Pubdate: Mon, 12 Feb 2007
Source: Press Democrat, The (Santa Rosa, CA)
Copyright: 2007 The Press Democrat
Author: F. Aaron Smith


EDITOR: The Santa Rosa Police Department's refusal to obey a court 
order to return medical marijuana to patient/caregiver Shashon 
Jenkins is extremely disappointing. The concern is that the return of 
medical marijuana to patients might expose officers to the risk of 
federal prosecution.

The legal quandary is this: California law authorizes the use of 
marijuana to treat certain health conditions, when recommended by a 
doctor. Federal law, in a policy that flies in the face of all 
scientific research, dictates that marijuana has no medicinal value 
and is as illegal as methamphetamine, cocaine and PCP.

In order to dispel the fear of federal intervention, our law 
enforcement community should take two steps:

First, police should adopt a protocol similar to the CHP's, which 
mandates that officers are not to confiscate marijuana from any 
person who can show qualification under state law. If this policy is 
adopted, peace officers would never be put in a position of having to 
return seized medicine.

Second, they should lobby Congress to change the federal law that 
puts them in an awkward position. It's about time for the law 
enforcement community to join with congressional leaders, such as 
Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, to change the draconian federal laws that 
keep sick people away from their medicine.

F. Aaron Smith

Santa Rosa
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