Pubdate: Thu, 10 Apr 2003
Source: Tahoe Daily Tribune (South Lake Tahoe, CA)
Contact:  2003 Tahoe Daily Tribune
Author: William Ferchland, Tahoe Daily Tribune 
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)


More than a year after meetings began to revise El Dorado County guidelines
for medical marijuana, new policies for possession and cultivation are being
enforced this week by authorities.

The new policy has been used by investigators for months but service
training for patrol officers was finished this week, El Dorado County
Sheriff Jeff Neves said.

Broken into four areas, the revised policy replaces the one instituted in
1996 that allowed caregivers and users the possession of 2 processed pounds
and/or six plants.

Caregivers complained that six plants were too low for annual use.
Authorities complained because it wasn't specific.

The new guidelines state from March 1 through July 31, 20 marijuana plants
are allowed for outdoor cultivation. During harvest, Aug. 1 through October,
10 plants are allowable.

District Attorney Gary Lacy said the reason for the staggered system is half
a crop tends to not bear marijuana flowers because of disease or drought.
Also, only female plants can produce smokable marijuana and usually
represents half a crop.

Outdoor cultivators can possess up to two pounds of processed marijuana from
Sept. 1 through Feb. 28 and a maximum of 1 pound from March 1 to Aug. 31.

Indoor cultivators and possessors have different guidelines:

- -- 10 marijuana plants in the flower stage

- -- One "mother" marijuana plant.

- -- 10 vegetative marijuana plants.

- -- No more than 1 pound of processed marijuana.

Patients and caregivers cannot have an indoor and outdoor garden at the same
time. Indoor guidelines are not divided into time sections.

"These are guidelines," Lacy said. "It doesn't mean everyone should grow 10
plants or have 2 pounds. These are based on needs."

Some California counties have similar policies, while others don't have
guidelines and treat gardens on a case-by-case basis, Neves said. In
Humboldt and Del Norte counties, for example, 99 plants can be grown within
a 100 square-foot canopy, Neves said. Patients and caregivers in those
Northern California counties can possess up to 3 pounds of processed

In Marin County, guidelines are six mature plants or 12 immature plants and
up to half a pound of dried marijuana, Neves said.

A medical marijuana grower in El Dorado County must have a physician's
recommendation stating the patient's name, date of issue and physician
contact information. The card must be renewed annually.

It's suggested that copies be posted at the garden and filed with law

"If the ... medical user cooperates and complies with the guidelines, what
we guarantee in exchange (is) they won't be harassed or prosecuted for
violation of the law," Lacy said.

The panelists who studied the guidelines were Lacy, Neves, three doctors and
two medical marijuana advocates.

David Bishop, El Dorado County chapter president of American Alliance for
Medical Cannabis, felt the policy fell short but was appreciative of the
work by Lacy and Neves. Bishop said he would like to see a co-op that sells
medical marijuana to patients. Neves said a co-op plan is not in the works.

"Proposition 215 states that the state and federal authorities should work
together to make safe and affordable access and at the moment we're saying
it's OK to grow plants -- but if you can't grow plants, where do you go?"
Bishop asked.
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