Pubdate: Wed, 05 Jun 2002
Source: Ventura County Star (CA)
Copyright: 2002, The E.W. Scripps Co.
Author: Charles Levin
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)


Supervisors Delay Vote And Ask Law Enforcement Agencies To Study Issue Further

County supervisors delayed a vote to give their blessing to local 
guidelines on medical marijuana, instead asking law enforcement agencies to 
consult with other experts on the proposal.

Supervisors backed away from the advisory vote, bowing to sharp criticism 
by medical marijuana users who complained the guidelines were too 
restrictive. "It's not up to the police to decide what a patient needs," 
said Lynn Osburn, who lives north of Ojai. "It's up to the doctor."

Supervisors have no legal authority over the guidelines. Supervisor John 
Flynn brought them before the board after local medical marijuana users 
complained they were being harassed for complying with Proposition 215, the 
1996 initiative that allows using marijuana with a doctor's prescription. 
Flynn said he wanted to see less restrictive guidelines, but Sheriff Bob 
Brooks said that isn't likely.

"There's always potential for dialogue," Brooks said, "but I can't imagine, 
other than anecdotal information, what can be added to the debate." The 
guidelines were developed by the district attorney, Sheriff's Department 
and Ventura, Oxnard, Santa Paula, Port Hueneme and Simi Valley police 
departments as a way to reconcile Proposition 215.

Federal law forbids growing or possessing pot for medical use. Setting 
guidelines has fallen to local agencies with a wide array of standards from 
county to county.

Ventura County's rules will apply to people with cancer, anorexia, AIDS, 
chronic pain, spastic behavior, glaucoma, arthritis and migraine headaches. 
They allow growing up to six plants or possessing one dry pound, assuming 
one plant produces a pound.

But critics called the numbers inflated, contending that one plant could 
produce as little as one ounce. "These guidelines need radical 
modifications," said Jeff Meyers of Oak View.

Supervisors urged law enforcement officials to discuss the rules with 
medical and agricultural experts.

Supervisor Judy Mikels said she recognizes that pot may hold benefits for 
seriously ill people. "My hope, at the very least, is there could be some 
dialogue with professionals," Mikels said, adding that if such talks 
"affirm the guidelines, then fine."

But Brooks said the coalition of law enforcement agencies already has 
consulted a wide array of experts, advocates and users. "Our policy was not 
based on local popularity," Brooks said. "It was based on medical evidence 
and expert testimony from both sides of the issue."
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