Volume 1 # 2. November 2003
Welcome to the Safe
Access Now Newsletter
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.
- New SAN resolution /
ordinance: 3 pounds or 6 ?
(See 3# PDF
document / See
6# PDF document)
- Vacuum in information for law
Time to serve notice of SB 420 provisions (PDF
- Local activities
- Who we are
- Basic SAN guideline
- Donate to Safe Access
New, two-prong SAN
Resolution / Ordinance
The SAN medical marijuana guidelines sample city or
county ordinance has been an effective tool. Now that SB 420
has been signed by the exiting California governor,
circumstances have changed in our working for a safe harbor
to protect patient's rights -- and so has our statewide
strategy. As you know, the statewide default guidelines
starting in January prevent arrests of patients and
caregivers who have no more than 8 ounces of processed bud
and 6 mature / 12 immature plants. Some SAN activists have
been concerned all along that, rather than seeking the full
IND allotment., which averages about 6.65 pounds per patient
per year, our guidelines reflect a compromise with law
enforcement which was struck in the late 1990s. The figure
of 3 pounds of bud was designed to remove the question of
leaf value by eliminating it from the IND mix. However, with
SB 420, only bud is defined as counting towards a patient's
We all agree on a couple of points, 1) that we need to
intensify our efforts because the 420 dosages are too small
for most patients and 2) that federal patients receive on
average at least 6 pounds per year. Because of the quality
of cannabis the IND patients receive, many of us have felt
that three pounds of bud, less than one ounce per week, is
adequate. However, now that SB 420 in HS 11362.77(c) allows
counties to set new guidelines, some of our supporters would
rather pursue the full allotment and only use the three
pound compromise as a fall back position.
We've decided to try to accommodate both of these
concerns and at the same time revise our guideline ordinance
to reflect the actual language of SB 420. Much of HS11362.77
is based on our proposals, i.e., doctor's providing letters
of exemptions, counties and cities setting local guidelines,
counting the bud only instead of leaf, and its minimal
protection from arrest extending to all qualified patients
instead of being restricted to card holders. What we've done
is to rewrite the language of our model resolution to
contain the language lifted directly out of the pending
Health and Safety code and prepare it in two formats. The
first is for six pounds per patient and allows up to 200
square feet of canopy containing not more than 99 plants.
The second is for three pounds per patient, 100 square feet
of canopy and not more than 99 plants.
Our reps in several counties plan to move forward with
the six pound proposal, and we encourage everyone to start
with the six pound discussion. In event that you will need
to compromise, this gives you a scientific and secure
starting point. Both versions are attached to this message
or available at our website.
Always point out to your County and City officials that
the law specifically empowers them to adopt the SAN
guidelines as local policy that overrides the state default
Vacuum of Information for Law
One of the most frustrating aspect of seeing new reforms
enacted is hearing the law enforcement officer on the stand
say that as far as they know there is no medical exemption
for cultivation or possession of cannabis, that all
marijuana is illegal and it's up to the courts to sort .
This nearly seven years after Prop 215 was enacted as law by
the voters. Now that SB 420 prohibits arrests of patients
with less than the local guideline or state default amounts
(see above), we called Attorney General Bill Lockyer's
office to find out what they would be telling police and DA
about the new protections from patients. We talked to Scott
Thorpe and here's what he said. "Nothing." He said there are
too many new laws to send out an advisory on each one.
We at SAN see this as a challenge -- that it is up to us
to notify our local
law enforcement officials as to the change in the law.
Each SAN point person is being asked to go to their Board of
Supervisors, their Sheriff and their county DA with a copy
of the new law, to serve notice and demand compliance. Key
11362.71.(e) No person or designated primary
caregiver in possession of a valid identification card
shall be subject to arrest for possession,
transportation, delivery, or cultivation of medical
marijuana in an amount established pursuant to this
article, unless there is reasonable cause to believe that
the information contained in the card is false or
falsified, the card has been obtained by means of fraud,
or the person is otherwise in violation of the provisions
of this article.
HS 11362.77(d) Only the dried mature processed flowers
of female cannabis plant or the plant conversion shall be
considered when determining allowable quantities of
marijuana under this section.
11362.71(f) It shall not be necessary for a person to
obtain an identification card in order to claim the
protections of Section 11362.5.
11362.77(f) A qualified patient or a person holding a
valid identification card, or the designated primary
caregiver of that qualified patient or person, may
possess amounts of marijuana consistent with this
The crux of the above is that pursuant to this law, no
person with a valid card is subject to arrest for specified
amounts, bona fide patients and caregivers who choose not to
have a card are still protected, and a qualified patient
(i.e., one that does not have a voluntary ID card) may
cultivate and possess cannabis in accordance with local or
statewide guidelines. We now need to hold their "feet to the
We have drafted the attached sample Notice of Change in
the Law to serve on your local Supervisors, DA and Sheriff.
You may wish to adjust the tone to fit your circumstances.
Please give us your feedback on this process.
Local SAN Activists and
Jason Fishbain is organizing a presentation to the
Humboldt County Supervisors to reaffirm or expand the
enforcement guidelines set forth by DA Paul Gallegos. Karen
Byars is helping coordinate. Byars will be doing more
networking around the state to help support our local
Pointperson Darren Courtney is now approaching officials
in four counties (Sutter, Butte, Glenn, Yuba) to move
forward the SAN agenda. He also has a new email address:
email@example.com. Be sure to keep updated by visiting the
website for changes in local contacts.
It looks like SB 420 is going to get movement up for
expanded guidelines in Santa Cruz County. Andrea Tischler
and Michael Corral are working up a final version of an
ordinance based on the 6-pounds guideline.
Kern County SAN activist Joe Fortt led a group of
supporters including Chris Conrad in a late-summer appeal to
his county Supervisors to adopt the 6-pounds guidelines. The
board has not acted, but with SB 420 about to take effect,
Joe hopes to have another presentation for them soon.
Why haven't we heard from you lately? Please drop us a
line on what's going on in your county.
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.
See the first SAN newsletter: Visit our archives
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 Sherrow
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!