Source: Times-Standard (CA), Fri, 14 Feb 2003
Copyright: 2003 MediaNews Group, Inc.
Website: http://www.times-standard.com/ Contact:
[Humboldt County District Attorney Paul]
Gallegos Says Medical Pot Policy in Effect
Paul gallegos(center) with Chris Conrad and Jason
Fishbain of SAN, 2-15-03 in Redway.
EUREKA -- Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos
said this week he's moving ahead with his new medical
marijuana prosecution guidelines, even without full support
from area law enforcement.
The district attorney declined to say which law
enforcement agencies are still having trouble supporting his
policy. These holdouts asked to hold off until further
discussions can be held in March. Gallegos said he will meet
with those agencies, but added that his office is moving
"... We're operating under the assumption that it is
policy," Gallegos said this week, adding that he's anxious
to get the guidelines in place so he can move on to other
items on his agenda.
Under the guidelines, Gallegos will not file charges in
cases involving people who have a doctor's recommendation
for use of the drug and who possess no more than 3 pounds of
processed marijuana per year.
Medical marijuana patients, who are issued cards from the
county's Public Health branch, technically will be allowed
to grow as much as 99 plants.
But the plants must fit within a 100-square-foot area
measured by the vegetative canopy of the plants. In other
words, the larger the plants, the fewer will be able to fit
within the allowable square footage. For example, 14 plants
with a 3-foot canopy area each will amount to a cultivation
area of 100 square feet. The same rules apply for indoor
growers, with the added restriction of 1.5 kilowatts or less
for artificial lighting.
Gallegos said these limits are intended to keep some
control over how much the plants yield come harvest time.
Without such controls, the district attorney said growers
will end up with excessive amounts, which he's afraid could
end up on the market, which is illegal.
Proposition 215, the California law that allows
prescribed patients to grow and use marijuana, has been
described by some as poorly written. For instance, patients
can get by with just an oral recommendation by a physician.
The law also says little on whether users can carry pot in
their car or whether patient's caregivers can possess the
Since the passage of Prop. 215 in the late 1990s,
California law enforcement agencies have been divided. Some
have refused to recognize the law because federal law bans
any use of medical marijuana.
Sheriff Gary Philp has indicated he'll support the new
guidelines, as has the Arcata Police Department. But the
Eureka and Fortuna police departments have said they intend
to observe federal law, in part because the
departments fear losing federal funding.
To that end, prescribed patients could still be arrested
and their pot confiscated. Even if Gallegos doesn't
prosecute them, police agencies who oppose the new policy
still may not give the confiscated pot back.
Fortuna Chief Kent Bradshaw and Eureka Chief David
Douglas are out of their offices this week and could not be
reached for comment.
Gallegos conceded that those who properly follow his
guidelines may not be able to avoid arrest. He encouraged
patients to always carry documentation, and post supporting
documentation at cultivation sites.
Author: James Tressler, The Times-Standard
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/find?115 (Cannabis -
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/mmj.htm (Cannabis -
Statewide activists endorse SAN
garden guidelines at ASA conference.
Americans for Safe Access
(ASA) held a statewide convention of interested parties Oct.
26-27, 2002 to discuss the status of medical marijuana in
California. The assembly adopted the following position:
Formal motion passed by the conference on October 27,
2002: This assembly shall hereby undertake the following two
1) Form an ad hoc committee to produce a detailed report
of these proceedings, to distribute said report to
interested parties within two weeks of this date, and to
distill the results thereof into a series of action items
for consideration at a statewide Cannabis Congress, which
the committee shall convene with details to be arranged.
2) Encourage all conference participants to take
individual actions in the interim, based on the discussions
of the past two days, and to recruit broad participation in
the statewide Cannabis Congress.
(Then below it should be the committee report introduced
At the Oct. 26-27, 2002 conference, a special committee
met to discuss the possibility of advancing garden
guidelines for presumed compliance on a county-by-county and
a statewide basis. After four hours of discussion, the
following report was produced by the committee:
Report of the Garden Guidelines Committee
By Chris Conrad and Mary Pat
The committee on garden guidelines deliberated and agreed
on the following points:
1) Guidelines are an enforcement policy that do not in
any way limit a patient, physician or caregiver's legal
2) While philosophically opposed to guidelines that limit
patient access to cannabis ("medical marijuana"), this
committee recognizes the need for the community to advance
guidelines that serve the patient / caregiver needs and to
clarify these issues for law enforcement.
3) In the vacuum of leadership from the state or federal
governments, the counties bear the economic costs and
political brunt of developing and implementing such
guidelines, and so the county agencies are an appropriate
level to address with these concerns.
4) The Safe Access Now Garden Guidelines are scientific
and derived from studies including the federal
Investigational New Drugs program for dosage and the Drug
Enforcement Administration report Cannabis Yields (1992).
The standard ratio was developed by the Sonoma County
District Attorney's office with input from patients and
5) Based on this research, the annual dosage per patient
to be presumed compliant under the SAN guidelines is three
pounds of processed cannabis bud, which typically can be
produced with 100 square feet of plant canopy (the area
covered by leaves and flowers) in any configuration, indoor
or out. These figures serve as a reasonable base line for a
majority of patients and caregivers, although local or
individual circumstances may require an upward departure
from those average figures. A physician may authorize such
6) It is further recommended that each patient possess 99
or fewer plants to avoid encountering mandatory federal
sentencing of five years or more in prison.
7) These policies are in effect at the point of contact
with a patient and should not result in an investigation
report when a patient / caregiver with a valid physician's
recommendation or patient identification card is found to be
in compliance with the guidelines.
8) The committee sees a need to enlist the support of law
enforcement to endorse this policy and to educate the CNOA
to include the SAN materials in their training
9) The committee sees a need to educate patients on what
the guidelines are and how to stay comfortably within these
limits so as to reduce contact with law enforcement.
10) The committee sees a need to produce an educational
video for law enforcement that illustrates the six pound
annual IND dosage of 300 cannabis cigarettes per month, as
well as a variety of garden configurations that are
consistent with the garden guidelines, amounts used in
baking, and so on.
11) Caregivers must be allowed to provide for more than
12) The committee sees patient caregiver groups as a
mechanism to dispose of excess while keeping it within the
bonafide patient community, thereby dispelling law
enforcement fears that it will be diverted.
13) In the event that a health card is not immediately
available for inspection, the committee sees a need to allow
a 72-hour grace period for patients to present their medical
14) Any excess cannabis should be preserved for its
possible return to the patient / caregiver. The committee
sees the need for the patient / caregiver to have the right
to designate which processed cannabis or plants are
preserved in accordance with their presumed compliance.
15) The committee sees a need to address a number of
issues on an inter-county basis, such as transportation and
cross-county patient / caregiver relationships.
16) The committee recommends that this Convention take
steps to endorse and actively support the adoption of the
Safe Access Now Medical Marijuana Garden Guidelines both as
a county-by-county and a unified statewide policy.
17) The committee recommends that Chris Conrad and Mary
Pat Jacobs be designated as community representatives to
advise Attorney General Bill Lockyer and / or the state
Department of Health Services (DHS) and advocate for this
Participants: Chuck, Andy,
Linda, Ron, Ralph, Mary Pat, Chris