Pubdate: Mon, 19 Apr 2010
Source: Red Bluff Daily News (CA)
Copyright: 2010 Red Bluff Daily News
Author: Jason Browne
Note: Jason Browne is a local medical cannabis advocate.


It's time we address our own solutions regarding medical cannabis laws
and how to implement them, locally. But we need to be mindful of
current state and federal positions as we proceed. Even so, we have a
great opportunity this year to create equitable guidelines that will
benefit our community in a number of ways.

The most recent decision by California's Supreme Court (People v.
Kelley) has helped a little, in that qualified individuals can once
again grow the amount of cannabis and number of plants necessary to
actually provide for the medicinal needs of the patient.

It also affirmed that legitimate ID Card-holders are not to be
arrested, so long as they have physician exemptions in place and know
how much cannabis they use.

But, rather than striking the offending language from the statute, our
Supremes decided that SB-420 was not an amendment to Proposition 215
at all, but was rather completely separate legislation which will come
as a surprise to the legislators who wrote it. So, ID card holders are
held to a stricter standard, that includes the physician exemption,
while those without ID cards can assert their use amounts without
requiring a physician exemption. This ruling is nothing short of
bizarre, as is to be expected from California's highest court.

A recent letter to the editor was very educational as an expose into
the minds of our law enforcement community. While I know that all
officers are also individuals, with the ability to think for
themselves, I think it still represents a good cross-section of the
opinions within law enforcement about medical cannabis laws.

Truthfully, obtaining a "better quality of life" is exactly the reason
people choose to use cannabis for medicinal purposes. "Social
degradation" sounds like "public opinion" to me, and according to
polls, a majority of both California residents and American citizens
think that medical cannabis should be legal.

Cannabis is not addictive, in any physical sense, cannabis is known to
help alleviate suffering for hundreds of medical conditions and
cannabis is one of the safest medicines available today including many
over-thecounter medications. No, it's not for everyone. Overdose is
possible, but never lethal.

It's very clear that cannabis production is a financial boon to any
community. Rather than "leaving less money to purchase commodities ,"
it generates significant increases to the consumption of local
commodities. Consider the supplies and services needed throughout the
year to grow, secure, insure, harvest, cure and store it, to
manufacture cannabis derivatives, to feed hungry farmers and patients
and to maintain properties used for its production and

Cannabis production is already the largest cash crop in California,
when combining legal and illegal purchases, and California is one of
the largest agricultural economies in the world.

How could it not bring more commerce to any community? A glaring
problem with our local policies on medical cannabis is this blatant
disregard for economics and the fiscal advantages to be gained from
properly regulating, taxing and protecting this industry.

I would remind readers that DUI-based cannabis prosecutions may be a
ploy used in attempts to thwart our medical cannabis laws, rather than
genuine attempts at keeping our roads safer.

Studies done on driving while under the influence of alcohol and
cannabis have shown that experienced adult users who are under the
influence of cannabis are less likely to cause accidents than
completely sober drivers. Inexperienced users and younger drivers were
still at less of a risk than their counterparts who consume moderate
amounts of alcohol.

Additionally, there is no impairment test for cannabis for CHP to
utilize. Rather, they do the road test, and prosecution is usually
based on people having cannabis in their system. The most likely way
to test subjects for cannabis is a urine test, which only shows
whether or not cannabis has been used in the past 30 days. Actual
impairment from cannabis lasts only 2-4 hours after use.

A good percentage of the reported cannabis related accidents are
actually cases where the victims of the accident had cannabis in their
systems, rather than those who caused the accidents.

So, many cannabis based DUIs would seem to be attempts to violate
patients' rights or to rack up convictions, rather than protecting
public safety. 
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