California, Solano

Medical marijuana by county.

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California, Solano

Postby palmspringsbum » Mon Jun 12, 2006 9:59 am

:motz: Supervisor Mike Reagan, District 5-Vacaville, agreed, saying "there is a supremacy clause in the Constitution that makes federal laws override local druthers. It's illegal and as far as I'm concerned will remain so in Solano County."



The Vallejo Times Herald wrote:Medical marijuana protest comes down to federal-state question
By ROBERT MCCOCKRAN, Times-Herald staff writer
June 12, 2006
The Vallejo Times-Herald


FAIRFIELD - About a dozen medical marijuana advocates held an orderly protest Wednesday in front of the Solano County courthouse, saying local law enforcement has been ignoring state law and arresting patients for having marijuana.

But Solano County supervisors countered that marijuana possession is still illegal under federal law.

As protesters stood in front of the Hall of Justice - some holding signs - Leona Mae Benjamin and John Benjaminsen were inside asking for a preliminary hearing postponement because they'd hired a new attorney. The couple, described by protesters as a caregiver and patient, was arrested in October at their home near Rio Vista for allegedly cultivating and selling marijuana.

Galen R. Lawton, 38, Solano Patients' Group spokesman, called on the Board of Supervisors to allow the county health department to issue medical marijuana identification cards. Solano is the only county in the Bay Area that does not have such a program, he said.

Lawton said agencies like the Benicia Police Department and Solano County Sheriff's Office have opted to "hide behind federal law instead of following state law."

Proposition 215, passed by California voters in 1996, aimed to exempt from prosecution, patients and caregivers who possess or cultivate marijuana for medical treatment recommended by a physician.

Nevertheless, "it's a federal violation," said Supervisor John Silva, District 2-Benicia, "the use of marijuana for medical or any other purposes and I don't support the violation of the law.

"I think the U.S. Supreme Court trumps state law," he said.

Supervisor Mike Reagan, District 5-Vacaville, agreed, saying "there is a supremacy clause in the Constitution that makes federal laws override local druthers. It's illegal and as far as I'm concerned will remain so in Solano County."

Lawton and his wife, Laura Jane Coleman, were arrested in December 2004 on suspicion of cultivating, possessing and selling marijuana. Their cases are scheduled for jury trial in July.

Lawton said patients are not asking for special privileges, but law enforcement is supposed to follow state law even when it is in conflict with federal law.

Solano County District Attorney Dave Paulson was not available to comment on the cases being prosecuted and no one from the health department responded to requests to discuss the identification card program.

Supervisor John Vasquez, District 4-Vacaville, said he wasn't even sure people can cultivate marijuana under state law. He said right now he probably wouldn't support a medical marijuana identification card program.

Supervisor Barbara Kondylis, who represents Vallejo, could not be reached for comment.

Duane Kromm, District 3-Fairfield, said many health care professionals don't think there's much medical validity to medical marijuana.

"The various ailments and diseases and symptoms and things that folks that want to use marijuana to help take care of - the medical folks I've talked to would all seem to indicate that there's better or more efficient ways to treat them," he said.

"I'm not necessarily against marijuana, but I don't think the medical marijuana is particularly valuable or a necessary procedure."

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Fight medical marijuana fear

Postby palmspringsbum » Tue Jul 18, 2006 11:30 am

The Reporter wrote:Article Launched: 07/18/2006 07:02:04 AM PDT

Fight medical marijuana fear

OPINION


I have been asked by F. Aaron Smith, statewide coordinator with Safe Access Now, to write to the newspapers in Solano County. I have gained much respect for Mr. Smith and his dynamic organization ( www.safeaccessnow.com ) as well as for the Solano Patients Group ( www.solanopatientsgroup.org ) and the Compassionate Coalition ( www.compassionatecoalition.org ).

There was a meeting of the County Board of Supervisors on June 27, which can be observed on the Internet at www.co.sola-no.ca.us/bos/. There was much discussion regarding medical marijuana. It was like a riving running through that place.

Someone suggested that this very controversial subject matter be put on the agenda for a future board meeting.

I remain very skeptical of any progress with the authorities in Solano County. The subject of medical marijuana has been suppressed for nigh onto 10 years. Fear runs high. Any one of us could be sent to the Drug Enforcement Administration for prosecution and incarceration.

So, regardless of accusations of ignorance, arrogance or any other human condition, we are faced with fear.

We must band together as concerned citizens to overcome this.

John Bearden, Fairfield

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Medicinal marijuana group asks for county's support

Postby palmspringsbum » Mon Aug 14, 2006 10:18 am

The Vallejo Time-Herald wrote:Medicinal marijuana group asks for county's support

August 14, 2006
The Vallejo Times-Herald
By GREG MOBERLY/Times-Herald staff writer


Linda Jimenez is hopeful that next month Solano County leaders will understand that she and fellow medical marijuana supporters are trying only to relieve chronic pain.

The 36-year-old Fairfield resident said she has a painful joint disorder originating in her jaw that causes headaches and depression. Her marijuana use is physician-advised.

For several months, as a member of the Solano Patients' Group, a medical marijuana advocacy organization, Jimenez and other group members have lobbied county leaders to institute a voter-approved state patient card program.

It's been 10 years since state voters approved medicinal marijuana use but Solano County leaders so far have balked at implementing a required patient card program.

The patient card program would track who is legally prescribed by a physician to get medical marijuana.

There's no clear indication the Solano County Board of Supervisors will move ahead with the card program when board members tentatively are set to consider the issue Sept. 26.

"I'm glad I don't have to vote today," said Supervisor Duane Kromm, District 3-Fairfield. "I'm not sure how I would vote."

Kromm said he has a number of concerns, including a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision.

In June 2005, the court reversed a lower court decision that federal prosecution of patients who cultivate and possess marijuana for their own use is unconstitutional.

That shouldn't factor into the issue, Jimenez says.

The county is supposed to uphold state law, and state law calls for administering a medicinal marijuana patient card program, Jimenez and fellow supporters say.

Supervisor Barbara Kondylis, District 1-Vallejo said that is what she wants done as well.

Kondylis said the county's only role is to administer the program that voters approved a decade ago.

"Frankly, I don't know why we don't issue (the card program) through the DMV," Kondylis said.

Supervisor John Silva, District 2-Benicia, said he has a different take on the issue.

His past profession as a police officer makes him less inclined to support medicinal marijuana, Silva said.

"I made my living enforcing these (drug) laws at one time; I'm not easily going to change my mind," Silva said.

Typically, patients use marijuana to treat AIDS, cancer, and other painful or life threatening conditions, Jimenez said. But not all Solano Patients' Group's members reveal what ailments they have, she said.

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Supervisors to receive report on medical marijuana cards

Postby Midnight toker » Sat Sep 23, 2006 1:43 pm

he Vallejo Times Herald wrote:Supervisors to receive report on medical marijuana cards

By GREG MOBERLY/Times-Herald staff writer
September 23, 2006
The Vallejo Times-Herald



Medical marijuana supporters finally will have their day before Solano County leaders Tuesday, but if they're expecting definitive action they'll be disappointed.

The Board of Supervisors only are expected to receive a report on a voter-approved state medical marijuana card program. Program supporters, along with at least a couple supervisors, thought the board would decide Tuesday whether to administer the card program.

Members of Solano Patients' Group and Safe Access Now, who support medicinal marijuana, have for several months publicly lobbied supervisors to implement the program.

"I am somewhat hopeful we'll have some kind of direction that's positive," said Aaron Smith with Safe Access Now. He said he hopes board members will indicate support Tuesday for a future yes vote.

The state card program that Smith and backers want specifically allows California counties to track residents who receive physician-prescribed marijuana.

At least 20 of the state's 58 counties have established the card program, but other counties are hesitant to go against federal drug laws that don't allow medicinal marijuana, according to a county staff report.

Still, Supervisor Duane Kromm, District 3-Fairfield, said supporters deserve a board decision on the program.

"My expectation is the board should take a stand," Kromm said. Despite that perspective, Kromm says he's still struggling with how he'll vote.

"Is there real medicinal aid offered by smoking marijuana?" Kromm said. He said he hasn't yet been convinced.

Supervisor Barbara Kondylis, District 1-Vallejo, like Kromm, is disappointed the board isn't set to vote on the card program.

Kondylis is the only board member publicly supporting medical marijuana.

"You'll probably hear some screaming about it Tuesday," Kondylis said, referring to herself and card program supporters.

Waiting for the issue to be resolved in the courts isn't what county staff should be deciding, Kondylis said. "That's a decision the board should make."

In 1996, by a 56 percent to 44 percent margin, state voters approved Prop. 215, which allowed for medicinal marijuana. Three years ago the state passed legislation specifying how medicinal marijuana should be tracked.

