#383 Brown’s Rules On Medical Marijuana

Date: Wed, 27 Aug 2008
Subject: #383 Brown’s Rules On Medical Marijuana

BROWN’S RULES ON MEDICAL MARIJUANA

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DrugSense FOCUS Alert #384 – Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Monday California Attorney General Jerry Brown issued “Guidelines for
the Security and Non-Diversion of Marijuana Grown for Medical Use”
that may be read at http://drugsense.org/url/kKMJR2lu

Today California’s two largest newspapers printed opinions about the
guidelines, below. Both are worthy targets for letters to the editor.

Newspaper clippings about the guidelines appear, and will be added in
the days ahead, to the top of this list:

http://www.mapinc.org/people/Jerry+Brown

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You may use the newspaper’s webform at http://drugsense.org/url/bc7El3Yo
to send letters or email them to letters@latimes.com

Pubdate: Wed, 27 Aug 2008
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Section: Editorials
Copyright: 2008 Los Angeles Times

BROWN’S RULES ON MEDICAL MARIJUANA

New Guidelines on Legal Pot Use Are a Welcome Shield for Californians
With Medical Needs.

They’re more than a decade overdue, but the guidelines on medical
marijuana issued this week by California Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown could
finally help divide the gray area in which the state’s growers and
dispensers operate into clearer shades of black and white.

Brown’s 11-page directive is aimed at giving police the ability to
distinguish between criminals and legitimate medical marijuana sellers
under state law, as well as protecting patients from arrest. It won’t
stop federal drug enforcement agents from raiding law-abiding
dispensaries and prosecuting innocent business owners whenever they
see fit, but it will make such raids harder to justify — and might
ramp up the pressure for more sensible federal marijuana policies.

When California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 215 in
1996, allowing the sale and use of marijuana for people with
demonstrated medical needs, it set off a host of consequences both
positive and negative. As voters intended, thousands of people
suffering from AIDS, glaucoma and other serious ailments now have
access to a safe, legitimate treatment. Yet as voters didn’t intend,
the state is now riddled with dispensaries that employ on-site doctors
who will write a prescription to nearly anyone who walks through the
door, while places such as Humboldt County have been invaded by
criminal elements running underground grow houses to supply these middlemen.

Most of the negative consequences can be attributed to the gap between
state and federal marijuana laws. The fact that even sellers
considered legitimate by the state can be prosecuted and ruined by
federal agents encourages black-market dealers, who endanger their
communities by ignoring fire codes, selling to healthy minors and
fighting turf wars with other dealers. The centerpiece of Brown’s
directive is its insistence that medical marijuana sellers must
operate as nonprofit collectives or cooperatives, and the marijuana
they sell must be grown by state-certified patients or caregivers.
That will empower municipal police to weed out the bad guys.

Overall, Proposition 215 has done more good than harm. In addition to
marijuana’s medical benefits, its legitimate sale brings in $100
million a year in tax revenues, and even though it can be abused by
users, it isn’t demonstrably more dangerous to society than tobacco
and alcohol. The state’s new guidelines will help reduce the measure’s
harmful side effects, but the only long-term solution is for the feds
to stop the medical marijuana raids and leave California law
enforcement to California officers.

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Note: Below is the lead section of a longer column.

Contact: letters@sfchronicle.com

Pubdate: Wed, 27 Aug 2008
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Column: Matier & Ross
Copyright: 2008 Hearst Communications Inc.
Authors: Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross

JERRY BROWN GETS TOUGH ON MEDICAL POT CLUBS

California Attorney General Jerry Brown has ordered a crackdown on
medical pot clubs that are selling the drug for big profits.

The move puts the state a bit more in line with the feds in dealing
with the explosion of questionable marijuana dispensaries since the
passage of Proposition 215 more than a decade ago.

The first target was Today’s Health Care club in Northridge (Los
Angeles County), which agents from the state Bureau of Narcotic
Enforcement raided over the weekend. The club owner and an alleged
middleman were booked on drug-dealing charges.

Brown said Tuesday he would “not be surprised” to see similar raids
here in the Bay Area.

“The voters wanted medical marijuana dispensaries to be used for
seriously ill patients and their caregivers – not as million-dollar
businesses,” Brown said.

In recent years, pot club raids have been conducted mainly by federal
authorities who don’t recognize Prop. 215, the initiative California
voters passed in 1996 to let patients use cannabis to treat what ailed
them. Although medical marijuana is still illegal under federal law,
the feds say many of their targets were actually sham outfits that
were dealing marijuana for, shall we say, nonmedicinal uses.

This week, Brown issued an 11-page directive laying out guidelines
that medical marijuana cooperatives must follow to comply with Prop.
215.

Among them: Sell only to legitimate patients. Operate as nonprofits.
Buy pot only from fellow cooperative members at prices that cover
cost, as opposed to professional growers out for big bucks.

“We are not out to harass legitimate clubs,” Brown said. “The targets
are those clubs that are part of a larger criminal operation where
medical marijuana winds up being sold on the street and contributing
to crime and violence.”

Some medical marijuana dispensers, concerned that thuggish dope
dealers are giving their business a bad name, welcomed Brown’s
guidelines – and the state crackdown.

“It’s something many activists have been looking for since the medical
marijuana law passed,” said Kevin Reed of the Green Cross marijuana
collective in San Francisco.

He said his outfit had nothing to fear. “We are a nonprofit,” Reed
said. “We only sell to patients. We only get our pot in small
quantities from patients who grow it and sell it on
consignment.

“We’ve been on the front page of every major newspaper in the nation
and have never been bothered by the feds, because we are an open
book,” Reed said.

As for how many of San Francisco’s 26 pot clubs might find themselves
in hot water, Reed said: “I expect about 10 will not be with us within
a year.”

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Additional suggestions for writing LTEs are at our Media Activism Center:

http://www.mapinc.org/resource/#guides

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Prepared by: The MAP Media Activism Team http://www.mapinc.org/resource

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