Pubdate: Thu, 20 Jul 2000
Source: Redding Record Searchlight (CA)
Copyright: 2000 Redding Record Searchlight - E.W. Scripps
Contact:  PO Box 492397, Redding, CA 96049-2397
Website: http://www.redding.com/
Forum: http://www.redding.com/disc2_frm.htm
Author: Maline Hazle, TOWN HALL MEETING DRAWS MEDICAL MARIJUANA DEBATE

Medicinal marijuana patients are ridiculed, harassed and humiliated in 
Shasta County, a Redding marijuana advocate complained at Assemblyman Dick 
Dickerson's town hall meeting Wednesday night.

The result is that some very ill people are too frightened to use the 
treatment they think works best for them, Rick Levin told Dickerson, R-Redding.

But though Dickerson acknowledged that he thinks state government should 
address the medical marijuana issue with more studies, he complained that 
the state's Compassionate Use Act has "caused a lot of problems because of 
the way it was drafted."

Adopted in 1996, the initiative allows marijuana use with a doctor's 
recommendation, but sets no rules for the numbers of plants or amount of 
processed marijuana a patient can have.

The resulting "guidelines" adopted by Shasta County's sheriff's office and 
police departments break state law, Levin argued.

Levin and several other members of the Shasta Patients' Alliance, a medical 
marijuana advocacy group, were among about 100 people who attended 
Dickerson's meeting at The Mall in downtown Redding.

Other audience members peppered Levin with questions about why he couldn't 
take other medications to quell the pain from his spinal injuries and some 
sneered when he explained that he can't tolerate narcotic pain killers.

Dickerson cut off the exchange after about five minutes, telling the 
audience: "That's all we're going to discuss here tonight unless you want 
to talk about marijuana all night."

Dickerson retired seven years ago after a 30-year law enforcement career 
that ended with command of the Shasta Interagency Narcotics Task Force. "I 
continue to disapprove of it (medicinal marijuana) because I don't know the 
long-term effects," he told Levin before ending the marijuana discussion.

Other members of the patients' group did not speak and the questions 
returned to water plans, laws regulating group homes, timber, air quality 
and even Social Security  a federal issue.

Dickerson, joined on the dais by Shasta County Supervisor David Kehoe and 
Redding Police captain Steve Davidson, said that he and his staff will have 
held 15 town hall meetings by the end of the month.

Reporter Maline Hazle can be reached at 225-8266 or at  ---
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