Pubdate: Fri, 19 Apr 2002
Source: Daily Triplicate, The (CA)
Copyright: 2002 Western Communications, Inc.
Author: Jennifer Grimes, Triplicate staff writer


If Jack Reese has his way, Del Norte County's medical marijuana policy will 
become radically different next week. And he already has the support of 
local law enforcement.

Reese is proposing that instead of allowing only six plants and one ounce 
of processed marijuana, the new policy would allow 99 plants and one pound 
of the processed medicine for those prescribed the drug by a physician.

"It's a combination of the better parts of what some of the other counties 
have done," Reese said.

Reese, a Del Norte County supervisor, made it his mission to make some 
changes in the policy that many say was ineffective and unfair.

He will ask the other four member of the county board on Tuesday to accept 
the new policy by supporting it with a resolution.

"The medical marijuana community was saying to me, 'we can't get it legally 
and when we try to grow it, the cops come and take our plants," Reese said.

It took one year of research and collaboration with Del Norte's district 
attorney, county counsel, sheriff, director of Mental Health, director of 
Health and Social Services and Crescent City's police chief to come up with 
the new, more lenient rules, according to Reese.

The old policy was set within the last couple of years by District Attorney 
Bob Drossel.

That very basic set of regulations for marijuana prescription holders was 
drawn up by Drossel's office to deal with Proposition 215, passed by voters 
in 1996.

Each county in California had to make their own policy on the new law, 
because the state attorney general refused to.

Federal law still considers marijuana, medical or otherwise, illegal.

The fact that the law and policy differs between the state and the nation 
and between the separate counties in California, makes it difficult for 
attorneys and judges to try medical marijuana cases.

"In Del Norte County, there have been some examples of jury acquittals and 
even a lawsuit brought against the county based on the Proposition 215 
defense," Reese said in a report to the rest of the Board of Supervisors.

Reese said getting collaboration between all the relevant county and city 
departments on the policy will make enforcing it easier.

"I'm not completely satisfied with the new policy, but I'm happy that we 
worked together and that it's better than it was," Reese said.

A city ordinance on using marijuana in public is also in the works in 
police chief Bob West's office, according to Reese .

"We don't really want people to light up a joint on the street corner," 
said Reese.

He was careful to note that the new policy is just a draft. He is simply 
proposing that the board pass a resolution to formally support the policy.

Though the new policy is more lenient on the number of plants allowed, the 
rules will continue to demand users have a valid prescription and a 
medical-marijuana identification card.

Primary caregivers of those using the drug also will be required to 
register with the county Department of Social Services.

Reese said in six months, the original group of policymakers will meet 
again to work out any kinks in enforcing the new rules.
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake