Pubdate: Sun, 13 Feb 2000
Source: Redding Record Searchlight (CA)
Copyright: 2000 Redding Record Searchlight - E.W. Scripps
Contact:  PO Box 492397, Redding, CA 96049-2397


We're trying to understand all of this medical marijuana news that is
swirling around us here in the north state, and we suspect you are, too. So,
try to work through this with us.

First things first.

OK, Superior Court Judge Bradley Boeckman -after a Shasta County jury clears
medicinal marijuana user Richard Levin of possessing pot - orders Shasta
County Sheriff Jim Pope to return to Levin all of his confiscated
possessions, including any marijuana. Pope does what appears to be a
delaying strategy, defies the judge's order and instead calls in federal
drug agents and gives them the marijuana instead of giving it to Levin.

Pope says marijuana possession is illegal under federal law and states that
he's going to enforce those federal laws, no matter what Boeckman ordered.
No doubt he thinks little of the judge's order and no doubt he thinks even
less of a state intiative passed by voters in 1996-Proposition 215, the
Compassionate Use Act - making it legal for people to use marijuana for
medical reasons with a doctor's recommendation.  Like it or not, it is a
state law.

Pope's actions prompted Levin's attorney, Eric Berg, to ask Boeckman to hold
Pope in contempt of court for defying the judge's order.  It's going to be
most interesting to see how this little legal issue plays out.

Just a few days ago, Shasta County District Attorney McGregor Scott, for
reasons he refuses to discuss, decides not to prosecute a disabled Vietnam
War veteran, Dan Craig, for possession of marijuana.  Craig was charged in
September 1999 by the Redding Police Department. Craig, by the way and just
like Levin, has a doctor's recommendation.

When the district attorney made it known that charges against Craig were
being dropped, Redding Police Chief Bob Blankenship conferred with the city
attorney's office and quickly had his officers return to Craig what is
rightly his, including his marijuana, and showed respect for the previously
mentioned state law legally adopted by voters.  The chief didn't call in the

This is most confusing and it raises two relevant questions in our mind:

Can a sheriff sworn to uphold state law blatantly defy a Superior Court
judge's order?

And if the sheriff called and dragged federal drug agents to town, why
didn't the police chief do the same thing?

As John Wayne once said in a movie, "This little fracas isn't over yet."
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