Galen Lawton, president of the Solano Patients' Group, says his members are being needlessly arrested by law enforcement.

"Really, it's harassment," Lawton said.

Lawton said all who use medicinal marijuana might not have the financial means to go through court proceedings.

Lawton said he has a chronic nerve injury that causes headaches which can be soothed by marijuana.

Supporters of medicinal marijuana say they need the drug to relieve an assortment of ailments including chronic pain, cancer and AIDS, or other life-threatening illnesses.

- E-mail Greg Moberly at gmoberly@thnewsnet.com or call 553-6833.

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Supes set for vote on pot card program

Postby Midnight toker » Sun Sep 24, 2006 2:46 pm

The Reporter wrote:Article Launched: 09/24/2006 08:06:58 AM PDT

Supes set for vote on pot card program

By Greg Moberly/Times-Herald, Vallejo


Medical marijuana supporters will have their day before Solano County leaders Tuesday, but if they're expecting definitive action they'll be disappointed.

The Board of Supervisors is expected only to receive a report on a voter-approved state medical marijuana card program. Program supporters, along with at least a couple supervisors, thought the board would decide Tuesday whether to administer the card program.

Members of Solano Patients' Group and Safe Access Now, who support medicinal marijuana, have for several months publicly lobbied supervisors to implement the program.

"I am somewhat hopeful we'll have some kind of direction that's positive," said Aaron Smith with Safe Access Now. He said he hopes board members will indicate support Tuesday for a future yes vote.

The state card program that Smith and backers want specifically allows California counties to track residents who receive physician-prescribed marijuana.

At least 20 of the state's 58 counties have established the card program, but other counties are hesitant to go against federal drug laws that don't allow medicinal marijuana, according to a county staff report.

Still, Supervisor Duane Kromm, whose district includes Fairfield, said supporters deserve a board decision on the program.

"My expectation is the board should take a stand," Kromm said. Despite that perspective, Kromm says he's still struggling with how he'll vote.

"Is there real medicinal aid offered by smoking marijuana?" Kromm said. He said he hasn't yet been convinced. Supervisor Barbara Kondylis, whose district covers Vallejo, is also disappointed the board isn't set to vote on the card program.

Kondylis is the only board member publicly supporting medical marijuana.

"You'll probably hear some screaming about it Tuesday," Kondylis said, referring to herself and card program supporters.

Waiting for the issue to be resolved in the courts isn't what county staff should be deciding, Kondylis said. "That's a decision the board should make."

In 1996, by a 56 percent to 44 percent margin, state voters approved Prop. 215, which allowed for medicinal marijuana.

Three years ago the state passed legislation specifying how medicinal marijuana should be tracked.

Galen Lawton, president of the Solano Patients' Group, says his members are being needlessly arrested by law enforcement.

"Really, it's harassment," Lawton said.

Lawton said all who use medicinal marijuana might not have the financial means to go through court proceedings. He said he has a chronic nerve injury that causes headaches which can be soothed by marijuana.

Supporters of medicinal marijuana say they need the drug to relieve an assortment of ailments including chronic pain, cancer and AIDS, or other life-threatening illnesses.

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Marijuana user cards up in smoke

Postby Midnight toker » Wed Sep 27, 2006 6:07 pm

The Reporter wrote:Article Launched: 09/27/2006 07:07:07 AM PDT

Marijuana user cards up in smoke
<blockquote>
Supervisors decide against administrating a program sought by supporters of medical marijuana.
</blockquote>


By Greg Moberly/Times-Herald, Vallejo

Despite a boisterous and somewhat confusing debate Tuesday, the Solano County Board of Supervisors rejected the possibility of county administration of a medical marijuana card program.

With two Sheriff's deputies watching, the meeting was far from typical.

One supervisor supported the card program but questioned marijuana's medical value.

A few medical marijuana supporters reportedly were ticketed by Fairfield police for honking their car horns. This happened as people drove past those lobbying for the card program outside the county government center.

Steve Kubby, author of Proposition 215, in which voters approved medical marijuana, spoke on behalf of those pushing the card program.

The supervisors took two votes related to the card program. As a result, while one minute supporters thought they had garnered a major victory, the next minute they realized that wasn't the case.

With a 2-3 vote, supervisors narrowly rejected development of a proposal administering the card program. This followed a vote that simply amended the agenda allowing the recommendation vote to occur.

"After 10 years, why are we still debating this?" Kubby said during the debate. "These people are frightened every day," he said referring to law enforcement arresting medical marijuana users.

