Pubdate: Thu, 18 Mar 1999
Source: Sacramento News & Review (CA)
Copyright: 1999 Sacramento News & Review
Contact:  1015 20th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814
Fax: (916) 498-7920

While more than two years have passed since California's voters
approved the growing and smoking of marijuana as a legitimate medicine
for sick people, the Clinton administration and much of the state's
law enforcement community is still behaving as if Proposition 215
didn't exist.

Dozens of medical marijuana patients have been spied on, arrested,
jailed as if they were criminals. Many of the arrests have occurred in
the Sacramento region, particularly in Placer County where narcs
appear to be specifically targeting these patients. Some doctors are
now being investigated by the Medical Board of California for
recommending cannabis, actions that were first exposed by an SN&R
story on Feb. 18.

The most heinous arrest occurred in January when Placer County narcs
joined forces with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency to bust Steve
Kubby, the Libertarian Party's 1998 gubernatorial candidate. Fifteen
years ago Kubby was diagnosed with a terminal adrenal cancer, a
disease that no one has lived with for more than five years. Vincent
DeQuattro, a specialist who treated Kubby at the University of
Southern California Medical Center, has said that Kubby is a medical
miracle because smoking pot has played a part in keeping his tumors in
check and keeping him alive. The physician recently sent a letter to
Placer County officials informing them that they are endangering
Kubby's life by depriving him of medical pot.

In the Kubby case and almost all others, cops have no evidence that
patients are growing cannabis for any reasons other than legitimate
medical use. The cases against patients hinge on an absurd guideline
handed down by former state Attorney General Dan Lungren, Proposition
215's leading opponent. Lungren's office decided that the growing of
two plants provides more than enough marijuana for the needs of
patients. Law enforcement is routinely charging patients with
cultivation of marijuana with the intent to sell based solely on
Lungren's two-plant rule, while Prop 215 says patients can grow as
much pot as they and their doctors feel they need.

It is time for law enforcement agencies to leave behind the era of
reefer madness and recognize the will of the voters in California and
five other states that recently passed medical pot laws. Charges
against Kubby and all other medical pot patients should be dismissed.
State Attorney General Bill Lockyer's new task force on medical
marijuana should adopt guidelines that are reasonable and in line with
intent of Prop 215. The Medical Board should drop ridiculous
investigations into the practices of physicians who have recommended
marijuana. Finally, the Clinton administration should make marijuana a
"schedule two" drug so that physicians can prescribe it. Any behavior
short of these actions verges on despotism and disrespect to the
citizens of this country.

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