Pubdate: Tue, 24 Apr 2012
Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA)
Copyright: 2012 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.
Author: Kris Hermes
Note: PUB LTE 3 of 3


Your editorial, "Still more reefer madness," denouncing AB 2312, a
bill that would implement statewide medical marijuana regulations, is
way off the mark. If you're going to admit that marijuana has medical
value, which is indisputable at this point, then you have to also
recognize that qualified patients need a way to safely and legally
obtain it.

Your first "excuse" for opposing AB 2312 is that it's against federal
law. Fortunately, the federal Controlled Substances Act allows states
to adopt their own public health laws even if they are in conflict
with federal drug laws. In fact, California's medical marijuana law
has even survived evisceration by the U.S. Supreme Court. In addition,
multiple landmark California state-court decisions have held that
federal law is not pre-empted by state law, one of which prohibited
local officials from refusing to uphold the state's medical marijuana

Let's make no bones about it -- numerous San Diego officials (and some
media outlets) have long opposed medical marijuana in any form and
will do whatever they can to eradicate it. The county Board of
Supervisors was the first in the state to file a lawsuit in order to
avoid implementing the state ID card program. That suit failed even
though the board appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. For
years, San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis has collaborated
with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration to aggressively raid
scores of medical marijuana dispensaries, even though they were
compliant with state law.

Despite thousands of qualified patients residing in the area, the city
of San Diego dragged its feet for years on passing dispensary
regulations, and eventually adopted an unworkable ordinance.

Patients should not be punished for outdated federal laws. Local
officials across California are asking for clarification from the
state legislature and AB 2312 is that legislative response. Just
because San Diego is stuck in 1930s reefer madness doesn't mean it has
to drag the rest of the state down with it. Patients not only need
protection from arrest and prosecution, they need a way to access a
medication that works for them. It's that simple.

- -- Kris Hermes, Americans for Safe Access, Oakland
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MAP posted-by: Jo-D