California, Sacramento

Medical marijuana by county.

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California, Sacramento

Postby palmspringsbum » Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:59 pm

The Sacramento Bee wrote:
Editorial: Like it or not, it's the law

<span class=postbigbold>County should create medical marijuana IDs</span>
-
The Sacramento Bee
Published 12:00 am PST Saturday, March 8, 2008

Five years ago, lawmakers agreed on compromise legislation aimed at limiting abuses in the state's 1996 medical marijuana law and preventing prosecution of patients who grow and possess small amounts of cannabis.

As part of this legislation signed by Gov. Gray Davis in 2003, counties are required to establish voluntary identification card programs so law enforcement officers can verify that people found with marijuana are bona fide patients or caregivers.

With little controversy, 40 counties have since approved such ID programs, including Placer, El Dorado, Yolo, Amador and Yuba counties. Yet for reasons that are not entirely clear, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors hasn't yet directed county health officials to implement such an ID program here.

That could change after March 18, when the supervisors are scheduled to hold a hearing on the matter.

Regardless how you feel about Proposition 215, the medical marijuana law that voters approved in 1996, it is the law of the state. (Those with long memories may recall that this page opposed Proposition 215.) Some 53 percent of Sacramento County voters cast ballots for it, and statewide polls continue to show wide support for the statute. If anything, the ID program helps ensure that only people with real illnesses have access to marijuana, preventing abuses and shoring up voters' intent.

The situation is complicated by the fact that San Diego and San Bernardino are continuing to sue the state over the ID program, contending that federal law pre-empts Proposition 215. In 2006, the San Diego County Superior Court rejected the claims of these counties, which have since filed an appeal.

San Diego and San Bernardino might eventually prevail in court, but their chances seem slim. In the meantime, counties are legally obligated to implement the ID program, and people with AIDS, cancers and other illnesses expect them to do so. Sacrament supervisors shouldn't delay any longer. By law, they need to direct staff to implement the Medical Marijuana ID Card Program.

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Sacramento County to consider medical marijuana ID cards

Postby palmspringsbum » Sun Mar 16, 2008 7:27 pm

The Sacramento Bee wrote:
Sacramento County to consider medical marijuana ID cards

<table class=posttable align=right width=200><tr><td class=postcell><img class=postimg width=200 src=bin/dickinson_roger.jpg></td></tr><tr><td class=postcell><span class=postbold>"It is well beyond the time when Sacramento County should comply with state law." -- Supervisor Roger Dickinson </span></td></tr></table>By Ed Fletcher - efletcher@sacbee.com
Sunday, March 16, 2008
The Sacramento Bee
Story appeared in METRO section, Page B1


It's a fight that's been settled in 40 of California's 58 counties, but Sacramento County isn't one of them.

And Tuesday, when the Board of Supervisors takes up the issue of medical marijuana ID cards, the reason for that will become clear. The supervisors are divided on a central question:

Should Sacramento County follow the will of the people of California, which approved using marijuana for medicinal purposes in a statewide ballot? Or should the county yield to the federal government, which hasn't authorized its use?

"It is well beyond the time when Sacramento County should comply with state law," Supervisor Roger Dickinson wrote in a letter to his colleagues.

Responded Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan: "Possession and use of marijuana is still a federal crime. As long as it's a federal crime, I just can't do anything that facilitates its use."

She also questioned the use of the phrase "medical marijuana."

"I don't think there is a thing – medical marijuana. There is just marijuana," MacGlashan said. "It's still a federal crime to process, use or sell it."

Lanette Davies sees things differently.

She became a medical marijuana activist two years ago, after Stanford University doctors recommended her daughter try cannabis products to ease her pain.

Davies said her daughter, Brittany, a 17-year-old Sacramento area high school student, suffers from a rare bone disease.

"By the time she was 15 she actually asked me if she could die," Davies said.

Davies said patients like her daughter, who uses cannabis creams and food products, are looking to ease pain, not get high.

"These are sick people who are looking for comfort from their pain," said Davies, who started the group Crusaders 4 Patients Rights. "They aren't looking for a joint, they are looking for relief."

Similar accounts helped lead to the passage of Proposition 215 in 1996 – setting California in conflict with the federal government.

