Pubdate: Mon, 14 Oct 2002
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Copyright: 2002 San Jose Mercury News
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)
Bookmark: (Drug Raids)


Why Waste Time Joining The Feds In Harassing Medical Marijuana Growers?

SAN Jose Police Chief Bill Lansdowne has his priorities straight. Hounding 
people who grow marijuana for AIDS and cancer patients isn't -- and 
shouldn't be -- one of them.

Last week, Lansdowne withdrew his police department's participation in a 
federal Drug Enforcement Administration task force. In doing so, he sent an 
important message to the feds: There are far more serious drug problems in 
our area than medical marijuana.

Last month, the task force raided a cooperative farm near Santa Cruz, the 
Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana, arresting founders Mike and 
Valerie Corral and seizing 167 marijuana plants.

The couple had been growing marijuana to distribute to patients with their 
doctors' permission and under an agreement with the Santa Cruz County 
Sheriff's Department. They had been following the state medical marijuana 
law, Proposition 215, that California voters passed in 1996.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that federal drug laws trump Proposition 
215. In response, the DEA, under U.S. Department of Justice's direction, 
has been shutting down marijuana co-ops.

The issue is not law but choices. If harassing medical marijuana growers is 
how the feds want to channel their resources, the locals shouldn't be 
taking marching orders.

San Jose had loaned the task force a sergeant and four officers for 
full-time, two-year assignments, at city expense. Now these officers will 
be reassigned to San Jose's narcotics team or to the state Bureau of 
Narcotics task force, where they will work on a much bigger threat: 
methamphetamine trafficking.

Joint federal and local law enforcement efforts should be encouraged when 
they benefit the public and abandoned when they don't. Lansdowne called it 
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