Volume 1 # 1. October 2003
Welcome to the Safe Access Now
This is one in a series of
occasional newsletters to let you know the status of the
Access Now medical marijuana garden
For more information on our project and the science behind
it, please visit
our website. Feel
free to forward this link to interested people.
- SB 420: Green light for SAN
- Sample SAN letter to your
- Who we are
- Basic SAN guideline
- Where we are today
- Donate to Safe Access Now
SB 420: Green light for SAN
During the past six months we have been working at the
county level but also with Senator John Vasconcellos,
Assemblyman Mark Leno and state officials regarding
420. This bill was originally intended to only set up a
patient/ caregiver ID program, but at Governor Davis'
insistence a section was added calling on the Department of
Health Services to establish "scientific" guidelines. These
guidelines would establish a base amount below which
patients would no longer be arrested and forced to defend
their medicine in court. Since we have already done this, we
planned to work with the agency when it made its proposal.
When the DHS put a multi-million dollar price tag on the
research phase of the project, the bill authors balked and
met with interested parties to create a new guideline. The
bill was amended to include the federal baseline standard of
6 pounds per patient per year. Then Attorney General Bill
Lockyer met with the authors to say he would have Davis kill
the bill unless an arbitrary baseline using the lowest
amount allowed by any county -- 8 ounces of marijuana -- and
the second lowest number of plants: 12 immature or 6 mature.
Although wildly unrealistic, these figures were put in the
bill, but Vasconcellos also included two key provisions of
the SAN proposal: Counties may increase the guidelines but
not reduce them, and physicians may offer a letter of
exemption for patients who need more medicine or a larger
garden. SAN launched a campaign with Americans for Safe
Access to get those base amounts increased to our preferred
levels, but were unsuccessful. Governor Davis signed the
bill into law on October 13.
There are many good aspects to SB 420, including its
voluntary nature, its protection of patients transporting
cannabis, for collective gardens and coops to function
within the state etc. (Visit
The most important thing is that the bill is a green
light for our campaign, empowering localities to set their
own guidelines. That is why it is more important than ever
for you to join our campaign.
Sample letter for you
Attached to this newsletter is a sample
letter in PDF and MS Word formats for you to use along
with the materials that are downloadable from our website.
Please personalize it to send to your own local county
supervisors to get the ball rolling, and attach appropriate
documents from the SAN website.
Who we are
SAN is a non-partisan organization dedicated to the
proper implementation of uniform guidelines in all of
California's counties in compliance with H&S code
11362.5, the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. It was
founded by Chris Conrad with Ralph Sherrow and has activists
in about half the counties of California. We are an
educational and activist organization only, and in no way
supply medicine. Our proposal has been to stop the arrests
as well as the prosecution of patients by creating a safe
harbor of presumed compliance with the law.
We work with all levels of government to achieve this
Since the federal government's IND program has
established six pounds per year of marijuana as a safe and
effective standard, with some patients receiving even more,
SAN proposes that patients should be allowed to cultivate
and consume that amount as a reasonable level of compliance.
However, since many patients use less than that amount, we
offer a compromise of allowing up to 3 pounds of processed
cannabis bud per patient per year, which typically requires
a canopy area of 100 square feet. Any amount of plants could
be grown to fill in this area without exceeding the yield,
but since a 5 year federal sentences is mandatory for
growing 100 or more plants, we advocate this 99 plants as
the ceiling for patients. In addition, our proposals allow a
physician to write a note that will exempt patients who need
more from being bound by these figures. See our website
<http://www.safeaccessnow.net/> for more details.
Where we are
We have local activists working in counties throughout
the State. Variations of the SAN guidelines have been
adopted in Sonoma, Humboldt, Del Norte and Mendocino
counties. Courts across the state have recognized the
reasonable nature of patients following these guidelines.
Our original plan of working county by county was disrupted
by pending state legislation, but now we are in a better
position than ever to proceed -- with your help.
Remember, the new law goes into effect January 1: Do you
know where your guidelines are?
Thanks for your interest and assistance,
-- Chris Conrad and Ralph
Please donate to Safe
Safe Access Now does not charge for the time and
materials we expend to advance the safe harbor proposal for
patients, but that does not mean it does not cost money to
run this campaign. If you can help with a donation of any
size, please send it to our financial coordinator, Chris
Conrad, with a note saying it is intended for Safe Access
Now work. If you plan to donate $100 or more and want a tax
deduction, we can arrange a fiscal sponsor. Cash is great,
but something of a mailing risk.
We do not have a bank account in our name, so please make
checks out to either Chris Conrad or Family Council on Drug
Awareness, and mail to:
Safe Access Now, PO Box 1716, El Cerrito CA 94530.
all our past SAN newsletters: Visit our archives online!