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Source: Times-Standard (CA), Fri, 14 Feb 2003

Copyright: 2003 MediaNews Group, Inc.

Website: http://www.times-standard.com/ Contact: editor@times-standard.com

[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 forward.

"... 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 drug.

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.

Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/1051

Newshawk: JimmyG

Author: James Tressler, The Times-Standard

Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/find?115 (Cannabis - California)

Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/mmj.htm (Cannabis - Medicinal)


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 actions:

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 as follows:)

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 Jacobs

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 rights.

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 experts.

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 an exemption.

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 curriculum.

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 one patient.

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 authorization.

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 proposal.

     Participants: Chuck, Andy, Linda, Ron, Ralph, Mary Pat, Chris    

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