Pubdate: Sun, 15 Apr 2007
Source: Long Beach Press-Telegram (CA)
Copyright: 2007 Los Angeles Newspaper Group
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


Orange County supervisors should honor voters' wishes.

Californians want doctors to be able to prescribe marijuana to 
patients who would benefit from it, but federal law makes it illegal 
to sell or possess it. On Tuesday, Orange County supervisors will 
decide what to do about the conflict.

It's easy to argue this one either way, since there is no question 
that some people abuse the privilege and turn medical marijuana into 
the makings of pot parties. But there is no question either than some 
sick people, desperate for relief from pain or nausea, find no better 
medication than marijuana, and they should have it. That benefit far 
outweighs any disadvantages.

California voters approved medical use of marijuana more than 10 
years ago by a comfortable margin, and since then polls show even 
stronger support of the idea. A state law in effect since 2004 set up 
the ID program, which is voluntary and is supported by a $66 fee.

In Southern California, so far only Riverside County has a program 
under way in which patients, with doctors' approval, get a medical 
marijuana ID card and get access to the drug. Los Angeles County has 
approved the concept, and plans to implement it this year.

But three counties - San Bernardino, Merced and San Diego - have 
filed suit to block the program statewide as being superceded by 
federal law. A Superior Court judge ruled that the program is legal, 
but San Diego county supervisors have appealed that decision.

They must be smoking something. In any case, San Diego - the city at 
least - is hardly a model for good public policy. Officials there 
ought to focus on something real.

Orange County supervisors would be wise to follow state law, and the 
clear wishes of California voters.
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