Pubdate: Fri, 23 Jul 1999
Date: 07/23/1999
Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA)
Author: Dale H. Gieringer

Your editorial about Proposition 215 ("Fixing compassion," July 19)
unfairly libels medical marijuana buyers' clubs as unscrupulous
pushers and thugs. Whatever their faults, the clubs have served as the
only recourse for thousands of suffering patients unjustly victimized
by the government's continued ban on medical marijuana.

To be sure, there have been abuses. Most notably, Dennis Peron's San
Francisco Cannabis Buyers' Club was closed due to lax admission
procedures despite the fact that an audit by independent researchers
found that 90 percent of the club's members were seriously ill patients.

Virtually all other leading clubs in the state have worked
conscientiously to institute careful validation procedures, in
cooperation with local government wherever possible.

While dozens of self-declared medical providers have been arrested for
alleged marijuana offenses, none could be categorized as "drug
pushers" in the same league as the corporate drug dealers who
routinely advertise, promote and mass-market their wares through the

Nor could any remotely be categorized as "thugs" (certainly not Peron,
whose club was a haven for safe and peaceable marijuana use).

For thuggery, one should look to the many rogue drug cops who have
continued to arrest and persecute patients in flagrant disregard of
Prop. 215.

It is to be hoped that abuses of this sort will be curbed by state
Sen. John Vasconcellos' and Attorney General Bill Lockyer's

An even more effective solution would be to simply legalize adult use
of marijuana.

Although you are right to note that this is opposed by most
Californians, it has been explicitly endorsed by the voters of San
Francisco and Berkeley.

Dale H. Gieringer