After the board's vote, card supporters vociferously said they'll remember the supervisors' decision during the next county elections. At that same time, as the meeting was adjourned for lunch, Sheriff's deputies escorted Michele Schlick-Harris of Vacaville from board chambers for being loud and disruptive.

"That doesn't help," Kubby quietly told Schlick-Harris during one of her earlier outbursts.

Simply administering the state-authorized card program would help, supporters said several times.

It would help law enforcement, said Aaron Smith, who was ticketed by Fairfield police for honking his horn. Smith represented Safe Access Now, a state medical marijuana lobbying group.

"It's simply a tool for law enforcement," Smith said.

Smith and others said the card would allow police officers to better track those using marijuana illegally and those who need it for medical purposes.

"I'm terrified right now," said Kim White, of Vallejo, of possible police action against him because he is a medical marijuana user.

Linda Jimenez, a card program supporter, said the time to debate the efficacy of medical marijuana is over.

Supervisor Duane Kromm, like county public health officials, said there's no overwhelming evidence for or against medical marijuana.

However, the impact that placebo drugs in some cases have had on people swayed him to support medicinal marijuana, Kromm said. "That's powerful," referring to marijuana users who believed they were being helped by it.

Kromm joined Supervisor Barbara Kondylis in supporting a card program.

Fairfield Police Lt. Michael Hill said that because protesters were near a business area and a school, police decided to issue the tickets.

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Issue the Cards

Postby Midnight toker » Mon Oct 02, 2006 2:18 am

The Reporter wrote:Article Launched: 10/01/2006 07:57:38 AM PDT

Issue the Cards

Solano must enact medical marijuana program

The Reporter



<table class=posttable align=right width=285><tr><td class=postcell><img class=postimg width=285 src=bin/solano_cartoon.jpg></td></tr></table>Medical marijuana proponents were rightly disappointed Tuesday when the Solano County Board of Supervisors declined to support their efforts to acquire government-sanctioned identification cards that would confirm their valid prescriptions.

But even though supervisors ducked the issue, it doesn't mean the campaign is lost.

As County Counsel Dennis Bunting pointed out at the beginning of the hearing, it is not up to supervisors to enact the ID program. The state law authorizing it puts that job squarely in the hands of the county's health department.

Certainly a nod from supervisors would have gone a long way toward prodding Solano's Department of Health and Social Services to get with the program that was enacted by the state three years ago. But on a 2-3 vote, with Supervisors Mike Reagan, John Vasquez and John Silva dissenting, the board failed to make such a recommendation.

That doesn't, however, relieve the health department of its duty to enact the Medical Marijuana Program.

It's hard to believe that anyone is still arguing about this issue a decade after California voters soundly approved Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act of 1996.

Solano's vote at the time was nearly identical to the statewide count: 55 percent of voters approved it.

Polls taken since then have shown even more residents believe that marijuana should be an option for patients whose doctors prescribe it.

To give patients some assurance that they would not be prosecuted under state or local laws, the California Legislature three years ago approved Senate Bill 420. It tasked each county health department with the job of issuing identification cards to patients who choose to obtain them.

Under the law, the health departments are to review patient applications, make sure the prescribing doctor is a legitimate and licensed physician and verify that he or she has indeed prescribed marijuana for the applicant. If everything checks out, it issues a photo ID identifying the patient as a legitimate user of medical marijuana.

Twenty counties - including every one in the Bay Area except Solano - now issue those IDs.

The other 38 counties are apparently awaiting the outcome of a court case filed against the state by San Diego County, which argues that it should not be forced to follow state laws that conflict with federal ones.

That case won't be heard until November and no doubt it will go through more than one appeals process before it is settled.

Meanwhile, Solano patients who find some measure of relief with medical marijuana are left to worry that they might be subject to arrest.

Certainly the ID program does nothing to prevent patients from being harassed by federal officials.

But it would go a long way toward giving them peace of mind about local agencies. Even the California Highway Patrol recognizes the legitimacy of county-issued medical marijuana ID cards.

And that's the other benefit of this program: It helps local law enforcers to readily identify the people who are entitled to possess marijuana from those who are not.

Supervisor Duayne Kromm had it right on Tuesday when he pointed out that the county is an agent of the state and therefore has a duty to comply with state laws.

The voters have spoken and the Legislature has spoken.

It is past time for Solano County's health department to start issuing medical marijuana IDs.

