijuana dispensaries, a federal judge has ruled.
"Issues relating to medical marijuana are a focus in today's culture," U.S. District Judge Andrew Guilford wrote. "These issues have engrossed our citizens, scholars and officials in many debates. Should California let seriously ill citizens use marijuana to ease their pain?
Marla James, Wayne Washington, James Armantrout and Charles Dejong filed a federal lawsuit in April claiming the cities' bans on medical pot violated the Americans with Disabilities Act because it denies patients medication.
The cities claimed that the ADA only protects "qualified individuals with a disability," and that the ADA does not include "an individual who is currently engaging in the illegal use of drugs."
Plaintiffs argued that the use of the words "illegal use of drugs" doesn't apply to them because their use of marijuana is "recommended by doctors under the California Compassionate Use Act.
"On the other hand, defendants argue that marijuana cannot be legally prescribed under the Controlled Substances Act and thus exceptions cannot apply," the judge wrote.
The court agreed with the cities.
"Marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act," he said, "and under that act, it currently has no medical purpose."
Guilford continued: "Although some illegal drugs, such as opium, may be prescribed under the Controlled Substances Act, marijuana cannot be prescribed because it is a Schedule I drug."
Guilford said for the plaintiffs' argument to succeed, the Americans with Disability Act must authorize, "independent of the Controlled Substances Act, plaintiffs' use of marijuana under a doctor's supervision. But the ADA gives no such authorization."
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