US CA: ACLU Attacks Draft Pot-Dispensary Ordinance

Pubdate: Mon, 3 May 2010
Source: North County Times (Escondido, CA)
Copyright: 2010 North County Times
Author: Edward Sifuentes
Cited: Americans for Safe Access
Cited: Drug Policy Alliance
Cited: American Civil Liberties Union in San Diego
Cited: San Diego County Board of Supervisors
Referenced: The draft ordinance
Referenced: The ACLU letter to the County
Referenced: Conant v. Walters


Proposal Would Violate Patient Privacy Rules, Activists Say

The county’s proposed medical marijuana dispensary ordinance would violate patient privacy laws because it opens patient lists and other records to law enforcement, medical marijuana advocates and civil rights groups say.

County officials released a draft of the document in March. It was heavily criticized by patient advocacy groups and others, including Americans for Safe Access, the Drug Policy Alliance and the American Civil Liberties Union in San Diego.

Since the criticisms started to pour in, county officials have refused to answer questions about the ordinance, including whether any medical professionals helped draft it.

Critics, including medical marijuana activist Rudy Reyes, say the county’s refusal to work cooperatively with patients and advocacy groups led to a poorly written document.

The ACLU, which last year won a lawsuit against the county forcing it to implement the state’s medical marijuana ID program, said in a letter criticizing the proposed ordinance that county leaders once again were trying to deter patients’ right to access the drug.

“The county is trying to do indirectly what it couldn’t do directly, which is ban collectives in the county,” said David Blair-Loy, legal director for the ACLU in San Diego.