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Benicia considering a ban on marijuana dispensaries

Postby palmspringsbum » Fri Apr 03, 2009 12:00 am

The Times-Herald wrote:Benicia considering a ban on marijuana dispensaries

By Tony Burchyns/Times-Herald staff writer

Posted: 03/26/2009 01:00:57 AM PDT


BENICIA -- There may be interest in opening a medical pot club in Benicia, but first the city wants more time to weigh the burning issue.

The Benicia City Council will consider enacting a temporary ban on medical marijuana dispensaries -- and hookah lounges, too -- at a special meeting Monday.

The proposed moratorium would last 45 days but could be extended for up to a year or more, City Attorney Heather McLaughlin said.

Four of the five council members would need to support it. The law would take effect immediately. It could be extended up to a year or more, officials say.

Officials say they're seeking the moratorium because a citizen this week requested information about operating a cannabis club in Benicia. Recognizing the city's zoning codes do not address medical pot clubs, officials promptly are putting the matter before the City Council, asking for more time to study the issue.

Medical cannabis clubs are legal under California law, but there are none in Benicia, McLaughlin said.

The city of American Canyon recently extended a similar moratorium to study the ramifications of allowing pot clubs, and possible regulations.

San Francisco recently stepped up efforts to regulate its roughly two-dozen cannabis clubs, which for years operated with little oversight.

Concerns about the potential operation, location and safety of the clubs are outlined in a report, along with the proposed Benicia ordinance.

The report says pot clubs have been crime magnets in other California cities, but McLaughlin said the city was still working to produce evidence to back up the claim.

Arguments linking medical marijuana dispensaries to crime have led to moratoriums and regulations in other cities.

It was unclear, however, what threat officials felt hookah bars posed to the city. The businesses often take the form of restaurants, cafes or bars where adults gather to enjoy drinks, food and flavored tobacco.

McLaughlin said the lounges were included in the proposed ordinance because the city had already planned to craft regulations.

The staff report says hookahs may be used to smoke marijuana and other "illegal drugs."

Asked if a ban on tobacco shops that sell pipes would be considered, McLaughlin said, "If we thought they had more harmful effects other than lung cancer" perhaps the city would consider it.

"But as far as I know," she said, "it is not a problem."

Monday's City Council meeting, which will be held at the Benicia Public Library, also will include a strategic plan workshop.

Contact staff writer Tony Burchyns at tburchyns @thnewsnet.com or call 553-6831.

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A time for rules, not roadblocks

Postby palmspringsbum » Tue Nov 10, 2009 3:39 pm

The Times-Herald wrote:A time for rules, not roadblocks

Published By Times Herald
Posted: 11/10/2009 01:15:34 AM PST

A temporary ban preventing medical marijuana dispensaries from setting up shop on land that falls under Solano County's jurisdiction expired Friday, but not because county staff or the Board of Supervisors have been proactive about the matter.

Instead, a proposal to extend the moratorium another 22 months failed to garner the necessary four votes during last week's board meeting, leaving the county right where it was two months ago, with no clear instructions for staff should anyone apply to set up such a shop.

Supervisors Barbara Kondylis and Linda Seifert are to be commended for standing against an extended moratorium. Nearly two years was a ridiculous amount of time to "plan" to accommodate what would seem to be a natural extension of California's 13-year-old medical marijuana law. Even Solano County voters helped to enact it, agreeing that patients who are ill should be allowed access to marijuana if their doctors prescribe it.

But where are patients supposed to obtain it?

In recent years, nonprofit dispensaries have popped up to grow and distribute cannabis to patients who hold prescriptions. It has been up to cities and counties to determine the circumstances under which those dispensaries may operate.

As an Associated Press story last week described, some communities have embraced dispensaries -- and the tax revenue they bring in -- while others have sought to block them altogether.

Locally, Vacaville, Dixon and Benicia have enacted moratoriums prohibiting them.

Solano County's general plan might limit where medical marijuana dispensaries could set up, except that the county hasn't classified them.

Are they a business? If so, there are only a few places where they could operate in the unincorporated areas.

But logically, they might also be considered an agricultural enterprise. That could certainly expand the options.

During last week's meeting, Supervisor Jim Spering asked what would happen if the county received a dispensary application. Staff members said it would go through Planning Commission and then probably end up in front of supervisors.

Why waste everyone's time?

The board should enact zoning regulations to accommodate dispensaries so that Solano County patients don't have to leave the county to obtain their medicine.

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