<table class=posttable align=right width=200><tr><td class=postcell><img class=postimg width=200 src=bin/macglashan_roberta.jpg></td></tr><tr><td class=postcel><span class=postbold>I don't think there is a thing -medical marijuana. There is just marijuana." -- Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan</span></td></tr></table>The board will take the issue up at 3 p.m. Tuesday in its chambers at 700 H St. – and the outcome is unclear.

Yolo, El Dorado and Placer counties already have implemented medical marijuana ID programs.

Dickinson said issuing the cards "does not imply approval of the nonmedical use of marijuana."

Advocates say the program helps law enforcement by identifying those with a legitimate need for a pot prescription.

"We hope that the county will do the right thing and move forward," said Aaron Smith, the California organizer for the Marijuana Policy Project.

"We've seen the program be successful. It is something that is intended (for law enforcement)."

Those who don't favor the program, however, include Sheriff John McGinness.

"This conduct is still prohibited by federal law," said McGinness.

He said those who want to change the law should take the fight to the federal level because "federal law trumps state law."

The county's public health officer, Dr. Glennah Trochet, has advised against the program in previous years and more recently said she doesn't have any knowledge of medicinal effects of marijuana.

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Sacramento supervisors reject state's medical marijuana ID

Postby palmspringsbum » Fri Mar 21, 2008 8:09 pm

The Sacamento Bee wrote:
Sacramento supervisors reject state's medical marijuana ID program

The Sacramento Bee
By Ed Fletcher - efletcher@sacbee.com
Published 12:00 am PDT Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Story appeared in METRO section, Page B1

Turning away pleas from an elderly glaucoma patient, a local man with AIDS and a teen with a rare bone illness, Sacramento County supervisors rejected a call to implement a program allowing medical marijuana patients to obtain a state-issued identification card.

Tuesday's 3-2 vote was instead in step with the position of Sacramento County's law enforcement officials that implementing the program would invite residents to violate federal law.

While state law allows the use of marijuana for legitimate medicinal purposes, federal law does not.

Of the state's 58 counties, Sacramento County is among 18 that haven't adopted the state program. Advocates say pot ID cards help law enforcement by identifying those with a legitimate need for medicinal marijuana.

Neoma Denny, 75, called medical marijuana her "lifeline."

"I can't take medicine for nausea. I can't take medicine for pain," said Denny, who said she suffers from glaucoma and cirrhosis of the liver. "If I did not use medical marijuana, I would not be here. This is my lifeline."

Thomas Coy, a Sacramento man who uses marijuana to ease symptoms of AIDS, said he wanted the board to start the program "to let law enforcement know it's really medicine for me."

Brittany Davies, 17, who suffers from a rare bone disease, said she plans to drive to San Francisco for the weekend to look at prom dresses, but she's afraid to take with her the cannabis cream she uses to ease her pain.

"I don't want to be pulled over and have to go to jail or something," Davies said.

The three were among 30 medical marijuana supporters who entreated the supervisors to support the program.

Supervisors Roger Dickinson and Jimmie Yee voted in favor of implementing the program.

Supervisors Roberta MacGlashan, Susan Peters and Don Nottoli voted against it.

Sheriff John McGinness and District Attorney Jan Scully argued against the program.

McGinness said that since sheriff's deputies aren't jailing people for having a small amount of pot, the program wouldn't be of much help.

He added that issuing cards would encourage pot use. "We have a conflict," he said. "We are talking about a behavior that is illegal by federal law."

Jan Scully said marijuana cultivation and use sets people up for crime – from home invasion robberies to murders. She also made light of what she characterized as pot prescriptions for back pain, menstrual cramps, diarrhea, flatulence and insomnia.

"The courts are going to have to sort this out," MacGlashan said. "We can't sort it out on this level."

Dickinson said he was somewhat embarrassed that the county had turned its back on state law.

"This is nothing more than an identification card," he said. "Federal law is unaffected by this. We aren't making any judgments (about marijuana use) by deciding to follow state law."

Aaron Smith, the California organizer for the Marijuana Policy Project, unsuccessfully tried to convince the board that the state constitution tells local officials to implement state law when there is a conflict with federal law.

"We are not here to seek your endorsement of the medical marijuana law. The people of California already did that," Smith said. "This is a sensible and moderate way to regulate medical marijuana."

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