Pubdate: Thu, 20 Sep 2001
Source: Lodi News-Sentinel (CA)
Copyright: 2001 Lodi News-Sentinel
Author: Shannon Darling


The District Attorney's office dismissed a Lodi marijuana case Monday 
against two Lodians because they had a medical certificate for the 
marijuana seized by the Lodi Police earlier this year.

Charges were dropped against Thomas Dodd, 26, and William Spikes, 22, both 
arrested in May. According to prosecutors, they were allowed to use 
marijuana for medical purposes.

The two were arrested after Lodi police found 5 pounds of finished 
marijuana and a grow room in their home, located near the 400 block of 
Hillborn Street. A grow room, where marijuana is cultivated, is often well 
lit, heated and ventilated.

"We did not have enough evidence to pursue the case," Deputy District 
Attorney Scott Fichtner said, regarding its dismissal.

Both Dodd and Spikes possessed a valid medical marijuana certificate, 
according to Fichtner. Their medical conditions were not available.

Medical marijuana cases are difficult to prosecute in this area, Fichtner 
said, because of a lack of laws limiting the number of plants an individual 
with a medical certificate can have.

"Each city council and community can set a standard," said Fichtner. "One 
hasn't been set in our community at this point."

Although Fichtner regrets having to drop the case, he did, however, say the 
area needs to adopt a law regarding medical marijuana, its use and a limit.

Lodi City Manager Dixon Flynn confirmed that the city does not have a 
policy regarding medical marijuana and did not indicate if the city was 
going to adopt one in the near future.

According to Fichtner, Oakland has a 48-plant limit while the city of 
Berkeley has a 10-plant limit.

Meanwhile, local prosecutors must deal with a state statute dealing with 
medical marijuana that's often difficult to interpret.

"It's so open to interpretation. There's a confusing nature to the statue," 
Fichtner said.
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